Snooty Peacock logo

Snooty Peacock

Snooty Peacock logo

Smart use of negative space.


Hats off to Ryan Russel, that really is clever use of negative space. Thanks for sharing David, it had been a while since I had good kick out of a logo.

Great little book as well.

The mark is beautiful and clever. Unfortunately, the typeface is an afterthought and doesn’t fit with the mark at all; it is neither sophisticated, eccentric, nor simplistic.

The typeface is almost a deal breaker for me.

@Eric, I dont think that that is the original typeface. . . if you go to their website, it is slightly different and they have offset the letter a.

The logo is a winner winner chicken dinner for me!

These sorts of visual witticisms draw logo designers to brand identity design like moths to a flame.

Much of this kind of work gets churned out by capable but inexperienced and misguided designers hoping to make an impact on the brand consulting world. This is logo design book fodder and designers who do this kind of work mostly remain working as dedicated-logo designers and go no further. This kind of work very rarely leads serious businesses and at best occasionally does well for boutique level brands – boutique level and no further.

There is much to admire in this logo but it is too richly loaded with specific references that lie well outside of mainstream tastes; much like the work of Aubrey Beardsley. One might think this was a good thing and that the logo is so clever it ought to do well for a boutique fashion business. But, such a richly loaded logo also gives people reason to avoid it.

The pooping peacock is an extreme interpretation that limits appreciation quite severely. The levels of meaning in the logo indicated a borderline genius handling of the medium but it is too clever in too dark a way. Once you read the pooping peacock it almost impossible to ‘un-see’ it, much like the FedEx arrow. This logo gives too many people too many reasons to avoid Snooty Peacock. Snooty Peacock may look good but by this logo it also looks like a Snooty Peacock person has shit taste.

A clever logo, yes. A significant brandmark, no.


Hello fellow designers,

Like everything else in the world, logo design needs to evolve as well. If we keep saying that logo design can only be what it was 30 years ago, then logo design will become stagnant and irrelevant.

I found this to be a most imaginative logo – and with imagination repressed at earlier and earlier ages – it ought to be celebrated. It looks like it would also look good in black and white.

I loved it! Giulietta

I love this logo, it’s very imaginative and a very nice piece of work indeed.

I actually think it represents the ‘brand’ very well, and without actually knowing what Ryan’s brief was for the job, I find it hard to think why you would criticise it as anything other than a very nice imaginative piece of work. Sometimes people read too much into simple logos like this one (usually us designers) and not just accept it as a nice, visual representation of the company and its values. And to be able to see a ‘pooping’ bird maybe says a lot more about your own imagination that it does about Ryan’s supposed lack of understanding of the brief given.
Credit where credit’s due please, this business is competitive enough without us slating each other’s work!

Good work Ryan ;-)


Always been a fan of this one. The logo alone is enough to draw me in and want to find out more about the company. It’s engaging, unique and memorable.

David –

If I see it, certainly some others will see it as well. It is important to be able to see things like this because this is the kind of stuff that winds up on logo blogs and gets torn apart. My comment is not a slight or an insult to the work, it is just an unfortunate thing that the designer who gets so involved in their work may miss. Even turning a logo design sideways or upside down may produce an unwanted visual that you would have never have seen until someone else did. Imagine the embarrassment of the client after they spent all this money on it and if that became a running joke. Once it’s pointed out, everyone will see it.

I’m sure Ryan followed the brief and created a really nice piece, except for the Partridge family peacock pooping. Like another said – Now that I see it, I can’t un-see it. This is a very competitive business and constructive criticism is mandatory. A trained designer goes through hundreds of crits in school, having work torn apart to the most minor detail.

Show 20 non-designer people and 19 will say “oh, it’s nice”. You evolve and learn from critique, not from praise.

Hi there,
Andrew has taken the criticism to the next level where you stop looking at the facade and start digging into the dark side.

When a baby is born to a family, friends neighbors and relatives say nice things about the baby. That’s what all commentators were doing before Andrew. Then some dumb ass points to some imperfection in the baby. Everyone either knew it and kept silent about it, or they saw it now. Who do you think is dumber? The crowd or the dumb ass?

I do not agree with Andrew and I think his comment is rather harsh. We should answer these questions?

