Tuesday, February 28, 2012

logoDesign: More Than Meets the Eye

Logo Design: More Than Meets the Eye

Posted on 27. Jun, 2011 by in Articles

Knowing your client and their needs is vital for designing a memorable logo that communicates effectively. Designing a logo is a complex process that involves brainstorming and rough sketching. Drawing skills are not important, and the primary goal is to sketch out all of the ideas that come to mind; nothing is off limits.
Logos may be built from type alone and send straightforward messages. The Procter & Gamble logo has had a controversial history; therefore, the company developed a new logo that is compromised of type only. Other logos are illustrative such as Quaker Oats or Aunt Jemima. Finally, many logos use negative space within the design to send a separate message. For example, the Big Ten logo has the number 11 situated within the negative space.

The Big Ten logo uses negative space to enhance its message.
The best logos follow guidelines to reach the result and include the following.

1. Make it simple

Some of the best logos are simple designs that effectively communicate the message to the consumer. Examples of this are the Nike, Apple, Shell and WWF logos, who all use to-the-point visuals to signify their brand.

2. Keep it relevant

Identify the business, incorporate tradition, and avoid the trendy. Trends are short-lived and a logo must have an element of longevity. Also, always make sure the logo catches the eye of the client’s audience. You wouldn’t want all the work to be lost on them.

The new pepsi logo came in for criticism due to it's lack of relevance.

3. Aim for distinction and make it memorable

An important question to consider is what differentiates the business from competitors. How will the logo look when at a reduced size? When reduced, complex designs lose visual integrity. Make sure the colors compliment the message, and remember it has to be able to work in grayscale as well.

4. Remain focused

Working in black and white is incredibly helpful to me in order to see the visual contrast of the design.
Below are 13 logo examples that I believe nail many, if not all of these qualities…enjoy.


The shipping giant FedEx has a logo that appears as a simple type design; however, looking closely at the negative space it is clear that this logo is unique. The negative space creates an arrow pointing to the right representing the company’s objective of moving forward and moving items around the world.


The diesel carmaker has a deeper meaning for their logo other than the simple VW. The words “volk” means people and “wagen” means car.


The online selling and shipping guru has a logo that appears simple as well; however, the arrow points from A to Z. This technique symbolizes that the company sells everything from A to Z.


The BMW Company built military planes during the war. The logo illustrates a plane’s propeller in motion. In addition, the colors are the national colors of Bavaria, which is now a part of Germany.


The Nike swoosh is known worldwide. Nike is the Greek goddess of victory and the Nike swoosh represents one of the wings she uses to achieve it.

Domino’s Pizza

The Domino’s Pizza logo appears as only a drawing of the game piece with the three dots placed randomly. The original plan for this logo was to place a dot for every store; however, the company stopped with the first three.

USA Network

The USA Network has a clean logo using type only; however, the type is used creatively. The designer created the letter S with the negative space and by manipulating the letters U and A.

The Big Ten

As mentioned previously, the NCAA’s Big Ten conference ran into an issue when they decided to add Penn State to the Conference. They didn’t want to change the name of one of the best known conferences in the country, but they also wanted to acknowledge the addition of their eleventh member. They solved this by incorporating the numeral 11 into the negative space in the type.


Toblerone is one of the most famous chocolate companies in the world. They are based out of Bern, Switzerland which is often called “The City of Bears.” They pay homage to this in the mountain in their logo. The snow on the mountain’s face forms the shape of an upright bear.

Sony Vaio

Many people are familiar with the wavy logo they place on their beautiful laptops, but few (except for the nerds) will really know what it means. The “va” forms a wave symbol to represent analog technology, and the “io” creates and 1 and a 0 to represent the composition of digital technology.

Milwaukee Brewers

At first glance (and for twenty years of my life) the Brewers classic logo looks only like a baseball glove, but upon further examination you can see that it is an “m” and a “b” combined to make the glove representing the team name.


Here is another logo that first appears to only be elaborate type. But! The two t’s in the middle of the word are two people dipping a chip into the bow that is the dot of the “i!”


Now most people know there is a peacock in the logo. If not, you now do, but many do not know why it exists. When the logo was initially created the six colored wings to represent their six divisions: news, sports, entertainment, stations, network, and productions. The bird’s head is also pointing to the right to symbolize a company moving and looking forward.
Every logo mentioned above shares the common factor of designing with meaning. Even the simplest logo or a type-only logo has significant meaning. Some logo designs are more effective and iconic than others; however, every result is born from the execution of many rough sketches and those few digital mock-ups as well.
Jesse from Art Room Melody shares 13 of her favourite logos, as well as the secrets to a successful brand and how to ensure the logo can stand the test of time.

3 Responses to “Logo Design: More Than Meets the Eye”

  1. Virtual Data Centre
    29. Jun, 2011
    The FedEx logo is the best logo I’ve ever seen. It’s so simple and with the arrow between the ‘E’ and the ‘x’ is still hidden and unnoticed by many.
    The Toblerone logo is an excellent example of hidden messaging.
    Making your logos photo copyable is a vital component of any 

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