Some logos are all singing and dancing. Every design element is included, like the company name, strapline, image, crest and a busy corporate colour palette. But if truth be told, these busy treatments are rarely the logos that you remember. The key to success seems to lie in two basic principles. Keep your logo simple and smart, and you’re on your way to building branding that leaves a strong impression. Here we turn the spotlight on ten deceptively simple logos that combine the best in creativity and cleverness, showing you exactly how iconoclasm is done at its best.
1. Ross Poultry
This is a brave design. In the UK, we tend to shy away from associating the pre-packed meat we buy in the supermarket with real animals. That would be too, well, too honest for starters. Not for the designer of this instantly memorable design. Note the way in which the cute chick cosies up to the letter ‘R’ of the word ‘Ross’ to create the letter ‘O’; creative, charming and almost inconceivably bold.
2. Love Clip
The designer of this logo has taken the company name to create a striking graphic. Formed using the outline of a heart and a paperclip, it’s a brilliant visual representation of the organisation and the effective two-tone colour palette provides the perfect clutter-free background to showcase the idea.
Who’d have thought it? Take the classic visual representation of a bird in flight, flip it at an angle and you get the letter ‘B’. It’s these kinds of design tricks that are what smart and restrained logo design is all about. Details are so obvious once you’ve hit upon the idea, yet so hard to come up with when you first put pen to paper.
4. Catch Five
Two colours and one bold design concept. It’s the old ‘say what you see’ approach again here, but rather than feel repetitive or dull, it feels dynamic, playful and, most of all, memorable. The graphic features an outstretched hand catching a ball, with the fingers splayed to display all five digits clearly. Get it? Catch five in visual terms, of course.
Bipolar disorder is characterised by abnormally elevated moods and increased energy levels, followed by periods of intense depression. And it is these opposites which the designer of this logo has demonstrated with clarity and simplicity here. Using only the open bracket symbol and colons, this effective treatment showcases sensitivity to the issue, impeccable deign-flair and generates viewer impact.
6. City Direct
A monochromatic colour palette, a graphical treatment that incorporates the company initials, an aeroplane and fuss-free typography. The designer of this logo clearly understands the effectiveness of the ‘less is more’ principle.
7. Frankenstein’s Films
Black, white and green are the immediate colour associations one makes with Mary Shelley’s gothic novel -Frankenstein. However, that’s where the obvious ends with this logo. Here, the ghoulish colour scheme is used to highlight a clever branding icon that is both a snippet of a film reel and a block-like characterisation of Doctor Frankenstein’s monstrous creation himself.
Minimum by name, minimum by nature. In eye-catching red and white, this daringly simple logo design takes real guts to pull off. The effortless nature of the typography is like a particularly well thought out scribble. It’s a perfect demonstration of how a light touch can speak volumes, communicating an entire brand ethos and name without the need of flashy graphics, straplines or photography.
9. Wine Searcher
How do you turn a pair of green specs into two bottles of wine? With a great deal of skill, talent and smart thinking, as the designer of this logo for Wine Searcher shows. This example deserves a special shout-out for finding the simplest and most to the point way of demonstrating a service and brand name with the fewest number of brush strokes.
Do you know the logo below? The one designed with a bite so that it would be recognized as an apple rather than a cherry. Ok, that is just a little joke. Everyone knows the Apple, and its well known simplistic design deeply touches our heart.
Whether its music machines or laptops, Apple knows how to do understated with style. And its company logo is no exception. Ever since the first rainbow-coloured silhouette treatment of the bitten apple was conceived by Rob Janoff, its simplicity has commanded respect.
Tips on Creating Minimalist Logos
If you’d like to start designing your own minimalist logos, there are a few tips and techniques that can help you get started. Minimal logos are all about removing any clutter – they need to be recognisable, simple and clear. Try to take away from the logo as much as you possibly can – and only leave what’s needed. Remember – absolutely no clutter.
When you have so little to work with, make sure that you focus on every single element that you include. For examples, are you using the right typeface for the design? Is the font itself too fussy, or is there a type less complex that would suit the design better?
Finally, try to avoid using a complex colour palette. The best minimalist logos tend to not include much in the way of colour at all – from elegant black & white examples to just one main colour that forms the theme of the design (such as Catch 5’s logo above, which is just white on a bright red background).
When you’re designing a minimalist logo, always remember the famous Einstein quote – “everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler”.
By the way, are there any simple, minimalist logos you’ve found that deserve a mention? Let us know in the comments.