A Virgin Eye for Design?

by Chris Kenton on December 13, 2005

Virgin has just announced the location of its new Virgin Galactic headquarters–a spaceport somewhere south of nowhere in New Mexico, where consumer-grade astronauts can take a ride into space. I have no doubt that some day my 4-year-old son will be able to fly into space, and it’s exciting to see the first steps take shape.

Virgin also announced it’s new corporate identity, which is a little less exciting.

The concept is interesting, but the design doesn’t work at all. For starters, the concept only works well on a black background: it’s supposed to be the pupil of an eye incorporated into a solar eclipse. But on a white background, it just looks like an eyeball with "Virgin" tatooed on the pupil. Even if the concept did work on white, the design wouldn’t. Can you imagine trying to size this for letterhead? The image would be reduced so much that Virgin would be unreadable. The "Ga" in Galactic is already unreadable layered over the iris. It looks like "Virgin Lactic"… a new milk product? Then you’ve got the nightmare of reproduction, with hundreds of gradients in the iris that will make all but the best printers reproduce a muddy mess. How will it reproduce in black and white? In knock out? In a vertical lockup? It looks cool on a black Web site, but I can’t imagine this being used successfully as a corporate identity.

Why am I taking the time to comment on this? This is classic form over function design, which eventually hampers good marketing. Someone was married to a concept, damn the consequences. I wonder who…. They say that Richard Branson’s iris will be used for the final logo. It kind of makes you wonder if the whole Virgin Galactic operation isn’t a little heavy on concept but light on actually making the details work.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Sage December 15, 2005 at 6:35 pm

I took this logo into an Earth orbit on my personal rocketship and it actually doesn’t look bad against the airless environment of space.

Awww… who’s kidding who… it looks like crap, even in the exosphere. Branson probably just liked the idea of looking deep into his own eye(s).

Let’s all do a pre-emptive strike against more junk like this tomorrow. Everyone take a graphic designer out tomorrow and beat them senseless.

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