Why start with this particular logo? Well, for starters, it’s been almost 2 years that I’ve been thinking about writing short reviews on design-related topics. And since I first thought about it I remember I’ve always had one particular example of design before my eyes and, consequently, in my mind: Ferrovial-Agroman’s logo.
Now why have I finally decided to start this blog? Simply because I’ve finally realised what that particular logo is supposed to represent. I had no idea what it was the first time I saw it here in Madrid and I continued to ignore it up until two days ago when Shanti told me. She was talking about it with some of her students (that must show the level of obsession I had reached on the topic…) when they suddenly broke the case. All these months cursing that yellow and blue logo, thinking it had no visual meaning whatsoever, only to find out that I was wrong. Well, I was only partly wrong: the logo does suck and me finding out what its iconic content stood for after almost 2 years has got to say something about the quality of its design. Something I wouldn’t exactly deem positive or reassuring if I had been one of the designers responsible for it.
As you might have noticed, I haven’t said yet what that logo is all about. I’d like to leave you enough time to figure it out for yourself. Let’s have a little psychological test. Can you tell me what that is?
For 2 years I was convinced what I was looking at was a mishap, a mistake, an image created by sheer lack of design skills. A crossing of curves, one of those glitches which sometimes happen to a beginner who’s using Illustrator, Freehand or any other vectorial graphics software. I just thought the author had no idea who Beziers was. Well, I was wrong.
Still, how can you justify the placing of that particular icon in just that particular place within the logo? How was that even a possible choice? Legibility, anyone? Why wouldn’t one just put the whole thing on a plain and uniform colour background? OK, I get it, the whole operation was a merger: Ferrovial met Agroman. The two companies found an agreement and join forces. Hence the two logos had to be joined. So far, all good. Ferrovial was the big fish here and the others couldn’t just join in 50/50. One had to immediately perceive Ferrovial’s supremacy when staring at the new logo. So Ferrovial went on top (big and yellow) and the others laid low (caught in their blues).
– What are we going to do about that thing?
– That what?
– That black thing! The one we want for our symbol… you know.
– Oh right that thing, yeah no problem, let’s put it in the middle. There.
– You can’t put it there, You can’t even see it: it’s black over dark blue!
– Oh I see. No problem. We’ll have half of it in white and the other half in black. That should do it.
– Yeah, that looks great.
Or does it?
What’s that tiny yellow space? I mean, seriously, can this logo ever look good? I thought it looked really bad in small sizes and I somehow had hopes for bigger ones. Then one day here in Madrid I pass by a huge building Ferrovial Agroman was working on. Half of its façade was covered in a yellow and blue banner showing their logo. Twenty metres long 5 meetres high, it still looked bad.
Ps. Guesses are welcome. Who’ll be the first to find out?