Stephen Longo, one of the designer’s behind the Swedish Chef’s Croonchy Stars cereal, managed to unearth more gems from Muppet history! (If you missed our original article about how the cereal and design came about, please check that out here.) Stephen was kind enough to dig out some of the original artwork and inkings and write up a bit of the history of each item. It’s my pleasure to share both the artwork and his words with you below.
Click any image below to make it larger.
#1 – My first marker thumbnail done on tissue (tracing) paper. This concept was very roughly done to determine letter spacing and the character of the letters.
#2 – An intermediate photostat showing the use of “white-out” to create an overlapping of letterforms. My intent was to maximize the grouping of the letters from left to right on the face panel. This version was inked but was not used.
#3 – My first original inking (note the scribbles in the upper left edge when my pen became clogged!)
#4 – An original inking showing the addition of a bold outline and smaller “counters” (the insides of the letter “O”) The outline was added in order for the logo’s color to be printed over a full-color photo or illustration. The cereal box shows how the black, bold outline became a white border to accomplish this production task. The final logo colors suggested were blue, red, or magenta.
#5 – An original inking with larger “counters”. This version is extremely similar to that on the printed cereal box. One would need to make a simple acetate film of this inked version, and match it to the logo size on the box, to ascertain whether it is THE logo used on the box. There were many inked variations that were sent to Jim Henson at that time and I’m surprised that I found these sketches and originals.
All the inked logos were drawn 200% larger than the final piece that would have been printed for the package. This was a common practice done by hand-lettering specialists at the time. The intent was to render the art work as tight as possible and than photographically reduce the image for the final mechanical assemblage. The process also further sharpened the inked version, provided it was perfect from the beginning. All my inked logos were reduced in size for faxing and viewing by Jim Henson. I’m thankful that the technology was such that faxing sped up the decision making process. Although, it took a year before any of us knew the logo or imagery was accepted and printed! We were so busy on other design jobs that the cereal box art was forgotten, until it showed up on the shelf the following year.
Did you notice what the tagline of the cereal is? “The truly wholesome cereal in the truly ridiculous box.”
Thank you again to Stephen for the behind the scenes look into this iconic logo!