Ten Successful Logos— Part One

Logos serve as the face of a corporation, business, or any entity. They help consumers identify them and identify with them. While they look simple, lots of research is required to elicit the desired impression it wants to make on consumers. Considerations of a respective industry, their target audience, and unique value proposition in the market place are all made before pencil even hits the paper. Shapes, colors, and typography play pivotal roles in making a business right at home in an industry. The best logos are simple, inspiring recall after seeing it a few times, or maybe even once. Less really is more. This is part one of ten successful logos that stood the test of time. 

McDonald’s
In 1937 Patrick McDonald opened The Airdome in Monrovia, California off Route 66. In 1940 his sons moved the location to San Bernardino, and renamed the restaurant “McDonalds.” It became the first fast food chain where it had a layout like an assembly line to get patrons their food quickly. The idea for the Golden Arches came from a sketch by Richard McDonald of two half circles. Their sign maker, George Dexter, used those half circles in the architecture of their restaurants. It wasn’t until 1961 when Ray Kroc bought the company that they were used in the McDonald’s logo. The first iteration had a slanted line going through the two interlocking arches to illustrate the signature roofline of their locations. The logo had gone through several iterations before the most recent one in 2003. The Golden Arches are now globally recognized. 

Apple
Apple’s first logo was designed by Ronald Wayne, an early founder of Apple along with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. According to Jobs in his biography, he chose the name Apple when he came from an orchard, and thought the name sounded fun, spirited, and not intimidating. The first logo depicted Newton sitting under a tree with a glowing apple about to fall, where he discovered gravity. It wasn’t even used for a year before Jobs hired graphic designer Rob Janoff to design the new Apple logo. The original design had rainbow colors to commemorate the first computer with a color display, the Apple II. At the time, Jobs only cared that green was on top, since that’s where the stem is. That rainbow design was used for twenty-two years before the logo went monochromatic. According to the designer, the bite in the logo was to make it clear that it was an apple and not a cherry tomato. The logo itself has since been in use for forty-four years.

Coca Cola
Originally, Coca Cola was invented by John Pemberton as a medicine, with its main ingredients being the coca leaf and the kola nut. His bookkeeper, Frank Robinson, coined the name “Coca-Cola.” Robinson suggested that the two Cs would work well for advertising. He experimented with a Spencerian script, a style of penmanship that was popular at the time. The final design was received unanimously. In 1883 the logo was trademarked with the US Patent Office, and the word “trademark” was inserted into the first C. In 1890, for only one year, the logo was changed so the Cs looked more ornate while the rest of the type appeared more upright. When going back to the original design in 1891 the word “trademark” was omitted from the first C, leaving only the name of the beverage. Many iterations of supporting graphics such as shields, waves, and taglines have been used over time to keep the brand relevant, but the logo itself has been unchanged since 1891.

Nike
Phil Knight, an accounting professor at Portland State University, started Blue Ribbon Sports with Bill Bowerman, his former track coach at the same university, in 1964. They got their start by distributing shoes for Onitsuka Tiger, later to become Asics. When their contract ended in 1971 Blue Ribbon Sports developed their own shoes, the Nike Cortez. Carolyn Davis was hired to create the design on the side of the shoe. She got the job when Knight approached her while walking down a hallway in the university’s graphic design department. He asked her to draw up a design for the side of the aforementioned shoe for $35. While coming up with designs she said of the process “I remember being in my studio working on it. I drew a picture of a shoe and then drew the designs on tissue. I’d lay it over and then I’d—“ (makes a motion of crumpling up paper) “Because it has to look good on a shoe. Bill Knight said of the design “I don’t love it, but maybe it’ll grow on me.” It must have grown on him, as the logo has been used since Blue Ribbon Sports become Nike, named after the goddess of victory, in 1978. The company boomed a few years later, and Carolyn Davis was given a gold ring with the famous swoosh on it, and 500 shares of Nike stock, valued at $643,000 today. 

Target
Target began as the Dayton Company in Roseville Minnesota, a local discount store. As it expanded, their public relations department sifted through two hundred names before settling on “Target.” The logo was derived from their name. The first design, unveiled in 1962, was made of three red rings, with a black italicized typeface placed overtop. That presented legibility issues, since the typeface’s thin serifs got lost from a distance, not helped by the red color it sat on. In 1968 the logo was simplified; it now had one red ring around a red circle. The type had also been moved to the side, allowing the logo to be unencumbered by the letters that once sat on top. The text had been changed to Helvetica and was displayed in capital letters. Subsequent design changes altered placement and color of the type but the bullseye had been unchanged. A 2003 study by Target found that 96% of American shoppers knew what the bullseye symbolized. In 2004 the type had been placed below the target logo, giving it more prominence. The most recent revision happened in 2018 where the once all capital letters had been converted to lower case. 