1. Does a logo has to conform to some graphic rules? If yes, what are those rules?

2. Can you give me an example where the success of a brand can be attributed entirely to its logo design?

3. If Snooty Peacock keeps making great jewelery year after year and builds a loyal customer base, would this logo design matter as much as it is today?

4. And in that case what evolution do you see in Snooty Peacock logo ten years from now? I have one peacock for our food for thought: CNBC.

Coke, Pepsi, Nike, McDonald, all had lousy logos in the beginning, but the vision, entrepreneurship and marketing skills of these companies over the years have made them what they are today. These companies continue to give their customers great quality products. and that’s what counts in the end. Ryan has made a logo that’s great in many respects. What will become of the company is entirely up to it’s owners. And Ryan or the pooping peacock will have nothing to do with it.

so the lips is the peacocks butt? im not seeing a clever mark as much as i am a raunchy bird. i think this logo may be a bit too literal. it becomes about the peacock (weather you love or hate it) rather than jewelry. i see a salon logo before jewelry boutique as well.

Hi Dylan

I understand what you’re trying to say about the ‘pooping bird’, I can obviously see the visual element of the logo you’re referring to, and to be honest, I hadn’t noticed your comment, I was referring to Andrew’s after yours, in which there was too much unhelpful criticism in my view! I certainly didn’t see the pooping bird before I read your comment. Now I fear for Ryan’s sake that every comment AFTER this will mention it, a shame really.
That’s not to say that it shouldn’t be brought up and discussed on forums like this one, of course it should (even though Ryan never asked for anyone to ‘critique’ his work), but I just think that people need to be careful that their comments are not insulting to the work that Ryan had put into this, rather than praise him for his clever use of negative space.
Criticism IS part of the learning process, as you say, and I agree, although it’s another thing to argue that it is ‘mandatory’, if the client is happy then I’m sure Ryan doesn’t care what we all think, and neither he should! It’s not US he needs to please!
Each time I go back to look at the logo, I still don’t think that a ‘pooping bird’ is the first thing I see, until I force myself to see it! I suppose a certain percentage of people will see it straight away and some won’t, that’s just the way nature works, you can’t please everyone (as we all well know!!).

Anyway, I accept your point of view and understand what you’re saying, and I’m sure Ryan will, in some way be pleased that we’re discussing his work to this depth, after all, that’s what these discussions are for ;-)

David –

You make a good point, but the key here is criticizing the work, not Ryan. This is a not a personal thing. If you are going to put your work out there, then you MUST be able to accept whatever criticism is going to be said about it. Not saying you need to agree, but not take it personally. If one does make personal comments about the creator, then their opinion should not be disregarded because its not about the work. If one wants to be a great anything, you must be able to take the bad along with the good.

It is clever and a great use of negative space, but pooping bird aside – it’s too complicated. Simplicity is the key to sophistication and this is not simple. There are three elements all blended together in one space- bird, woman, and jewelry.

It’s a little puzzle that takes way too much time to decipher. People who are upper class and have lots of money know one thing better than most – the value of their time. I don’t want to take 10 seconds to try an figure out the little puzzle here, I want to know if this is who I am going to buy expensive jewelry from. The name alone – “Snooty” is already a negative.

I always show my work to another pair of eyes that has no involvement to get their opinion. I have a few non-design people that will give it to me and I find things I missed or never thought of all the time. I leave my feelings out of this and concentrate on improving instead of protecting my ego.

If you can’t the heat, don’t be a graphic designer.

Damn, can’t edit after posting –

“If you can’t take the heat, don’t be a chef or a graphic designer.”

Hi Dylan

Haha @ Chef comment

Look, I’m fully aware of the benefit of feedback and constructive criticism, in 15 years of Graphic Designing, I’ve had my fair share of critique, and you learn from it, of course you do! But I’m not Ryan, he’s obviously quite happy to have put this work out there (into the Logo book) and have it digested by thousands of designers. But ‘Constructive’ criticism is they key here. If someone is going to have a pop at the logo, that’s fair enough, but as long as those comments can be backed up with good reason, and/or alternative suggestions. All too often, we hear clients come back with ‘I don’t like it’, and that’s acceptable from a client who doesn’t understand why they don’t like it! But on forums like this one, criticisms by other designers should be backed up with reasons as to why (in my humble opinion).

