Explore the characteristics that tie together the world's biggest logos – plus tips for designing your own.
01. Combine ideas
When working two ideas together, look for commonalities of form. Although the awkward and the ugly do have their place in logo design, correlation, rather than dissonance, often delivers a more universally satisfactory outcome.
02. Make static forms dynamic
Repeated shapes imply movement
Use direction, pattern and repetition to give static forms a sense of motion and visual interest. This could be in the use of diagonal cuts or arrows, in the radial arrangement of objects, in the changing weight of lines, an increase in size, or a transition from one form to another.
03. Add layers
Use line weight and negative space or the density of local objects to reveal secondary images. You can use this to build layers within a logo to create a visual hierarchy.
This element of discovery and surprise has value for the audience, and the difficulty of its execution will help to differentiate it and secure memorability.
04. Study visual language
Consider your demographic. Are they specialists or the wider consumer market? Look for connections between brand activities and form. Take the time to understand your audience’s perceptions and associations.
Study the visual language of the industry you’re working in. Does it have consistent and specific principles or symbols you can draw upon? Architecture, for example, has a quite a few that lend themselves well to the graphic. Space, structure, light, shade, flow and tension provide great points from which to begin constructing a logo that can engage a specific group.
Many of these are recurring concepts, yet designers still manage to construct something new, distinctive and interesting from these elements.
Arrows to imply speed and directness, globes to suggest the international, eyes to convey the observational. These are viable tools to communicate universal ideas. Although communicative blunt, they can be an inclusive foundation from which to build on.Distinction can come in the way you render these, or pair them with an image, letter or form. The best examples of this type are often the product of good observational skills and an ability to recognize commonalities. This can be acquired by taking the time to really look at, rather than just browsing, tools like LogoArchive.
05. Use negative space
Sometimes you say it best when you say nothing at all
Consider negative space as a valuable object within your logo. Focus on the space you’ve created in and around your forms. Does it provide balance or an interesting contrast to the fill? Is it being used to add an additional image? Consider how negative space may become more prominent on screen or diminished across different substrates. Recognize and leverage this changing state.