Vehicle Graphics

We’ve come a long way with vehicle graphics since they were first used by Hershey’s in 1918, when the only option was to paint them. Vinyl didn’t appear on the scene until the late 1950s with limited color options. Fast forward to today, there are thousands of colors available with hundreds of different finishes— cast, reflective, metallic, chrome, and matte to name a few. And we haven’t even gotten to full color printing! With the ability to reproduce high resolution images at full size, another dimension of vehicle graphics increased creative potential. Imagery is a great way to reinforce the values of the brand. Cut vinyl and print graphics can be used in tandem with each other to bolster the effectiveness of the graphics as a whole. 

Introduction of Vinyl
With the introduction of vinyl vehicle graphics, it was no longer necessary to paint them on. The first vinyl-like material, manufactured by 3M, was used for a roadway median in Minnesota in 1937. It was made from double-coated cloth tape, an early precursor to cast vinyl. Among the first to use cast vinyl was the United States Air Force to repair the damaged logos on military planes. Production costs and the expense of die-cutting technology prohibited small businesses from using cast vinyl until the 1980s. Cheaper production methods drove the cost of cast vinyl down enough for any business to apply graphics to vehicles. A business’s name and contact information can be displayed professionally and cost-effectively with cut vinyl graphics, rather than painting them on like in the early days of Hershey’s. If you’re looking to radically change your vehicle’s look, full wraps are also an option.

Full Color Vehicle Wraps
Full vehicle wraps were first used in Germany in 1993 in order to change the color of taxis. Their government mandated that all taxis be beige in color. Key Premium Marking Films (KPMF) was asked to develop a film that could convert cars into taxis and vice versa. Rather than repainting each time, one application of vinyl was needed instead of two trips to the paint shop. Three years after application, the vinyl was removed, leaving pristine and unscathed paint beneath. The electrostatic printer was introduced in the early 1990s to further the advancement of vehicle graphics. It yielded the ability to produce prints suitable for outdoor use by applying liquid toners to the film. Prior to that, screen printed graphics were used to wrap vehicles. The electrostatic printer made it much more cost effective to wrap vehicles in beautiful imagery. Businesses of any kind can use print vinyl graphics to wrap their vehicles with their message.

Partial Vehicle Wraps
Partial wraps are also possible, adding a custom look to the vehicle. They typically cover between 25% and 75% of the vehicle’s surface. With less to print and less vinyl to use, partial graphics are cost-effective as well. While covering less of the vehicle than a full wrap, partial wraps can be any custom shape. For example, a broad swoosh shape can be cut to match the contour of a vehicle. Partial wraps can either be a solid color, have custom printed imagery, or both. Since we’re talking about partial wraps, there is adequate room to display critical information with cut vinyl on the unwrapped portion. It depends on what your needs are, and how much you’re willing to spend, but partial wraps are a perfect middle ground between saving money and using the power of printed imagery. Some businesses may favor the look period, as partial wraps can add an airy feel to the design. 

Wrapping It Up
Whether applying cut vinyl, a partial wrap, or a full wrap, it’s important that the design of the vinyl corresponds with the design of your business. Colors, fonts, logos, and imagery should correlate with other marketing media. Just like all business cards should be cohesive, vehicle graphics should be as well. Cohesive brand elements are better for instilling recall and making a solid impression. Worn and tattered vehicle graphics will create a negative perception for customers so make sure to change them every five to seven years. In the mean time, cleaning them will keep them looking good. Mild detergent and clean water with a soft rag is the best method of cleaning vehicle graphics. Keep an eye out at the competition and make visual adjustments to the design to keep it modern; your vehicle graphic specialists can help with that. Vehicle graphics are the most cost effective advertising tool, with a lower cost per thousand impressions than any other. With that kind of effectiveness, make sure that those thousand impressions are solid ones. 

