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Moved: A Cmk ligature/logo

  • Started by DreymaR
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Okay, so I'm moving the ligature topic away from Vilem's Mac Installer one (https://forum.colemak.com/viewtopic.php?id=274&p=2) so we don't clutter that topic up with relatively unrelated stuff.

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Okay, here are some of my attempts:

I realized that Shai wants a capitalized 'Cmk' and not a 'cmk' as the official abbreviation. Some of my attempts at making a ligature logo (base) were made before that, but I think the final version will have to be capitalized.

   Cmk-ligature_Sans.png?dl=1

Font: Sans(?). Middle one: I tightened the gap in the 'c' for graphical effect; works well I think. Right-hand one: Not too happy with the capitalized version - but this one isn't quite geometrically correct either. The joining of the 'C' and the 'm' is a mess, but it could probably be done better. I'm leaving this one for now.


   Cmk-ligature_VAG-Round-1.png?dl=1

Font: VAG Round; lots of fun with this famous "Web 2.0"-ish font. I tried removing the 'k' stem, and I rather like that left-hand one graphically. Then I realized that the 'm' can be hard to distinguish from an 'n', and tried to do something about it. The result may be a bit whimsical - not sure. It's a bit hard to make the capital 'C' and the 'm' play nice. That right-hand one is both weird and hard to get so I'm not too pleased with it.


   Cmk-ligature_VAG-Round-2.png?dl=1

Font: VAG Round. The right-hand ones are condensed to a 4:3 aspect ratio which I think may work well on an icon. Not bad, actually - even if I had to let go of ligating the 'C' to the rest. The right-hand one is rather good I think, with a 'k' stem adjusted to be of the same height as the 'C'.


   Cmk-ligature_VAG-Round-3.png?dl=1

Font: VAG Round. On Korivak's suggestion, I tried re-ligating the 'C' and since I couldn't risk it turning into a 'G' I lopped off a bit of 'm'. Instead of condensing to 4:3, this compact icon went all the way to 1:1 which is striking I think. I'm quite pleased with it, but I'm unsure as to how well it scales.

[Edit: To the right are two stroked versions, as suggested by Korivak. Not quite pleased though - the font shape doesn't take tweaking well. I'd be better off using a thinner VAG Rounded... but I don't have one I'm afraid.]

Last edited by DreymaR (19-Mar-2019 15:13:14)

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I've tried a few more fonts, again propelled by Korivak's excellent suggestions.

I couldn't quite bring myself to doing Rockwell. Sure, it's a very nice font - but it still says "old-fashioned" and "type-writer-esque" to me. Sorry, Rockwell. Also, an attempt at Bauhaus fell rather flat. I like the chunky fonts but that became just a little too chubby... plus I couldn't find a way to join those pesky 'C'/'m' combatants peacefully together. Ugh. Next, please?

   Cmk-ligature_GillSansMT.png?dl=1

Font: Gill Sans MT; normal to the left and Condensed to the right. This font offered an interesting opportunity with its' lovely wide 'C', as you can see. I don't think it took too well to condensation though since that squeezed the 'C' too much I feel. The Condensed proper to the right has a different 'C' and a quite different 'k', but the result is interesting still although I like the normal version better. The left-hand one of those is actually "de-condensed", but I think this produced a too fat 'C' arc again. If one of these are promising, I suppose I could re-sculpt the 'C' arc to improve on the artefacts.


   Cmk-ligature_CenturyGothicBold-1.png?dl=1

Font: Century Gothic Bold. Also a very interesting font to work with! I made the 'm' "punch through" the gap in that wonderfully wide 'C' which is good fun I think. Note the harmony between the remains of the 'm' stem and the upper arm of the 'k'. To make it work, I lifted the 'C' off the ground a little which is also interesting.

   Cmk-ligature_CenturyGothicBold-2.png?dl=1

As an afterthought, I added the ones above which use a stroke to separate the parts instead of removing anything. That works too I feel, even if it is a simplistic solution. The renditions up there are made quick-and-dirty and for a proper result I should of course use a bit of path magic instead of a cheap white stroke, but they give an impression and that impression inspired me further to try with a touch of color and a closer approach of the C; I'm afraid that last bit got too intimate though and it'd need further work on those sharp bits.

Whew! Any further thoughts on this, anyone? I think I may prefer the last VAG Round 1:1 one but I think the last two fonts turned out very interesting too.

Last edited by DreymaR (19-Mar-2019 15:11:24)

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That last VAG Round one might look better with a slightly lighter line weight, since it's both a tight design and horizontally compressed.

The Century Gothic looks awesome (especially when anti-aliased), and I personally prefer the triangular bottom to the first 'm' stroke to the abrupt straight line approach. I think you could even get away with moving the 'C' a bit further to the right, for a tighter aspect ratio without quite so much distortion. The top of the 'm' arcs and the top and bottom of the 'C' look noticeably out of sync with the vertical parts of the letters when you push the ratio too hard.

