Slacked on the wordmark


This is something I want to do once in a while — give a critique or praise about typographic work. The first instalment is about the collaboration tool called Slack. I have actually used this service at one employer and really enjoyed it. They recently rebranded and this sort-of my review on the wordmark of the new logo. Let me know what you think if you feel inclined or if you may have a typographic project I could help you with!? Either way, I hope you enjoy.

Why Slack’s new wordmark doesn’t work

You may have heard or seen that Slack have recently rebranded. While I have a huge amount of respect for Michael Beirut and the work he has done am a little disappointed in the wordmark. I am not necessarily blaming him and his team for how the wordmark looks. You never know how much they may have pushed for another design and the client didn’t agree. It happens and I understand; however, there is nothing discussed about it on their project page.

The icon and rest of the re-brand are fine in my opinion and the design decisions make some sense. But back to the wordmark — there are some simple things I find wrong with it based on basic typographic and design principles. Below I am going to break down the flaws and then I will offer what I think are three solid solutions to fix those mistakes.

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The vertical part of the round strokes look optically thinner due to the entire stroke being the same mathematical thickness. Jonathan Hoefler recently touched on this and explains the science behind it... The “s” and “k” on the other hand do not really have this affect.


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While I personally am not a fan of the single-storey “a”, here it creates a bulls-eye being almost dead-center in the wordmark disengaging me from the rest of the word.


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Here the rhythm just feels a little out of balance. The “s” is much narrower and appears slightly weaker. This is good for smaller text-oriented settings but in large sizes those corrections look odd. The large counters in the “a” and “c” do not help with this imbalance either.


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This solution addresses all three issues: proportions, bulls-eye effect, and optical stroke balance. The “s” is wider, the “a” is double-storey, and “k” restructured creating an even texture.


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This addresses proportion and stroke thickness, but leaves the bulls-eye on purpose because the closed-counter of the “a” is now the tear-drop shape from the icon. How creative!?


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A capital “S” in this wordmark does two things: Takes some of the attention away from the middle of the word and brings some positive-negative space balance to the overall word. Also worth noting that all three solutions have slightly shorter ascenders making the word a little more compact along with slightly tighter spacing.

Closing statement

I hope you found what I had to say to be somewhat enlightening or at least interesting. If you have a project that you need some typographic help with please contact me and I will be glad to hear what you have.

Thanks!

Just Joe