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Meet Viet Cuong Truong

Posted May 9, 2011

One of the most frequent questions about Readmill is “Who designed your logo?” - so we thought we’d introduce the great designer behind it and give him some appreciation for his amazing work.

Who are you?

I’m Viet Cuong Truong, and I’m a graphic designer. I began to study at an art school in 1999 and nine whole years later in 2008 I received my master degree in graphic design from Konstfack, college of arts, crafts and design. Somehow I’ve been able to freelance as a graphic designer since 2008 and though it’s far from ideal it’s worked for me.

Part of what I love about being a graphic designer is the time I’m allowed to spend with my laptop geeking about things like typefaces, kerning, mastering my design suite and randomly surfing the web for stuff. Another part is the color, material and printing. Graphic design is really about craft and a lot of magic happens first when the graphic meets material  and creates a new context. In my opinion it’s the craft part of graphic design that adds the feeling of creating something of value to an object and not just adding more noise out there.

Can you say something about the process designing the Readmill logo?

I remember that it was really exciting. David and Henrik had just registered the name Readmill a couple of days before we started and on the our first meeting David introduced a design brief that included these key words describing the anticipated feeling of the site. The words were:

  • literary
  • timeless
  • typographical
  • minimal 
  • social
  • valuable 
  • intellectual
  • including
  • future of the book

I knew early on that I wanted a clear and simple shape for the logo. Not necessarily figurative but distinct in shape. What I’m looking for is a shape that’s scaleable. It should be detailed and interesting enough to claim it’s place on a big wall, at the same time simple enough to be shrunken down to a few measly pixels, without losing in clarity and character in shape.

At some point the artwork in the logo needs to be balanced against the logo text. Readmill is a good, describing name and easy to work with.

The choice of typography must in every aspect work along with and amplify what I’m trying to achieve. I found that Super Grotesk did that job with grace. Super Grotesk was redrawn by Svend Smital [eBoy] based on the original design from 1930th by Arno Drescher. Arno Drechers fonts were commonly used in East Germany at that time and was known as the Futura of the GDRs [DDR].

Normally when I work with logo designs, I tend to put quite a large portion of the total time aside for sketching. After the initial research I usual sketch for 3-5 days. During this time I try out all ideas that i can come up with no mater how unlikely it first seems. I keep on doing that until I end up with a few ideas that feels interesting enough to be introduced to my client. The sketching time is the most valuable and therefore crucial part of the project and it’s super important to make sure that my client understand that, invest in it and get involved.

Lot's of versions

When I work with logo design and identities, I usually explain to my clients what I consider a good design. A good logo is well crafted and versatile. It avoids to complex shapes as well as to complicated ideas. Most important it needs to be witty in some way. What’s witty in a good way is not easy to describe. It can be the hidden arrow in the FedEx logo or the smile on Amazons logo that connects a – z, or the calligraphic “My” in My Fonts logo that shapes a hand about to grab a font. I’ve seen My Fonts logo for a couple of years but it wasn’t until recently that I discovered how clever it is. In a way thats how I want a good logo to be. I want people to like it and a hidden bonus if they get it.

Amazon, FedEx & MyFonts

I’m happy with the final Readmill logo. The idea contains of two parts. The book shape, not surprisingly, derives from “Read” but we took “mill” for a twist inspired not by the mill itself but the grains it grinds. And as a result – a growing sprout of knowledge!

What are you working on now?

I’m still working freelance but right now I’m helping out my friends at Ritator. (A design agency that’s specialized in non-conventional, odd and often very complicated design. They are really good and worth checking out.)

What’s your favorite book?

I’m a fan of John Ajvide Lindqvist a swedish author that mix stories of more vernacular nature with horror in a non horror way. Människohamn is a dark and creeping yet loving depiction of the people and nature of the archipelago of Stockholm.

If you want’s to learn more about Cuong and his work check out his portfolio at:http://vietcuongtruong.com

Notes

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