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5 Expert Tips for Logo Design From Legendary Designers.

Updated: Jun 10


 

Creating a logo that stands out and effectively represents a brand is no small feat. We have searched for insights from some of the most influential graphic designers of all times, and here are five expert tips for logo design, each rooted in the principles and philosophies of these iconic designers.


 

5 Expert Tips for Logo Design From Legendary Designers | Ultrabrand

Personal thoughts on logo design.


The reality is that not everyone can design a good logo. Why? Because it requires genuine drawing skills—not just the ability to manipulate a graphic tablet and stylus. It necessitates a deep understanding of typography—not just the use of typefaces, but the actual design of a font. It also requires an extensive knowledge and culture of graphic design and spatial arrangement, to name just a few aspects.


For a number of reasons, today we are experiencing an invasion of graphic mediocrity and logos that aren't truly logos—just look at the logo templates offered on Canva, where anyone with some knowledge can see that 99% of them are simply not logos—this post provides a breath of fresh air, a touch of seriousness, and gives voice to legends of design and typography to help bring some order back to the chaos.


The fact is, when you look at their work, all major brands have iconic logos, created with hundreds of hours of work and reflection, based on precise principles and expert techniques. These logos were not sketched on the back of a napkin or commissioned for $500 on Fiverr, and they don't use free Microsoft cliparts. Now did these brands become iconic because of their logo, or was it a coincidence, I'll let you judge and face your own risks.


So let's try to clean up a bit the visual pollution that invades us day by day.


 

Paul Rand | 5 Expert Tips for Logo Design From Legendary Designers | Ultrabrand


Paul Rand: Embrace simplicity.


Paul Rand was a pioneering American graphic designer best known for his corporate logo designs, including those for IBM, ABC, and UPS. Rand's approach to design was firmly rooted in simplicity and clarity. He believed that a logo should be simple enough to be recognized at a glance, making it memorable and effective.


Simplicity in logo design ensures that the logo is easily recognizable and memorable. A simple logo must be scaled down or up without losing its integrity and must be easily reproduced across various media. Complex designs can become cluttered and lose their impact, especially when viewed at smaller sizes, which, today, is crucial with social media and the web for example.


How to achieve simplicity:


  • Focus on core elements: Strip down the design to its most essential elements.

  • Avoid overcomplicating: Use minimal colors, shapes, and text.

  • Test scalability: Ensure the logo maintains its clarity and impact at different sizes.


Paul Rand | 5 Expert Tips for Logo Design From Legendary Designers | Ultrabrand

 

Joseph Muller-Brockman | 5 Expert Tips for Logo Design From Legendary Designers | Ultrabrand


Josef Müller-Brockmann: Use grid systems for balance.


Josef Müller-Brockmann was a Swiss graphic designer and educator, renowned for his use of the grid system in design. He was a leading figure in the International Typographic Style, which emphasized cleanliness, readability, and objectivity. Grid systems provide a structural framework for designing logos, ensuring consistency and balance. They help align elements in a harmonious way, making the logo readable, visually clean and stable.


How to use grid systems:


  • Create a grid: Develop a grid that suits the complexity of your design.

  • Align elements: Use the grid to align text, shapes, and other elements precisely.

  • Maintain consistency: Ensure that all parts of the logo are proportionate and balanced.


Joseph Muller-Brockman | 5 Expert Tips for Logo Design From Legendary Designers | Ultrabrand

 

Otl Aicher | 5 Expert Tips for Logo Design From Legendary Designers | Ultrabrand

Otl Aicher: Consider the cultural contexts.


Otl Aicher was a German graphic designer known for his work on the visual identity for the 1972 Munich Olympics. Aicher's designs were culturally sensitive and universally comprehensible, emphasizing the importance of understanding the cultural context in design. Logos designed without considering cultural differences can be misinterpreted or offensive in different markets. Understanding cultural contexts ensures that the logo is appropriate and effective globally.


How to incorporate cultural contexts:


  • Research: Understand the cultural nuances and symbolism in the target market.

  • Test designs: Get feedback from people within the culture to ensure the logo is appropriate.

  • Adapt flexibly: Be willing to modify the design to suit different cultural contexts.



Otl Eicher | 5 Expert Tips for Logo Design From Legendary Designers | Ultrabrand

 

Alan Fletcher | 5 Expert Tips for Logo Design From Legendary Designers | Ultrabrand


Alan Fletcher: Utilize negative space.


Alan Fletcher was a British graphic designer and co-founder of Pentagram, a renowned design studio. Fletcher's work often incorporated clever use of negative space, adding depth and meaning to his designs. Negative space, the empty space around and between the subject of an image, can create additional shapes or meanings within the logo. It enhances the design by making it more intriguing and versatile.


How to use negative space:


  • Identify opportunities: Look for ways to integrate hidden shapes or messages.

  • Balance positive and negative space: Ensure that the design is visually balanced and that the negative space enhances rather than detracts.

  • Experiment: Try different configurations to find the most effective use of negative space.



Alan Fletcher | 5 Expert Tips for Logo Design From Legendary Designers | Ultrabrand

 

Adrien Frutiger | 5 Expert Tips for Logo Design From Legendary Designers | Ultrabrand


Adrian Frutiger: Innovate with typography.


Adrian Frutiger was a Swiss typeface designer who created some of the most widely used typefaces, including Univers and Frutiger. His emphasis on typography in logo design has had a lasting impact on the field. Typography conveys a brand's personality and values more than any drawing can do. The right typeface can also make a logo stand out and be easily readable, enhancing its overall impact.


How to innovate with typography:


  • Choose the right typeface: Select a typeface that reflects the brand’s identity.

  • Customize: Consider creating a custom typeface or modifying an existing one.

  • Ensure legibility: The typeface should be readable at all sizes and in different contexts.



Adrian Frutiger | 5 Expert Tips for Logo Design From Legendary Designers | Ultrabrand


 

Do not take your logotype lightly, it may outlive you.


I hope that these expert tips from legendary designers provide a strong foundation for any logo design project, ensuring that your logos stand the test of time and leave a mark in the mind of your audience worldwide.


Simply put, the goal of logo design is to create a timeless, universal icon, just like the goal of brand naming is to make a name for yourself in the market. And this is certainly no small endeavor.


By embracing simplicity, using grid systems for balance, considering cultural contexts, utilizing negative space, innovating with typography, and applying ideal proportions, you can create logos that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also effective in conveying a brand's identity.



 

Online Brand Development Course | Brand Master | Ultrabrand

 

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