Thursday, May 17, 2012

Simplicity is Complicated

The other day, a co-worker asked if I'd be able to modify the A&W root beer logo with some custom text in place of the "Since 1919 Root Beer" text along the top and bottom.

I used Adobe Illustrator and simply added a layer over the original graphic, where I masked out the text and replaced it with what he wanted.  End of story.

Except... afterwards, I began to wonder how one might do the logo entirely in Illustrator.  Those two arcs behind the A&W -- in orange and brown -- turned out to be really tricky.

My idea was to use various oval shapes and create the arcs by overlaying two ovals and then using the Pathfinder "Minus Front" to leave just the crescents.  That worked okay, but when it came time to match up and overlay the orange and brown crescents, I saw the conundrum:

While I had achieved a nice 3-D ring effect, I really needed to be able to overlay only the top half of the brown crescent.  In the actual logo, the bottom portion of the orange crescent overlays the brown portion.  Try as I might, I couldn't achieve a simple, elegant solution.  One inelegant solution is to create a duplicate section of just the bottom portion of the orange crescent.  I could then place that layer over the brown crescent.  Because of issue with stroke and fill, however, inelegant also became technically awkward.

What I finally ended up doing was create a custom-shaped crescent arc and then mirror that in its corresponding color.  This allowed me to maintain the white strokes, which work so well to accent the opposing arcs.

I layered those arcs over a slightly larger white oval, and I got that tricky part looking pretty darn close to the original design.

The golden brown "plaque" behind the rest of the logo  is basically an oval united with a rounded square.  I had to coax and fudge the paths of the square to give it a slightly rounded appearance.

The lettering for the "A&W" was a lost cause.  I simply did not have a matching font set that came close.  I ended up using a Palatino Linotype bold italic to get something that I liked instead.  One layer of brown text over a layer of golden brown, offset slightly.   I couldn't even come close to matching the glyph for the ampersand.  That ended up coming from the Brush Script Std Medium font set.  It was placed as the top-most layer.

It's a hack job, but that will do, pig.

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