Also, what would happen if you combined the thin white separating lines of the upper left Century Gothic and the whimsical computer-inspired 'RGB' colours of the middle VAG design?

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Interesting thoughts there.

The VAG Round ligatures don't have a line weight per se; they're just the font itself so I didn't really dare weighting them (nor do I know how to atm but I think I have an idea). I guess I could try something.

Anti-aliasing isn't really an issue, as I work with scalable vector graphics. I'll try to remember to present them smoothed. I think I just re-scaled these a bit which may have worked a little extra anti-aliasing into them.

The 'm' stem... ah, I suppose you do have to "kill your darlings" every now and then. I really loved the effect of the 'm' "punching through the gap" but I suppose it doesn't exactly aid legibility. Separating the 'm' and the 'C' with a stroke-like gap instead certainly works even if it's less exciting. One price to be paid is that you then really have to separate the 'k' parts from the 'm' as well which makes the design less daring overall. Also, the stroke didn't scale well but I guess we could use a thicker one and fix up any scaled rastered versions.

I've developed a feeling that the top of the 'C' wasn't really looking at the 'm' arcs at all, but past them and into the heart of the 'm'. That worked for me, but maybe I've spent too much time with these babies to have a fresh impression by now.

Were you thinking of a white stroke with the RGB on the VAG design itself, or on another?

How much condensation do you feel is right? None, 2:1, 4:3 or 1:1 (if you can get it)?

Last edited by DreymaR (21-Jun-2008 07:10:58)

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  • Shai
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Here's a first attempt based on Jellyka Castle's Queen font, which happened to be on the front page of DaFont.
f_cmkligaturem_d0ef3ba.png

Instead of connecting the 'C' with 'm', the 'C' connects with the 'k'.

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Not particularly "keyboard", but very beautiful.

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Prett-ay!  :)

Very striking use of the 'C' and 'm' there, Shai! But I'll have to agree with Korivak I'm afraid; it says Roald Dahl and fantastic fantasies and art and lots of nice things but not quite anything modern and technical like "keyboarding". I'm not angling for cyber-something, but not too humanistic either I feel.

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I really like the first one, third row, from your first post DreymaR. Maybe the M could have finger nails. Looks a little like an arched hand anyway. Might need narrowing slightly.

Last edited by simonh (22-Jun-2008 22:06:09)

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I'm having trouble finding free font downloads, and I'd like to have a Futura (Condensed?), a lighter VAG Rounded than the one I have and maybe a Univers (or Univers Italic?). I'm currently thinking of trying out a more Key cap like look, without ligature but kerned and condensed like on an Alt, Esc or Ctrl key. Very simple maybe, but also very much a way of saying "keyboard"!

Maybe on more elaborate designs the key cap itself could be suggested. For just a logo, it'd be better without I feel?

I know that Mac has used Univers and Univers Italic before they switched to VAG Rounded, and Logitech told me they're using Microsoft Sans Serif now. But I still think that Futura is what says "key cap" like nothing else.

Simonh: Hmmm, the VAG design you mention seems like a transitional stage to me now. Two letters are ligated and one isn't, and I've gone back to keeping the stem of the 'k' and making it the same height as the 'C' instead for a more geometric impression. I like the last VAG Round one much better myself.

At a risk of incurring disdain from the critics, I tried a white stroke on the coloured VAG Round ligature. I don't think it works. Also tried thinning the last VAG Round design but that doesn't really work since fonts are delicate designs. I could look around for a better VAG Rounded with less line weight. And trying to move the C further in on the Century Gothic design gave me all sorts of trouble.

Last edited by DreymaR (25-Jun-2008 08:47:13)

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I had another little inspiration, as seen below:

   Cmk-ligature_CenturyGothicBold-3.png?dl=1

Very geometric, and that left-hand one has an optical illusion effect between the 'C' and 'm' creating the feeling of a wedge. Mostly for fun, this one, but interesting at least. I get the feeling that these ones have some interesting geometry but aren't going anywhere. And a text needs to move, even if it's only three letters long.

On a funny side note: At one point during all this, I was reminded of the good old (some would say it's bad and old I guess) CBM logo. That was pretty chunky for sure. Ahhh, the memories...  :)

   cbmlogo.gif

Back on topic: One problem is that these chunky fonts and layouts don't scale too well downwards.

Last edited by DreymaR (19-Mar-2019 15:09:28)

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I like that one, actually. It's simple and straight-forward.

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Update: I sat down with the aforementioned real graphic designer and I had a great time. Staying with the Century font family, the result is a full logo, courtesy of DreymaR and ARA Design:

   Cmk-logo.png?dl=1

Obviously, the slogan text is just a filler. As I remember it, we never quite agreed on a final slogan for the layout, but that may still happen.  ;)  I tried to think up a fun saying that used the letters C-m-k, but it's just for fun really.

