The logo in the illustration should have instant associations for anyone who's either a)Painfully Portland, b)grew up during the glory days of heavy metal home appliances, c)has a good vacuum cleaner, or d)any combination.
In the Portland commercial landscape, Stark's is a stalwart. We don't know if it has any connection with Benjamin Stark, for whom Stark Street is named, but it wouldn't surprise us.
We wanted to hold off on this for a few more days until we were able to visit the building and get a few piccies of that, but figured our all-Gordon-Ramsay-all-the-time approach needed a bit of (dare I say) leavening. So, back on the design train it is.
Stark's sells vacuums, of course. It does it very very well indeed, since 1934, as a matter of fact. There are eight stars in the Starks constellation, but the flagship at 107 NE Grand Avenue in Portland deserves special attention, if only for the whimsical mural on the Grand Avenue side, but it does boast the only Vacuum Cleaner museum that we know about (and, sadly, have not yet visited, but that's on the short list).
The logo is genius, and we know it's easy to throw that word about, but look at it! What else can you say? The script is reminiscent of that time, in the 50s, 60s, and into the 70s, which I think of as "The Golden Age of Heavy Appliances". It was a brave era, on the edge of the Space Age, when women used appliances but men moved them. They were built heavy but they were made to run for, seemingly, hundreds of years.
Its retro hook recalls the industrial style of the Hoovers and the Kerbys as well as the script badges of old classic cars from even earlier, somehow avoiding the quaint dating that such design moves can sometimes produce. The visual coup de grace is the extremely clever working of the stem stroke of the minuscule t into–what else–an upright vacuum cleaner. I think we actually had that model when I was but a neat thing.
What this does is deftly plant the idea of "this is the place to go in Portland for a damn fine vacuum cleaner". Where else? The logo is also well-done for a variety of functional reasons, the most important of which being that the simplified shapes and strong line thicknesses will look good at just about any size, from on the side of a building to a salesman's business card. This is one of those designs I wish I'd thought of.
The simple yet sophisticated design style is continued at Stark's website (http://www.starks.com–one wonders what they had to go through to get that gem of a URL) that replicates the feel of the logo throughout the page headings (a similar-feeling though not identical script) and over all apt design–navigation clear and quick, even for dialup customers, apt font and illustration choices through out. There's nothing about thier web presentation that doesn't just work. I don't know if there's a web design competition, but if there is, they ought to submit.
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