May 7, 2008

Every year Cornell holds a student research conference to show their efforts in digital technology. It’s calledBOOM 2007 Logo BOOM, short for Bits On Our Minds. And every year, they hold a design contest to pick the logo and any student can enter. The final logo is picked by a committee and used on posters, name tags, etc. Sounds fun, right?

Only problem is the whole process to determine the winner is extremely black-box. There’s no information about the committee. There’s no indication why the final design is the winner. There’s nothing about what the committee might look for except that it should “promote scientific exploration & excitement” and the name of the conference. In short, the contest is an attempt to get as many possible designs because they refuse to have a narrBOOM 2007 Logoower theme than “scientific exploration & excitement”. But everyone has some bias in deciding what designs they like (this is why some people love postmodern art and some hate it). So to figure it out, let’s take a look at some past designs.

From the last two years, it looks like the committee likes horizontal rectangles to emphasize the title. This may be because they like complicated backgrounds and fancy effects. They don’t seem to think meticulous alignment is important. And overall, they seem to be look for a poster/picture rather than the traditional logo/icon.

And then they go and pick this year’s winner (pdf, it’s the only picture I can find so far). Simple, clean, more a real company logo. How was anyone suppose to predict that switch? What made the committee choose a design with no background, no fanciness? I have pretty positive feelings toward it. Except that one empty circle; what’s the significance? And it’s a tad hard to look at that many dots for too long. But otherwise, this is definitely an improvement.

On a slightly unrelated note, never give a website address for your portfolio when the site has nothing on it.


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