A logo is a sign, symbol, trademark or badge that conveys the identity or ownership of a product, company, campaign or concept in as memorable a way as possible.
A logo should be simple so that it retains its clarity of design in different contexts. If it is too complicated, its details may be lost when it is reduced in scale. Also, a simple logo design is faster to read, easier to remember and consequently more instantly identifiable. The 'I Love New York' logo by Milton Glaser, one of the most reproduced logos ever, illustrates most of these basic qualities.
A logo should convey an immediate and memorable identity and must connect with its target audience in a positive manner.
The heraldic tradition continues in logo design. The Alfa Romeo logo is the official branding of A.L.F.A (Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili) which is designed to represent the family coat of arms of the Visconti, one of the most influential and respected families of Milan.
Over the last century the design of logos became simpler for ease and speed of recognition in a faster world. The evolution of the Shell Logo throughout the 20th century clearly demonstrates this effect. The 1971 version, which was designed by Raymond Loewy and is still in use, has dropped its brand name as 'shell' is an English word that gets lost in translation in an international market. In short, the art of logo design illustrates the design concept "Less is More" better than any other graphic form.
The history of logos goes back to ancient family crests, hieroglyphs and symbolism. Early versions of logos developed in the Middle Ages (around 1300 AD), as shops and pubs used signage to represent what they did. The first modern logo designs were created in the early 1900s, evolving alongside mass printing.
Frank Mason Robinson designed the Coca-Cola logo in 1885, starting the modern era of logo design. Just as thirsty commuters today look for a Starbucks logo, around the turn of the century, people coming to and from work or just out on the town could look for a Coca-Cola logo and stop for a drink. Coca-Cola's logo remains among the most recognized brands in the world.
In the early 1960s, various thought leaders on the London graphic design and art director scene, riding this wave of thoughtful logo design, decided to collaborate to improve the entire field of design more generally. In 1962, they founded D&AD, Design and Art Direction. The organization stated as its intent the promotion of excellence in advertising and design. Between 1962 and 1964, Charles Csuri and A. Michael Noll created some of the first computer art, signaling the coming changes in logo design.
Early modern was a time when graphic designers broke-free from traditional roots of designing and went on to experiment with traditional design styles. The logo designs were geometrically perfect with minimalistic approach having clean type and photos instead of illustrations. This was the era when logo designers started putting logo design functions before its form, something that prevails even today.
Designed in 1943, NBC logo had a microphone surrounded by lightning bolts. It is still considered the best designs throughout NBC logo history by a fair share of logo designers. This logo had simple elements with a clean look and intelligent illustration.
The odd anatomy of logo design was well-received within the art community since it showcased an unusual wit and intelligence of the graphic designers. The double M typeface in the Commonwealth Bank logo brilliantly typifies the intelligence and wit of logo designers from the postmodern era.
Formed in 1975, the Sex-Pistols logo is a perfect example of how logo designers broke the conventional rules to create novel design styles. The typography used in the logo wasn't actually designed or invested by a designer, it was literally cut-off from a newspaper.
Taking a swift turn from their early logo, Target's bull's eye logo has a single red ring with dot in the middle. The logo uses Helvetica typeface. This logo is considered to be the best one in Target logo history.
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