At the end of the day, the client is happy and Ryan is happy, that’s the most important thing!

Now I’m away back into the kitchen ;-)

Damn, can’t edit after posting!!

I meant to say also, that I do think this is an excellent logo BECAUSE I can quite easily see all three elements of the brand (woman, jewelry, peacock) without having to work out a puzzle! But again, that’s just the way the mind works, some will see it, some won’t!

I’m surprised at some of the comments. To say that this sort of symbol logo design is the “kind of work that gets churned out by capable but inexperienced and misguided designers hoping to make an impact on the brand consulting world” is one of the most misguided comments I have read on this forum (with all due respect Andrew!). I’m sure the Partners, Minale Tattersfield, Bob Gill, Chermayeff and Geisier, Pentagram etc would disagree. Just look through their portfolios, they are full of identities that use negative space, have witty ideas and are charming.

Ok, I’m not a huge fan of the type, it could have been a bit more unpredictable, the identity could be more adaptable, but who cares, it’s such a lovely idea, it feels appropriate for what it is, it’s clever, it’s describable, distinctive. You could put lots of different typefaces with it and it’s still a nice symbol. Blimey, what more do you want a brand marque to do?

Good design shouldn’t be reserved for large brands. Small brands, boutique brands, any brands all need good design. As I keep telling my wife, size isn’t everything!

Thanks for bringing this identity to our attention David. And Ryan, good job. But get a website, I want to see what else you do!


Except for maybe The Partners, the rest of the agencies you quote tend to produce design-led work. And, this is my point. Design-led work tends to be focused on the craft aspect of design and often gets caught up in the concerns that make this logo problematic for the reasons I’ve already mentioned. This is often at the expense of the rest of the brand-marks that make up the brand and that bear, in part, a brand strategy. A logo such as Snooty Peacock, as clever as it is, is too much of an end in itself as far as branding goes. It’s just a logo and, to my points, not a brandmark. To better grasp what I’m getting at avoid the design-oriented agencies and instead look at the work of the more strategic brand consultancies such as Landor, Interbrand, Futurebrand, The Brand Union, Moving Brands, Siegel+Gale, Saffron etc.

Design not in service of brand strategy isn’t worth much.


I’ve worked for both ‘design led’ and brand strategy agencies over the past 19 years. Both approaches have their value and worth. Sometimes strategy get’s it wrong such as the 2012 identity, Consignia, BA’s identity (although I liked the tail fins and had knew people who worked in it, the actual brand ‘speed marque’ was awful). There is also a hell of a lot of waffle in some strategy led brand design and it doesn’t always lend itself to better or more successful design

Going back to the thread, this is an identity for a small brand, it’s not an airline. We are only able to judge this on the images available to us, which at the moment is just the symbol/logo. To totally dismiss design led solutions, strong individual, distinctive, emotive brand symbols, marques and logo’s is just wrong. Defined problems need appropriate solutions. Sometimes you just need a distinctive marque, which this is.


Both design-led agencies and strategy-led brand consultancies are concerned with how and why brands exists. How and why a brand exists is a strategic issue. Chances are a strategy-led approach will provide the best outcome.

There are very distinct limits to what design can do for brands. These limitations have not yet been properly articulated in a broader cultural context. As far as I can see design is completely in service of strategy, consciously directed or other. It doesn’t make sense to measure the value of design outside of how and why the designed thing exists.

I worked on the Consignia brand. The brand strategy was sound. What couldn’t have been foreseen were a number of much larger political events that conspired to see the strategy fail. The BA tail fins were great from a brand design perspective but a nightmare from an air traffic control perspective. Lesson learned. It’s a good case study to progress brand consulting for airlines.

I wrote earlier that the Snooty Peacock logo work is not ever likely to go beyond a boutique level in business. It is clearly a logo and not a brandmark. Work of this type is not effective in coordination with other types of marks that make up brand experiences that are both scaleable and rich.


I think it is clever and quite a bit of thought and work went into this. It isn’t an amateur piece of work and not an off-the-shelf mark bought from a crowd source site. If everyone involved with the project likes it , then that’s all that matters. The client is buying this service and they are the final judge.

