Deadly Sin of Logo Design #6 Fixed: Making More Refined Shapes

A. Michael Shumate

A. Michael Shumate

Design Implies Shape
The very word design implies shapes that have been made with deliberation. When it comes to identity design, that often means simplifying, getting things down to the essence or more refined shapes. This usually results in a more recognizable image, which is exactly what good identity design is all about.

In the samples shown, it is not always about going from a poor identity to a good one. Sometimes this is about incremental improvements and subtle refinement, as in Kellogg’s case. In other examples, refinement is giving better visual clarity with simpler and more elegant shapes.

1. Most people would never notice the several subtle changes to the Kellogg’s wordmark, but they are there. It was already good; now it’s a bit more solid. 2. Twitter now feels they are well known enough to omit their signature and just go with their new and improved logo. As with many new logos, it is entirely created with repeated shapes: circles and circle arcs. 3. Intel’s former logo had a dropped “e” ligature that seemed somewhat forced. While not overly inspired, the new identity is still an improvement. 4. Ball State University already had a nicely designed logo. It has been further refined with simpler and slightly larger negative shapes and wisely cropped their figure to only show the most interesting part. The sans serif signature is also easier to read. 5. Ontario Volleyball’s new identity synthesizes the best part of its former version into an elegant symbol. They also got rid of the wrap-around type, a legibility nightmare. 6. State Street’s clipper ship woodcut logo was too complex and filled in when printed small as well as online when viewed in pixels. Its new, simpler variation is so much better. 7. The new American Express soldier does the same and reproduces better on the printed page and on any electronic screen.

Adapted from Logo Design Theory: How Branding Design Really Works

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