Online Presence

Over half of the world is online; it’s never been easier to increase one’s customer base. The key to making the most out of what the internet has to offer is cultivating an online presence. According to Merchant Maverick, online presence is the overall impact of all the places that your business exists online. Those places are largely comprised of the website, social media accounts, blogs, forums, and review sites like Google My Business and Yelp. Forming a cohesive unit between those platforms will increase SEO (search engine optimization), helping to get views, get clicks, and get conversions.

Online Headquarters
Your business’s website serves as your online headquarters, and is critical to its online presence. There are 5.6 billion searches each day on Google alone. With that kind of volume, probability has it that what your business offers are what some people are searching for. Any day at any time, people can go to your website to find out about your products, services, hours, location, and contact information. Telling a story about your brand and how it’ll solve pain points answers questions that prospects may have, inspiring them to get in touch with your business. It’s important to make sure the site has the same look and feel as your brand identity through the logo, typefaces, colors, and general layout. A site cohesive with your brand will lend it credibility as people see more of the business. A first impression can make a lasting one.

SEO To Go
To make sure your business appears at the top of search results, it’s important that your site’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is up to speed. Basically, the browser will scan a website and look for keywords— what people search for when finding a business. Keywords should be present in main headings of the website and the content of your site. When results pop up on Google, the title tag is the link to the website, and the meta description is a synopsis of the site. The meta description should be short, yet informative to make it easier for a search engine to determine that your site is relevant to a search. Both the title tag and meta description should contain keywords as well. Running a blog will also increase a site’s SEO, since frequent updates let Google know the site is still active. Keywords can be used in articles as well. URLs, also known as a web address, should be structured to indicate a particular page of the site, instead of randomly generated numbers and letters.

Social Media
Social media is another way to be present online. It allows for relationships to be made and maintained between a business and its fans. Questions can be answered and discussions can be had with those who comment on posts. It’s a way for a brand to speak in its voice; using consistent messaging across all platforms maintains tone, whether informative, professional, or casual. In order to make genuine connections with valued customers, create content that they value and trust. Adding value to the customers will keep them coming back for more. It’s also a good way for people to get a closer look at the business from their point of view as they post. Linking social media profiles to the website will bolster online presence since they’ll be interwoven with each other.

Online Presence
Online presence goes beyond the website and social media. Businesses can also be on review sites such as Yelp, Google My business, Yellow Pages, and the Better Business Bureau. Seeing positive feedback from satisfied customers gives prospective customers confidence that they can come to that business. Niche-specific review sites such as Angies List, Home Advisor, and Porch are additional places potential customers can find a business and see what people have to say about it. Potential customers get to see how businesses answer questions and address concerns, building credibility. Using the same branding elements from the website on review pages will make an online presence cohesive between all its parts. Posting on forums is another way online presence can be expanded. It’s best to be a part of the discussion instead of making a sales pitch. People will naturally gravitate toward those who post valuable content and then can choose to look into a business organically

The Golden Ratio

The proportion for Golden Ratio is 1:1.618. It is a mathematical equation that has found its way into design practices as well. The golden ratio has been scientifically proven to be beautiful. The best example to understand the importance of the Golden Ratio can be traced back to one of the most famous paintings: the Mona Lisa. The painting itself uses the Golden Ratio.

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The Fibonacci Sequence

This sequence is the sum of two numbers before it. The Greeks used this practice as a way to help them form a visual pattern to help with their design. It is done by creating a sequence of squares and putting them side by side and to create a spiral of rectangles. This is known as the Golden Spiral. What’s amazing is that even though this is a mathematical equation, there are a lot of natural instances that show the presence of this concept in their structure as well. In nature such flowers and even shells have a hint of the Golden Ratio.

Golden Ratio in Graphic Design

Golden Ratio adds structure to design, which otherwise has an expressive nature. An easy method of applying the Golden Ratio to any element is multiplying the size of the element by 1.618 for figuring out the size of another element or overlaying the Golden Spiral and adjusting the placement of objects.

Using Golden Ratio for Typography

Typography refers to the art or technique of arranging type for making the written language legible, readable and appealing when displayed. Adding hierarchy in your layout adds structure and flow to your design. At first glance, it might not be possible to imagine any correlation between typography and mathematics. However, typography is a blend of letter forms and mathematical proportions.

The Golden Ratio can be used to create a guide for typography sizes. If you breakdown a three-line text by importance in three sections named A, B and C you’d be able to understand the golden ratio a whole lot better. Suppose C is the least important piece of information you have, and you use the size 10 px for its content. If you need to figure out what size of the text to use for more critical text B you would multiply the font size of C by 1.618.