I took another look at it and it looks more like a menstruating peacock instead of pooping. I’m not saying this to be mean or make fun of the mark, I am reporting what I see. Never have any fear of anyone ever pointing out things like this. It might save an expensive embarrassment like this:

I am in this one with Mr. Sabatier. This logo is not a brandmark, buut, we don’t know anything about this Company and only have the reference of the Logo. What I see is a nice clever logo for a small-alternative-jewelry-shop. Maybe is what they where looking for. Maybe the owner just want to have a quiet life and have his/her little shop and just that. I think in this cases, and brandmark maybe is not suitable.

PS. Sorry for my punctuation marks…


The last sentence is “I think in this cases, A brandmark maybe is not suitable”

This is an interesting debate.

I wonder if you asked the women who buy jewellery from Snooty Peacock what the difference between a brandmark and a logo is would they know? Would they care?

I’m not a designer but I do understand the place of design in telling the brand story.

That’s after all what the logo, brandmark or whatever you want to call it must do. The logo is the visual hook, the cherry on the top that conveys the essence, values and selling points of the brand.

So if it’s communicating the brand story then it needs to speak to the audience above all else.

Having read the Snooty Peacock story I think you’ll find that this mark actually does do what it should.

This from the website

“We are a trio of designers who draw our inspiration from eclectic and repurposed finds to create enviable, must-have jewelry for a discerning clientele.

Our lives have taken each of us across oceans and continents for travel and romance. Different people and cultures influence the way we think about combinations of color and elements. Individually we are different. We argue, laugh and cry together. But ultimately our closeness is what makes Snooty Peacock.

Our jewelry is sought after by fashion forward women who want to be noticed for having the only piece of its kind.”

This mark might not be to everyone’s taste. That’s the point. It doesn’t need to be. It’s different…. eclectic even. It speaks to the values of the company. It reflects their mission. It helps create a perception of the brand as something out of the ordinary. It makes people look twice. And it’s fun!

Can it grow with the brand? Of course it can. Look at the makeovers the Starbucks siren has undergone. This could be achieved for Snooty Peacock too. Take the words away and you still have a distinguishable mark.

We need to remember that we don’t own our brands our customers do. Your audience is not just the people who pay your fee, but the people who will visit the store, wear the label and buy the thing.

Even big brands like Gap have learned this the hard way.

Kudos to Ryan for designing something that tells the brand story and speaks to the audience and not just to him.


If Snooty Peacock intends to grow their business beyond a boutique level brand then it would be imperative to demonstrate the difference between a logo and brandmark. An issue might then be whether or not Snooty Peacock’s consultants are qualified to make this distinction.

The difference between a logo and a brandmark cannot be so easily dismissed. This is not merely a semantic variation on the same underlying material. The Snooty Peacock mark is self-contained as a brand. To the extent that it is an end in itself. It does indeed relate to the idiosyncrasies of the business and is clever in a way that offers distinction but, to my points, the type of work and the particular content of this identity is not conducive to scaling the business up beyond a boutique level.

A logo-based approach to taking the business beyond a boutique brand does sometimes work but it is very hard work. Design consulting has been exhausted as field capable of standing on its own. Design is now in complete submission to brand consulting for those who care enough to think about why and how this is the case.

Starbucks is not a valid equivalent. Starbucks is a brand not entirely reliant on it’s logo, although by the new treatment it may well become too reliant on the symbol but at least it now has the potential to become iconic in a Nike, MacDonald’s or Apple kind of way. The Starbucks mermaid is relatively inane and not nearly as loaded with specific references. The mermaid has been rendered in a relatively objective way. The only subjective symbolic issue is the fact that it is a mermaid; not the specific mermaid. Snooty Peacock is highly specific and intentionally snooty in every way, including the pooping peacock. An interpretation that is very relevant and that may not even have been intended by the designer or recognised by the client.

Customers don’t own our brands but it may sometimes make sense to treat them as if they do. This is perhaps another semantic adjustment that may not appear significant to the uninitiated. It’s a nuanced difference that makes a significant difference in establishing trusted relationships between consultants and clients…

… in much the same way that there is a significant difference between logos and brandmarks.


Hi Andrew,

Maybe that’s the distinction… perhaps they don’t intend to grow their brand beyond its’ boutique niche. Perhaps they don’t want to appeal to the masses?

