Review: Logo Foundry
Wondering what to do with your spare time on a train or plane journey? Wishing you could be a little creative? Why not brainstorm a new logo for your venture or club? That's the idea with Logo Foundry anyway, with the basics of a powerful little graphical tool - let down by some unfortunate UI misteps.
The idea is that you build up your new logo step by step, adding text and icons, and resizing, reshaping and tweaking as you go. Although it's unlikely that something cooked up in Logo Foundry is going to be accepted as a logo for a major business (though it does output in PNG format, i.e. not in lossy JPG) you can at least have a go.
Each element is a 'layer' and is separate from every other layer, as in all good vector art apps since the days of Corel Draw (I was there at the start, in 1992!) Now, Logo Foundry is a tiny application in comparison, but you get the idea - each layer can be locked while others are tweaked, and each overlays as needed to form a composited logo.
As each icon or text string is added, there's a 'modify' carousel, with the likes of resizing, rotating, opacity, though note that the actual controls for most of these are in slider form beneath the logo. This has the advantage that your fingers don't obscure the logo while you're fiddling, but it would still have been more intuitive to just resize or rotate (or whatever) using grab handles on the main logo display. Ah well.
Where Logo Foundry goes wrong is in not going the extra mile in terms of the UI and usability - there's no 'undo' facility, somewhat unforgiveably. Yes, you could manually reverse whatever you just did to the logo and its layers, but heck, a one tap 'undo' would be an awful lot more useful, especially in a creative application like this.
Worse still is that it's far, far too easy to lose all your work with a single tap. Say you've spent the last ten minutes building up a wonderful logo and you absent mindedly tap the 'back' Windows control rather than the 'back' tool in the UI here, intending to simply move back from editing a layer to adding another one. Or you bring up the Layers (hamburger-like) menu and then, again, use the Windows 'back' control to get rid of it. Both are incredibly easy to do and in both cases you lose everything. You're simply dumped at the 'home' screen showing any saved logos.
Look, this is 2016 and in any document editing system you should put in a failsafe against the user exiting the edit without saving work - an 'Are you sure?' pop-up, for example. Or elese just save the logo in a temporary space in the background after each layer change. Something. Anything, any way to make sure the poor user doesn't lose valuable creative work.
Put the two UI blunders together and Logo Foundry comes across as only 90% coded and not to be trusted with anything serious. Which would be a shame, as there are some nice ideas here, not least that, when saving your logos, they're saved in your chosen image format with all layers intact, so - assuming you did manage to save your work - you can resume editing or make further tweaks later.
Although Logo Foundry is a free download and you can try out simple designs and ideas, you're going to want to 'Unlock everything' if you're serious about using the tool, since only a handful of icon categories and items are available for free. I don't think that £5.39 (in the UK) is too expensive for an in-app-purchase for a creative and productive application, though it's a tiny bit 'rich' having to fork out another £2.29 to get rid of the banner ads as well. Come on developers, the larger purchase should include the cheaper one - that should be a given.
Caveats aplenty then, but this does work on everything from Windows Phone 8.1 upwards and might just help you craft a killer logo next time you have a few moments of downtime while mobile.
Reviewed by Steve Litchfield at