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Using Golden Ratio for Photography

Photographers always have a guiding principle that they use when taking photographs. There are many guiding principles in photography that help photographers better frame their picture. One such guideline or rule is known as The Rule of Thirds. The rule of thirds essentially is dividing a composition into 9 equal parts, by dividing the frame with two equidistant vertical and horizontal lines. The points where these lines intersect are known as intersection points. The idea of using the rule of one third is that the subject should be placed on the intersection points in a way that the subject only takes up one third of the frame. This can also be done in post-editing using grid lines. Another such guideline is the Golden Ratio.

Golden Ratio works best when you are trying to create a perfect sense of harmony in your images. Now unlike the rule of thirds, using golden ratio when taking a photograph can be a little trickier, especially when you’re new to the concept. Using the Golden Spiral in post-production is one of the best ways to go around it. You can do this by overlaying the spiral on top of your image. This would help you see which elements of the picture sit where and if they’re creating harmony together. It also allows you to identify focal points and where they need to be. It can also be used to understand which elements need to be moved for giving the design more energy.

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Creating Logo Design

Logos are one of the most critical aspects of business identity. It helps new potential customers identify your brand, and old customers to retain your services and products through your logo. A logo helps create the first impression of the business’s values and relevance to its audience. By using the Golden Ratio for designing logos will help people instantly connect to the brand. An excellent example of this is how many famous brands like Twitter, Apple, even Pepsi use it to design their logo. You can use the Fibonacci sequence to make logos by creating a circular sequence and then rearranging them and forming a grid that would work as the basic framework for your logo design.

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Designing and Creating Layouts

Layouts are the arrangements of various elements on a page that usually refers to a specific placement on text, image and the style. The proper layout helps enhance the look of a particular object individually and also as a whole. For successful layouts the two criteria that need to be kept in mind are individual visual elements and their relationship.

There are many layout options available to designers. One of them is the “Z” layout which takes inspiration from the letter “Z” itself. It generally shows the path that a reader sees of the elements on a page or a design. Another layout principle is the Golden Ratio. The Golden Spiral works best when you have many elements that might differ from each other to be arranged in a single layout. It is seen that people are naturally drawn to the center of the spiral when witnessing a Golden Spiral. This gives a designer the insight to place the most important element in the center of the spiral

Understanding the Golden Ratio can be very helpful for design practices. It is a mathematical approach to design that stands out from other design practices. Since it is naturally seen in so many instances we tend to appreciate any design that uses its principles many times without even realizing it. Just remember the constant ratio 1:1.618 and keep using it in different instances and places.

Minimalism

Minimalism is a timeless design style, it uses the least elements and places them strategically to express more with less. Neo-minimalism is a further development of the traditional minimalism practices and aims to take it to the next level.

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What is Neo-Minimalism?

Neo-minimalism is much stricter when it comes to reducing the amount of elements and making use of negative space while still making the design look appealing. Neo-minimalism is starting to gain widespread popularity because people are now being drawn towards the less is more philosophy. It’s all about communicating effectively rather than communicating everything, quality over quantity. The trick is to find a way to be the most creative with using the bare minimum of elements.

Implementing Neo-Minimalism in Design

Using creative fonts

Since neo-minimalism is about using as few elements as possible, it is important to ensure the ones you are using are engaging and appealing without compromising legibility. Designers at times go too far on the typography and compromise on the legibility, which makes understanding the design more difficult. Hence why you need to find the right balance between creative and legible. One way a designer can avoid this is by using no more than two font types.

Using strong images

Strong images have a direct impact on achieving the neo-minimalist design and help create focal points. Select the image you want to use, while keeping in mind that there needs to be balance, symmetry, contrast and open space. The focal point can be on the subject of the photo, and you could still balance the design out by placing a brand name on the side. This helps form a connection between the product/service with your brand.

Using simple colors

Since the design technique requires minimum elements, the design style should also complement it. Using simple colors that complement each other are best. Generally, designers stick to two or three colors at max. By using limited colors you emphasize the impact of that color on the overall design. This helps create a sense of urgency as to what the color represents. Colors can also help create an emotional connection as well that can be linked to a brand, company or product.

Maintaining balance

Ensure that the entire composition is in balance. You can do this by using elements of different weights across the canvas in the most minimum count. Since there are less elements to play with, balancing can be a little difficult as you can’t counter each element with another. Make use of negative space in a way that the design looks overall pleasing.