I’d love to talk more about Starbucks here in this context. It seems that Starbucks is actually aiming for the siren image to to be the identifier of the the brand. Are they trying to become more reliant on just the symbol?
Certainly looks like it.

What now gives it the potential to be iconic? Is it just the stripping away of the word? Do brands become iconic when they can be merely represented by a symbol without a word?

Yes, the new mermaid is more stylised, the older versions were not so objective. Remember the 1971 old siren, she looked more like a sea hag with large breasts. Not the kind of thing you would want on the thermal coffee cup you take to the office.

Is there anything to stop Snooty Peacock making a change like that down the track if they felt it was appropriate?

While they may not own the real estate, the shares or the trade mark the best businesses understand that the power is with the customer. That they have more of a voice today than ever before and that how interacting with the brand makes them feel is crucial to its’ success.

Starbucks discovered this after they expanded too rapidly diluting their brand equity with their customers and now everything they do is focused on building that trust again.

It does indeed make sense to make the customer feel that they own the brand!


Whether Snooty Peacock intend to grow their business beyond a boutique brand or not, the point is that the business is hamstrung by an identity not suited to anything but a boutique brand.

Despite the prominence of the logo in the new treatment, Starbucks doesn’t need to rely so much on it’s logo. There is so much brand equity in the other marks that make up the experience that the logo doesn’t bear all the weight of the Starbucks brand.

And, despite Starbucks’ talk of the symbol as a siren it’s not actually a siren, it’s a mermaid. Sirens have wings. Mermaids have tails. I expect that they’ve gone for a obscure interpretation as sirens are perhaps considered more enticing than mermaids.

The Starbucks symbol is set to become iconic because it means so much to so many people. It’s deeply embedded in consumer culture. As the primary brand-mark it has the full weight of a rich and immersive brand experience behind it.

To better illustrate my point about the difference between a logo and brandmark, brands are made up of various types of marks that not only signify the experience but also determine the experience. There is usually a primary mark that leads the overall experience and this is where thinking about the primary mark as a logo is no longer effective. A logo cannot carry a brand. A set of interdependent and coordinated brand-marks can.

Starbucks has many other types of marks that make up it’s brand experience. Perhaps one of the most significant of these brand-marks is the presentation of Starbucks as a ‘third space’.

As far as has been demonstrated the Snooty Peacock brand is only represented by it’s products and a single solitary mark. Clever and interesting as the Snooty Peacock logo is, it is still only a logo.

Cleverness is distinct from intelligence. Brandmarks are intelligent, logos are, at best, only clever.



Showing the logo in context would help to demonstrate a brand but it would probably qualify as weak branding.

Typefaces and colours are basic design tools expected of any business whose identity has been attended to by a designer. Only if other types marks help to communicate an idea in addition and in total then we start to experience a rich, flexible and scalable brand identity.

Courtesy of the thinkers at Wolff Olins, there are three schools of thought and/or stages in brand identity and brand identity development.

1. Brand expression. Stick your logo everywhere.
2. Intangible assets. Brand includes value you cannot see directly.
3. Organising principle. Brand determines the organisation.

However, in the case of Snooty Peacock, not only is the type of work problematic the specific content of the identity is problematic, beginning with the name. The logo just takes snootiness to the next level in a very clever way.

A central strategic insight demonstrated across a whole experience is what’s required for a really strong (and memorable) brand identity. Otherwise, designers are just providing a styling service. Style, luxury and status pretty much defines the boutique world, no matter what the type of business.

In Stephan Sagmeister’s words, “style=fart”.


Interesting chat.

Tell me, Andrew, given that this post focuses on the logo in isolation, if I’d have gone one further and shown different context (perhaps the store interior furnished in maroon and white, or jewellery labels that use the same serif typeface and colour scheme), can’t we then consider this “logo” as one in a series of brand marks?

An interesting debate.

Currently Snooty Peacock appears to be a small boutique brand. It may grow. It may not. As Bernadette rightly points out, the design solution is entirely appropriate to the brand now. It’s not global, it’s not Walmart.

The main point here is ‘appropriate’.

If the brand grows then I see no reason why they can’t continue to use their current identifying symbol if they feel it represents their business.

Too often we designers are guilty of making things too complicated. Logo, brandmark, in reality hardly anyone knows the difference! Especially for small businesses.

