logo critique - encore dance school


New Member
Hi Guys

I am new to logo design and i have been trying to teach myself. Here is a practise logo i have been working on for a fake ballet dance company called encore. The image of a swan was used to represent gracefulness associated with ballet dancing. As well image of water was used to represent fluid movement assoicated with ballet dance moves. Any feedback is welcomed.



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Stationery Direct

Staff member
Doesn't scream dance company to me unfortunately.

I would have gone with ballet shoes or dancer outline maybe, something along those lines.


New Member
Doesn't scream dance company to me unfortunately.

I would have gone with ballet shoes or dancer outline maybe, something along those lines.
i understand your comment and i thank you for it but my approach to logo design is to actually not be obvious. in my research most of the logos had images and elements of exactly the symbols you stated. In fact these were ideas that i had in my in sketches as well. but as i parsed through the sketches it was to obvious. that doesnt make it unique per say. like retail company must have image of a house or roof. while, i believe nothing wrong in showing what a logo does i dont think is necessary... just like apple logo has nothing at all to do with products the company offer... thats just my thought


Active Member
Go beyond the obvious, but not so far left-field that it does not communicate to the audience you are trying to talk to.

You can’t really compare a local dance school, that needs to build brand recognition and reputation with Apple who have already have a ridiculous amount of global brand capital. They have spent many years and millions of dollars building emotional values into that logo. To juxtapose that with a local dance school is not a good, or even realistic comparison. You need your logo to do a job which is hugely different from Apple’s.

I understand (and agree) that you don’t necessarily want the same visual clichés as other dance schools (or if you do, you need to execute them very differently). I am great believer is being a little bit different to competitors, but tempered by the fact that they all have to play in the same ballpark. It is a fine balance. Sometimes you have to know when to rein it in to make it clear who you are talking to.

I get the swan (lake) thing (if that is what you were going for) if it is only a ballet school. It is a nice thought, but you have stopped at the first hurdle. You need to dig deeper – a lot deeper.

What is the clientele of this dance school? Are they beginners? Are they kids? Are they people destined for the Royal Ballet or Juilliard? Are they everything in between? All that has bearing on execution.

Now for the less palatable part of my thoughts on it: Not to throw a damp squib on your plans, but this is where I get a little frustrated with the current trend for learning ‘logo design’. It is seen as an entity in itself, when in fact, a logo by itself is pretty meaningless. A logo is part of a brand identity. It takes years of education and / or experience to understand how to do it properly. It is not about pretty. It is about understanding a demographic; understanding a business and its goals, aspirations and passions and being able to communicate this visually in a targeted and accurate way.

If you want to learn how to do it properly, my advice would always be to go get yourself a degree and learn how to design. Pros will always spot DIY design a mile away and more importantly, it will be very unlikely that you will be able to offer an honest service to companies who need to talk to their customers. You may be able to adorn their letterheads with something you both think looks good, but that it is a long, long way from effective communication and a solution that solves a problem.

What you have produced is not the worst I have seen, but its flaws expose your lack of knowledge and understanding, I’m afraid. Aside from anything else, it simply won’t reproduce in print as you see it on screen (without using three spot colours). I have attached what a straight RGB to CMYK conversion does to the colours. In addition, the contrast is very weak so it is not going to be seen well from any sort of distance. The typeface is inappropriate for the market (any sort of dance-related area). Some of the lines are not that well executed (some odd curves on the béziers). The swan does not look particularly graceful or elegant. Some of the negative spaces would really suffer when reduced. Some areas may fill in when printed, etc, etc.


As I say, I am not trying to be hurtful or destructive for the sake of it, but you need to know what you don’t yet know. The best thing you can do is either by get yourself educated (always my preferred route) then get four or five years experience in a good studio. Alternatively, you can start by getting an entry level job in a good studio and learning the ropes on the job. Online course will not do it. Part of the education process is peer and mentor critiques, which can be hard-going and painful to take, but it’s the only way you learn. Tough love. You need to understand that this is not about you creating stuff that you like to create. It is about solving problems for other people. Logos are a small part of this.

What you have produced looks like something destined for competition / crowdsource sites. If so, my advice would be; don’t. You’ll end up bottom-feeding with the hobbyist who call themselves designers, because it is cool to do so.

Design is not cool. It is long, hard days with tight deadlines. There are very cool bits, but it is not glam, celeb parties (though it can be). You have to put in hard yards before you get the glory. Self-teaching is not the best way to go, in my opinion – and experience. Personally, I’d be very unlikely to employ someone self-taught, unless they were that very, very rare thing; someone with such an innate natural talent that everything they produce is amazing. You can then teach them how to apply that ability to the business of being a Graphic Designer. They are the Mozarts, the child-prodigies. They are not the norm. I’ve only ever seen one in 30 years of doing this – and he was good, but a nightmare to work with.

Apologies if this is all a little hard to swallow, but if you don’t get used to it now, you certainly will have to when the stakes are higher and you are looking for a job / work. Competition is tough. Make sure you give yourself the best odds at being in with a chance. If this is your passion, then do it the right way. If this is just something that looks like a fun job, then I’d advise strongly that you find a different career. There are so many people out the who are passionate and with degrees and knowledge. You are up against them.

Would you ever decide to call yourself a teacher, architect, lawyer, (this list goes on) without educating yourself first? Aside from anything else, it would be illegal. To my mind, the same kind of professional standards should apply to design as well.

Best you’re sorry you said anything now!!

Good luck and I hope this helps, even if not exactly what you were looking for.


Well-Known Member
I agree with what the others say and moreover it just doesn't say 'graceful' and 'fluid' to me. It almost looks like an energy company logo with flames in its back.
Have you tried a flying swan? That would resemble a ballet dancer more I think.


Staff member
just like apple logo has nothing at all to do with products the company offer... thats just my thought
Yes, but the Apple logo started out as Isaac Newtown sitting underneath an apple tree.

Asked why Jobs choose an apple as the logo - he simply said he liked them and likes eating apples.
And the inscription on the complex logo was Newton… A mind forever voyaging through strange seas of thought alone.

This was pared back later on with Jobs thinking (rightfully) it was too complex. And a simpler Apple logo was devised. And then the rainbow colours were added - which are not in order by the way - but challenged people to be different.
The shape of the logo is an apple with a bite out of it - like the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve - a thirst for knowledge.

Don't forget the Newton picture is quite obvious - an apple falling on Newtons head where he discovered his laws of gravity - and Newton being scientific and tying that with a computer company is a bold move. But a well-known depiction and a saying that many would know instantly.

Apple Computer Company
Apple falling on head.

Yes - an apple has nothing to do with electronics - but it had a story and a history behind it etc. and there was a history to the science and discovery.

When I saw your logo - I didn't know what it was for. It could be anything from a Wildlife emblem to a bin collection company.

To fix this

You just need to put in

Ballet School of Excellence

or something similar.

I do agree it needs some sort of ballet related image or text.

Unless you're a famous ballet school - or a famous person ballet (where you'd attach your name to it) - it is really a stretch.


Staff member
Another similar one that I'd say is the Tennis Player Jean René Lacoste - and his logo the crocodile - or the La Croc - as that was his nickname - and his signature Polo Shirt he always wore.

Yes, a crocodile has nothing to do with sport or clothes - but it was the nickname associated with a famous player and his own brand.