Applying Neo-Minimalism to Design

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Logos

The simpler a design is, the easier it is to recall. Neo-minimalism is the best way to capture viewers attention and also their recall ability. For a neo-minimalistic logo design, designers often use geometric shapes. They’re easier to understand and remember since they are the basic shapes we are taught about since childhood. Shapes like squares, circles, rectangles and triangles create a sense of balance and proportion which can help create focal points in the design. Many big brands often rely on a minimalistic design approach for their logos. Like the M for McDonald’s helps easily connect the logo with their brand.

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Websites

For any website design, the top priority should be providing value to its visitors. It should help visitors navigate without feeling lost or overwhelmed. The ideology of being true to the business and avoiding extra noise is a crucial characteristic of neo-minimalism. For achieving a simple and effective UI, there are certain neo-minimalist design principles that you should know.

Using whitespace: Whitespace is the space between two different elements of a composition. This helps improve user experience. It also helps the audience focus on your website content and product.

Using bright colors: As a designer, you need to find the right balance between vivid backgrounds that are appealing and too colorful of backgrounds that get irritating. A trick to do this is to complement the vivid bright colors with soothing tones and hues.

Using fonts: Fonts can help create a hierarchy that can help navigate the audience to find what content is more important and what is less. Typography often holds the ground for compensating for lack of other design elements such as imagery and animations.

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Arrangement by Eye Direction

Neo-minimalist design practices aim at using graphic elements in a way that doesn’t distract the audience from the central focus point of packaging. Having a neo-minimalistic package design helps your product stand out from the rest of the products on a shelf. It helps the customer easily recognize the product and make an instant decision to purchase it, saving them time and energy.

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Icons

Icons are an accurate representation of your mobile or desktop applications. They are the first interaction your potential customer has with your app before they even decide to download it or not. It is crucial to make the icon as appealing as possible. Many designers believe in using neo-minimalistic design

Neo-Minimalism isn’t just about using fewer design elements, but also being careful and creative of where and when to use them. It doesn’t put a limitation to someone’s design options, but rather an exploratory style where you could get more creative with a design. It can be a little tricky at the beginning as a designer to incorporate neo-minimalist design principles. However, with practice anyone can benefit using neo-minimalism in their design.

Symmetry

Designers know the importance of mastering the visual concept of balance to put out the right message for the audience to perceive. Often balance is considered to be achieved only when things are in symmetry or have equal weight on either side of the design. This is not true, though you can also achieve balance in other ways as well. To do so you need to first understand what balance in design means. Balance has to do with the distribution of elements of the design. It is a visual interpretation of gravity in design. There are different ways of achieving balance in design and two such methods that are widely used are Symmetrical and Asymmetrical design.

What is Symmetry?

Symmetry refers to the visual quality of recurring parts of an image across an axis, along a path or a center. The elements and compositions that are the same on both sides and always look balanced. The best reference that can be drawn from nature to understand the concept of Symmetry is a butterfly. All opposing shapes and counterparts are in perfect proportion. Symmetry creates a sense of harmony that looks visually pleasing.

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There are various methods of achieving Symmetry, here are a few methods:

Reflection Symmetry

Reflection Symmetry, also known as Bilateral Symmetry is the most common and popular form of Symmetry. In such Symmetry, the central axis can be positioned horizontally or vertically without influencing the Symmetry in any manner. Not only the vertical and horizontal axis but such Symmetry can also be found on multiple diagonal axis. A good example of this is a snowflake which is symmetrical no matter where you put the central axis at. Since there are no variations on either side of the central axis in such Symmetry, this is also referred to as Pure Symmetry.

Rotation Symmetry

Rotation Symmetry is also known as Radial Symmetry. It is used to add movement in a design. The basic idea is to rotate an element to a certain degree that helps portray the motion of that element in the design by displaying it in two or more different angles hinting displacement and speed. It conveys a dynamic action. They need to be at the same distance, frequency and angle of visual objects to be in rotational Symmetry. The Mitsubishi logo is a good example of showing Rotation Symmetry. The same pattern is rotated in three different angles connected at the center.