Small businesses are potentially the big businesses of the future.

These businesses need good design, recognizable design, appropriate design, based on a truth about their business that gives them the tools to tell their brand stories.

Hi Andrew,

Thanks for responding. This has been a really interesting discussion. All I would like to finally add is this.

Did the 1971 ugly brown sea hag hamstring Starbucks evolving from a boutique brand to an iconic one?

Exactly as you say, Starbucks doesn’t need to rely on the logo because it has built brand equity over decades. And ANY brand or business even one tiny cafe can build that kind of equity over time regardless of their logo.

Yes I agree the weight of the brand isn’t in the logo. The weight of any brand is never entirely in the logo.

The fact is that nobody cares whether the mermaid is a siren or the siren is a mermaid. Starbucks can call it whatever they want to. All that customers care about is how interacting with the ‘brand’ makes them feel.

How right you are brands become iconic because they come to mean something to people. That kind of meaning goes beyond the features and the benefits of the product. It’s not logical, it’s based on an emotional connection.

The potential Snooty Peacock brand is being analysed and judged here purely based on the ‘logo’ and logic. How can we judge its’ potential success or otherwise based just on the logo if as you say Andrew, the difference between a logo and brandmark is that brands are made up of various types of marks that not only signify the experience but also determine the experience?

We have no idea what other types of marks make up Snooty Peacock’s brand experience. We are not their customers.

I agree with you this logo is both clever and interesting.

Any logo is only a logo, doesn’t matter whether it’s beautiful, clever, ugly or evocative. A logo doesn’t make or break a brand. What does is as Kevin Roberts says is, “creating long-term emotional connections with consumers.”

A designer’s job is to as Lee says give businesses “good design, recognizable design, appropriate design, based on a truth about their business.” The logo is simply a visual hook on which helps to frame the brand and the business story.

The best stories are true but not aimed at everyone. They don’t contradict and they appeal to the senses rather than logic. Many of the most successful brands in the world are built on stories that don’t appeal to everyone. They story you tell matters and the logo is only a tiny part of that.

We buy Starbucks coffee not because it’s the best but because of how it makes us ‘feel’ to be the kind of person who can afford the luxury of a ‘third place’.

Telling people why you are different is just the start. Showing them how you are different is the goal.

Still love this logo Ryan :).

I can see how these cerebral discussions are interesting, but at the end of the day the co. is obviously happy with the work & pontificating at length about it’s merit seems to me an exercise in hyper-criticism. entrepreneurs/business owners, contrary to many designers willingness to acknowledge, ARE experts in their market and many of them are savvy enough to understand identity etc…if they found value in this mark then I think that’s all that needs to be said. finding ryans logo too clever is a bit funny to me, but that’s an opinion. obviously there is value to such discussion. at the same time it’s not that difficult to perch up and nitpick just about anyone’s work where some will find agreeable points and others will not. so who’s right? who’s wrong? and who cares?

I haven’t read the other comments.

I first saw the peacock, and all I could see was a peacock pooping. Then I saw the face and it looked a whole lot better.

But I’m concerned that I first saw a pooping peacock :|

Great debate above me here, have enjoyed reading varied opinions from different designers and brand strategists on the value of logos and it’s place in company brands.

While I agree with points Andrew makes, perhaps his viewpoint deviates from the core values and business strategy that ‘The Snooty Peacock’ intends. As a designer I understand the value in a branding project and the power in strategic planning to better communicate that value to it’s target market. But this process can (and should) be given time to build for a business of small stature. Consumers are savvy in marketing language and methods, they can see through a brand’s clever campaigns and meaning as easily as marketer’s can filter design down to colours and typefaces.

One cannot exist without the other, and of course we know which one is a product of the last 50 years. A logo is at the centre of any brand, yet a brand cannot function as intended without a logo. In this case I’m sure a well executed logo will serve it’s purpose gaining interest from consumers.

Hi Ryan,
The logo looks brilliant and like everyone said before, the use of negative space is really awesome!
But just a correction, the brand got the idea wrong.
If we are catering to women then peacock is a wrong example. Cause peacock is the male of the species, the female is called a peahen. And the peahen does not have the colourful flock!
Once again the art is brilliant no two ways about it.

congratulations on the awesome design

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