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Logo Design - The Art of Visual Identity

 

MILTON GLASER (b.1929) 'I Love New York',1977

MILTON GLASER (b.1929)
'I Love New York', 1977

What is a Logo?

A logo is a sign, symbol, trademark or badge which conveys the identity or ownership of a product, company, campaign or concept in as memorable a way as possible.

How are logos used?

A logo can be used in many different forms, sizes and contexts. For example, the logo for a hotel could be printed on a letterhead or menu, embroidered onto a napkin or jacket, embossed on metal cutlery or illuminated as a huge neon sign on the side of the building.

What are the basic qualities of a good logo?

A logo should be simple so that it retains its clarity of design in different contexts. If it is too complicated, its details may be lost when it is reduced in scale. Also, a simple logo design is faster to read, easier to remember and consequently more instantly identifiable. The 'I Love New York' logo by Milton Glaser, one of the most reproduced logos ever, illustrates most of these basic qualities.

What is the main function of a logo?

A logo should convey an immediate and memorable identity and must connect with its target audience in a positive manner.

 

Logo Design - A Symbol of Faith

 

SYMBOLS OF FAITHS

Symbols of Faith: (from left to right) Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity,
Sikhism, Taoism, Judaism, Islam

How have logos evolved?

Logos have been around in one form or another for several thousand years. The Ancient Egyptians are known to have branded domestic animals with hieroglyphs to mark their ownership. The Ancient Romans and Greeks marked their pottery to identify the manufacturer. The great faiths of the world have all adopted symbols for ease of recognition.

 

Logo Design - Identifying the Brand

 

HERALDIC DESIGNS

A Coat of Arms

From the 12th century onwards through medieval times, heraldic designs (coats of arms) were used to identify the status and property of the nobility.

 

Logo Design - A Mark of Quality

 

SILVER HALLMARKS

Silver Hallmarks

In general, however, the most common early logos were trademarks signifying the origin or quality of a craftsman's product. Hallmarks, which testify to the quality of precious metals, are a good example of this practice.

 

Logo Design - Advertising Any Product

 

CIGARETTE ADVERTISING

Cigarette Advertising

At the start of the 20th century with the introduction of colour printing and the birth of the advertising industry, logo designs tended to use a vocabulary of national, nautical, heraldic, and agricultural images. The public readily understood the meaning of these symbols. National and heraldic symbols (crowns, flags and coats of arms) meant dignity and status while nautical and agricultural symbols (seascapes, life buoys, wheat stalks and farm animals) represented purity and freshness.

Unlike today, there was no concept of targeted advertising and designers freely used all these images to advertise any product. Ironically cigarettes, before we understood their association with ill health, used the full vocabulary of symbols to make their merchandise more appealing.

 

Logo Design - Less is More

 

THE SHELL LOGO 1900-2012

The Shell Logo (1900-2014)

Over the last century, our lifestyles gradually became more complex. Conversely, the design of logos became simpler for ease and speed of recognition in a faster world. The evolution of the Shell Logo throughout the 20th century clearly demonstrates this effect. In fact, the art of logo design illustrates the design concept "Less is More" better than any other graphic form.

Logos, as we know them today, are intelligent graphic images that are carefully designed to impart their concepts, both consciously and sub-consciously, for immediate recognition by a specific target audience.

Graphic Design: Logotypes and Typography

These lessons introduce you to some basic principles of good design that will help you to develop effective logotypes with an understanding of relevant typography.

 

Graphic Design: How to Create and Develop Ideas

These lessons introduce you to some of the skills and techniques that will expand your creativity in developing original ideas for graphic design.

Page Banner Image

 

'The Creation of Adam', (1513) by Michelangelo Buonarroti.

The Royal Arms of Great Britain (1707-1714).

 

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