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Translational Symmetry

Translational Symmetry is achieved by relocating an object to another position while maintaining its general or exact orientation. It is generally used for borders to hold the intricate patterns, in-line on a flat surface, or a two dimensional surface. This doesn’t require all the elements to be of the same size. Many times altering the size of the recurring pattern in the same orientation can be used to show distance, movement or proximity as well. It is the ideal way of creating speed, sound and action in your design. The Public Broadcasting Service logo shows an excellent use of Translational Symmetry.

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Color Symmetry

Symmetry is often considered and talked about only in shapes and their arrangements, but it can also be implemented in the color aspect of it. The color wheel itself is in such perfect Symmetry that each shade, each color has a comforting opposite color which leads to intelligent Symmetry. Color as an individual design element itself has a significant impact on the visual aesthetics and language of any design.

What is Asymmetry?

Balance that doesn’t have Symmetry is known as asymmetrical balance. What seems like a chaotic manner of composition is an intentional one with a sense of balance somehow still present in the design despite using elements of varying weights which don’t mirror images of each other. Asymmetrical designs can attract more attention with the use of complex relationships between two or more elements to create a composition. The famous painter Vincent Van Gogh painted his famous “Starry Night” which works as a great example of Asymmetrical balance. The bright moon on the top right position of the composition is balanced and complemented by the dark trees on the bottom left side of the painting. Asymmetrical designs give you freedom of flexibility, unpredictability, and storytelling.

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There are various methods of achieving asymmetry, here are a few methods:

Arrangement by Shape and Value

The visual objects of light colors and small size have less weight than larger and darker visual objects. This makes it possible to balance a design by using several smaller elements on one side of the design as compared to one more massive object on the other side of the design. Also, large empty areas of a composition can be complemented by smaller intricate details.

Arrangement Using Texture

Texture is one of the most powerful techniques used for creating a compelling and lifelike design. It is known as the surface quality or feel of an object. Texture can’t be felt by touch in design but can be portrayed by visual tweaks. The Texture can be portrayed as smooth, harsh, or any other such effects. By showing a harsh contrast between an area where different textures are used, and another area where there aren’t any texture variations a sense of balance can be found.

Arrangement Using Color

There are many ways to describe colors. There are primary colors, secondary colors, while there are also more refreshing colors and warmer tones of colors. Some colors are very vivid, and some are rather dull, while some fall in between as neutral. Having proper knowledge of this can help a designer pick relevant colors in their design to increase their appeal. In asymmetrical design, designers often use neutral colors for large areas of the design and contrast it with bright and vivid colors of the smaller areas.

Arrangement by Eye Direction

When we talk about design, in general, many elements can provide a visual guide for the audience to follow, and see what the designer wants them to see first, then second, and so on. Triangular shapes often work as arrows or pointers, and people’s attention is drawn to find such clues first and then look at the rest of the design. Also, when the design element is pointing toward something, it redirects the audience’s attention to where it’s pointing. It keeps the audience curious and hence is an integral part of the design elements for asymmetrical balance.

While both the design practices are unique and have their implications and advantages, they also have their limitations. A designer is able to combine the principles of both Symmetry and Asymmetry design to create visually aesthetic designs and layouts.

History Of Graphic Design

Graphic design has a very rich and varied history. The word “graphic design” didn’t appear on the scene until 1922, when William Dwiggins created the term to describe the art of designing with graphics.

In the earliest days of graphic design, professionals drew by hand. However, in the last 6 years graphic design has forged ahead, advancing rapidly since the addition of today’s digital art tools.

Earliest Graphic Design

Even though the term graphic design wasn’t created yet, some of the earliest designs included typography for books and newspapers. One could also argue drawings on cave walls represent a form of ancient graphics.

Fast forward to the 1940s, graphic design appeared in propaganda posters, such as the “We Can Do It” poster with Rosie the Riveter. Slogans were short, to the point, and added to a graphic that set the tone. As technology changed and became available to more people, the entire industry that would become known as graphic design began to emerge.

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The 1980’s

The 80s were all about bold, bright colors that grabbed people’s attention. Personal computers became affordable for everyone, putting design tools into the hands of all.

In 1984, Apple released MacPaint for Macintosh computers, allowing designers to use computer graphics in an effortless way, such as with a mouse or graphics tablet. Postscript language allowed designers to place type and graphics on the same page and send it to print, rather than using a drafting table to assemble designs.

In 1985, Microsoft introduced Windows, which meant people no longer had to learn MS-DOS to operate a computer. You just clicked on a few buttons and it was easy to design anything.

