Icon Redux – RUR
Posted by BigWords on January 26, 2010
There have been a few decent stabs at adapting Karel Čapek‘s famous play RUR (Rossum’s Universal Robots) to film and television, but one point has always fallen short – I have never believed that a company on the cutting edge of technology (as depicted in the play) would have such awful logo’s. Nobody has managed to capture the style companies look for in instantly recognizable designs, and I’m sure there are others who share my dismay at the lack of though which has gone into appropriately designing the future.
The first logo, seen on the cover of the play, is a typical (and very dated) television-company style logo. The BBC (before it added BBC 2) used a similar globe, although I’m pretty sure there are better examples.
There is really nothing to say about this particular logo other than the obvious – those R’s are hideous and the U looks like a V. I’m not sure what (if anything) can be salvaged from that, but maybe someone else has found a way to incorporate some of the elements into an eye-pleasing design. I, however, am ignoring it. The catalogue from an early performance keeps those letters from the original, but uses three blocks (don’t ask me why) for a “modernist” approach. It still looks awful, and doesn’t seem any better than the first stab at a logo.
The cleaned up R’s highlight something else which is slightly bothersome – they seem to have a hint of the SS logo in them. It may be an entirely coincidental design quirk, but I can’t help thinking that some may attribute the appearance to more than mere similarity. Another problem is the fact that reading the title of the play causes the eye to rise through three distinct lines (“stepping up” for each word), which is counter-intuitive. If the layout was done back to front (with the words falling off for each line) then there wouldn’t be so much work for the casual reader to do, and a mere glance at the cover would be all it takes to work out the title of the play.
A quick note about squared-bottom U’s, while I have reason to add it… I’ve never liked the cubist approach for the letter, especially when combined with a box around the letter. It doesn’t scan well while reading, and it annoys the hell out of me. I have no better argument against them than that, though my irritation with the use doesn’t quite match the bile and hatred I reserve for Comic Sans… A font surely designed by someone intent on stalling world peace.
Meanwhile, some attempts at design completely fail to observe even the basics of elegant or interesting typeface. It doesn’t encourage me to part with my money if the appearance of the adaptation isn’t given any thought.
But onwards regardless, to the revamped logo…
The simple act of switching around the first R gives symmetry (yay!), and also gives an overall impression of a ram’s head. Not sure what connotations that may bring up for a tech company, but it amused the hell out of me when I noticed it.
The original logo’s circle doesn’t fit the wider design, so I opted for an oval to hold the finished piece together, along with a nicely metallic feel that is suitable for a futuristic company. See? Not difficult in the slightest, and it is annoying to think that it took all this time for the company to receive the proper care and attention in giving it an appropriate logo.
This entry was posted on January 26, 2010 at 7:05 pm and is filed under Misc.. Tagged: art, icon, karel capek, logo, r.u.r., redux. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.