I think the stripped-down version of it can be used as a plain ligature, probably keeping the middle dot in the 'C' but making it colorless:

   Cmk-ligature_CenturyGothicBold-4.png?dl=1

(That may look silly on the site's gray background. The dot's brightness should be adjusted I guess.)

It's fun to work with a pro. She saw all sorts of things, and if something is imperfect it's probably of my making and not of hers. The design moved from a mere ligature to a real logo, but it's difficult to say whether we captured the right spirit and graphical goodness for the purpose as such things depend on so many subtle factors. So, what do you guys think?

Last edited by DreymaR (19-Mar-2019 15:08:41)

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It's cool. 

My only problem is that the more I stared at it the more it felt like I was looking at  "o m k" or "o m <"

The m is rather overpowering here, with the other letters being just attachments to it. 

Maybe you could break it up by having the C not be a perfect circle and end top of the C just above the beginning of the m while keeping the vertical line that in the non-stripped down version. 

in the full design, modified with C ending at the top part of the line it would seem to be spitting out the word "Colemak".

not an expert in design,
just my opinion.

Last edited by keyboard samurai (06-Jul-2008 19:38:10)
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I think it worked better with a capital 'C' and the ascender on the 'k', but the line of characters at the x-height also works.

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keyboard samurai said:

My only problem is that the more I stared at it the more it felt like I was looking at  "o m k" or "o m <"

Exercise: I took a long hard look at the famous GE logo. That gets really weird after a while!  :)  So I don't think it's much of a problem really.

On the other hand, in hindsight I would like to see a better initial 'C'. Preferably a capitalized one. But that's not easy, as all the previous examples have illustrated as far as I'm concerned.

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Icons revisited:

Cmk-icons.gif?dl=1

I tried to make a few 'Cmk' icons, for PKL originally but they are the same type as on the top of this page. As you can see, fitting it all into a 12x12 matrix (since a 2-pixel border would be nice) is hard. I think I like the first one(s) best, but I'm not sure. It also depends on whether they're shown exactly or in an approximated palette (like they'll often be in the system tray). The narrow lines can get blurry then, which for instance hurts the third one more than the first one.

For the background color I used a web-safe deep blue (#000099). I kept them (mostly) monochromatic as the site one is, but they would be much nicer with a few tones on them. For now I'd just like to see what to proceed with. Also, using tones/tints might be tricky since that usually requires more pixels to work with - it's not really possible to make a smooth transition in 2 pixels!

I've had the first icon in my system trays for a few days now and I think it looks fine even when blurred a little.

Update: Went on to make the two 'chunky' ones to the right. I kinda like those. They're in web-optimised blues but the 'C' has antialiasing in contrast to the 'mk' which I feel looks interesting. To make them work at all, I had to forgo the 2-pixel border for a 1-pixel one; I think that's okay.

My current favourite: Cmk.ico

Last edited by DreymaR (19-Mar-2019 15:06:29)

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No feedback? Oh well.

I'll reiterate that the last icon in my post seems to be working very well in my system tray. I like it sitting down there as my PKL layout icon.

One possible development might be to make the area outside of the circle transparent. That'd get a little tight around the 'k' but it'd be possible I think.

However, maybe it'd be best to finalize the quest for a logo before making an icon based on that logo? Or are the two separate enough? Not that a logo is a must-have either; many good things in life manage well without one.  :)

Last edited by DreymaR (05-Jun-2009 09:58:03)

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Visually I'd prefer the next-to-last one over the last one, but on the other hand there it looks a bit more like an "O" or just a ring, than a "C".

But I'm happy with the default PKL "Co" icon, too.  And it's in line with all the other 2-letter locale icons in Windows.

Last edited by ghen (05-Jun-2009 10:31:57)
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The next-to-last one is nice, but the "mk" part is too hard to read.

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  • Shai
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I don't think there's an elegant way to get 3 letters in the small icon. One letter has to go (or maybe more ).

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Which brings us back to the "Co" abbreviation.

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Heh. Why not just lop the 'ntinenal' off of Continental's logo while we're at it. :)

The reason I abandoned the next-to-last design somewhat, was that it looked too much like an 'O'. And even if the 'mk' are really small and a bit hard to read, I don't think that matters much after using the icon in my tray. The icon is meant for recognition, and I think it works for that.

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Sorry, but I'm back to my "Co". I like it the best.

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Ho no, brown 'Co'...  :|

What are you back from?

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Shai said:

One letter has to go (or maybe more ).

If you're adamant on this, then may I emphasize that 'Co' still feels wrong for the stated reasons? With the proper design it's nice, but the 'Co' as such just doesn't say 'Colemak' to me. Nor does 'Cm' however...

Not sure whether it's just me. 'Cl'? Nope. 'Ck'? Not so much. Hmmm...  :(

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