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The 1990’s

In 1990, Photoshop 1.0 arrived on the scene. Back then, you could only use Photoshop with Macintosh computers. The birth of this new tool again changed the designers ability to experiment with new techniques, including overlapping text, faded elements, and digital overlays.

Grunge was also born in the ’90s, which showed up in movie poster designs, book covers, and album covers with dark looking images and simple color palettes, such as white on black, perhaps with a pop of red.

The movie poster for Fight Club uses this grunge style, you can see how the background of the poster is dark and grainy, while the text is bright but raw. This combination creates the overall grunge effect from the decade.

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The 2000’s

The 2000s began an entirely new frontier for graphic designers. In addition to tools becoming even more powerful, people were suddenly designing on portable devices, such as smartphones. On top of that, designers began to realize the importance of designing in a way that looked good across all device types.

Movement also became more of a focus, with designers looking for ways to make even static logos look like they’re in motion.

Recent Changes

There isn’t one method that dominates graphic design today, but a mix of design techniques and styles. Trends emerge from year to year and sometimes month to month. Trends included flat icons and the addition of videos across marketing channels. On top of websites needing to be mobile responsive more than ever before, simplicity also was needed, along with speeding up overall rendering.

Where graphic design will go in the future is anyone’s guess, but the user experience is sure to remain at the forefront. Designs will become more personalized and more interactive over time.

Regardless of where design goes next, you can expect to see more personalized designs that will enhance the user experience in our daily life.

Apple

The bitten Apple is one of the world’s most notable and recognizable logos and is from the well known computer manufacturer: Apple Inc. Apple as a company has a huge recognition across the world and is sure to be seen in almost any computer store you go into. The Apple logo was not even remotely similar to the one seen now when the company first started though.

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The Newton Crest: 1976-1976:

The first logo was created by Ronald Wayne, one of which co-founded Apple in the early days in 1976, who wanted to represent the law of gravity that is inspired by an apple. In this logo you can see Isaac Newton, the man who revolutionized science with his discoveries on gravity, sitting under an apple tree with an apple dangling precipitously above his head reading a book.

Steve Jobs, who undertook many roles at Apple for the business of design, decided he was going to explore something new for the logo, something different. He believed that the original was too old fashioned and considered it to be to difficult to use and reproduce in a small size. Steve wanted the Apple name and logo to be fused as one.

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The Rainbow Logo: 1976-1998

The Newton Crest logo only lasted a year before Steve Jobs commissioned graphic designer Rob Janoff to come up with something more modern. Janoff’s eventual design would go on to become one of the most iconic and recognizable corporate logos in history.

As for the “bite” in the logo, Janoff stated that the bite had been added so that people don’t confuse the fruit imagery with a cherry.

For the rainbow stripes of the logo, Steve Jobs was rumored to have insisted on using a colorful logo as a means to “humanize” the company. It may of also been because it was launched right before Apple’s newest computer, Apple II which was the world’s first PC with colored display.

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The Monochrome Logo: 1998 – Present

The current logo, the one everyone knows, borrowed heavily from the 2nd logo. The pattern, bite mark, and the size are all the same but the colors were removed leaving a slick, chromatic appearance. This served to symbolize the technological leap forward and gave the company a more of a “high-tech” appeal.

Today the company now uses a more modernized flat “Millennial” Apple logo, which now comes mainly in 3 colors; black, white, and silver.

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The millennial apple logo is now one of the sleekest and famous logos in the world, just as famous or even more than McDonalds’s yellow arches. Steve Jobs’s decision to hire Janoff, and go for a minimal styled logo was a genius choice made by the brilliant minded founder.

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                                                                 Steve Jobs (1955-2011)

 

Saul Bass

Saul Bass might be the single most accomplished graphic designer in history. Working in the mid 20th century, when the importance of graphic design was just on the upswing, Bass branded a staggering array of major corporations with his iconic, minimal designs. For about 50 years, if you were looking for a clean, thoughtful design that was made to last, this was the man you called.

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Who is Saul Bass?

Bass was born in the largely Jewish New York borough of the Bronx in 1920 to working class Russian- Jewish immigrants, who encouraged his early interest in the arts. In preparation for a career in graphic design, he studied modernism at New York’s Art Students League under the direction of Howard Trafton. Bass worked also as a freelance designer during that time. Near the end of the Second World War, and still freelancing, he enrolled at Brooklyn College where he studied with Gyorgy Kepes in 1944-45. In 1946 he moved to Los Angeles, California, where he established and operated a more permanent business

venture, a design firm called Saul Bass and Associates.

Bass’ Style

Bass is famous for his use of simple, geometric shapes and their symbolism. Often, a single dominant image stands alone to deliver a powerful message. These shapes, as well as type, were often hand-drawn by Bass to create a casual appearance, always packed with a sophisticated message. His ability to create such a powerful message with basic shapes makes his work even more impressive.

From Print to Screen

Bass is best known for his work in film. He started out in the industry doing poster design, first hired by director and producer Otto Preminger. Bass had an uncanny ability to capture the mood of a film with simple shapes and images, much like his other work. He would go on to work with directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and Martin Scorcese and design classic posters for movies such as The Man with the Golden Arm, West Side Story, The Shining, Exodus, and North by Northwest.

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From poster design, Bass would move on to creating impressive title sequences for many films, such as Psycho and Vertigo. These opening credits felt like animated graphic design, maintaining Bass’s print style for a consistent branding of a film. This work would continue late into Bass’s career, designing title sequences for Big, Goodfellas, Schindler’s List, and Casino. To top off his involvement in the film world,Bass won an Oscar in 1968 for his short film Why Man Creates.

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Corporate Branding

Along with his impressive film portfolio, Bass was responsible for creating memorable logos, many of which still exist today. Through his freelance work and with his firm Saul Bass & Associates, he would create identities for companies such as Quaker Oats, AT&T, The Girl Scouts, Minolta, United Airlines, Bell and Warner Communications. In addition, Bass designed the poster for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games and several Academy Awards shows.

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Bass’ work can catch you by surprise at how deceivingly simple it is. His distinct talent for turning ideas into a kind of universal language pushed the boundaries of graphic design. He proved that simple design is timeless, and 20 years after his death Bass is still a recognized name in graphic design.

Brand Identity

Brand identity is a collection of all the representations of a brand. it’s the logo, the trademark, the mascot, the brand collateral, the signage, and all other company collateral. Basically, anything that communicates the message of a brand to its audience.

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What is Branding?

Branding helps a business form its identity in the marketplace. In order to be able to stand out from a countless amount of different companies and agencies a business has to have a unique voice. By creating a cohesive and consistent form of visual representation a brand is able to convey its story and its core message to the consumer. To be able to do this effectively you must pay attention to the needs of your consumers.

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How to Create Brand Identity?

A brand is a perceived image of your company that represents the company. A brand identity system consists of using style guides and framework to create a visual representation. Before you start creating a brand identity system it is important to have a strategy in place. This will help you define your company’s goals more easily and will help your branding design deliver the brand’s message with clarity and consistency.

After the brand strategy is documented research is usually done. This research is not just figuring out the core values and needs of the company, but it’s also researching the competition in the marketplace. Understanding your company and it’s needs will help you gain an understanding of your business and this will help you create the perfect branding in a more methodical and systematic way.

To create effective designs it is important to consider the following factors:

  1. Making your design distinct so that it stands out from your competition.
  1. Making it memorable by creating visceral experiences that people can connect with.
  1. Make it scalable, flexible and consistent throughout the system.

In addition to all of the above it would also make sense to invest in thinking about how your branding is going to live after its made. Figuring out ‘What it means to design for the future?’ and ‘What are the ethical implications of the design?’ will help you tackle u foreseen problems and design solutions that can bridge the gap between the consumer and the product.

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Why do You Need a Branding Identity?

Brand identity helps define your company’s image in the marketplace. It includes all the different associations and interactions a consumer has with the company. If you are not able to make a great impression upon the consumer, the brand tends to be forgotten in the vast amount of choices that are out there. It’s very important to pay attention to all the details, such as the logo, the web design, and the packaging to presentation design, everything matters for a brand to be taken seriously.

Recognition is another important aspect of brand identity design. It helps the user form associations. With consistent interactions with your brand it will seep into the daily life of the consumer. This means that it’s essential to create a design that is scalable across all devices, products, and platforms to keep the overall image of the brand consistent. Your brand identity needs to live and breathe within the product itself and should shape and influence your consumers.

Ultimately understanding your product and the marketplace is crucial when it comes to creating a strong brand identity system. If you are looking to create a branding identity for your company GraphicCom is more than happy to help you. Please contact us at GraphicCom.com or call us at (586) 566-5200.