Highlighting Achievements in 1-color Logo Mark Design.
A visual study of logo marks in contrast, scale, and form. Chosen by HOW Design as a "Top 10 Sites for Designers" for February 2011.
(Note: I converted the domain to be under the ladd-design.com umbrella, so you will not find the hicontrast domain on the web anymore, but the articles are still there.)
NEW BEDFORD WHALING MUSEUM (BY MALCOLM GREAR DESIGNERS)
In a “Web 2.0″ style world, we need to get back to a “Pencil 1.0″ craftsmanship in logo design. What do I mean? When a logo mark design is in 1-color, you get to see past the face makeup and discover what it’s really made of.
We must ask:
Does the visual integrity of the finished mark hold up when reduced to 1-color (meaning pure “black and white;” no gray tones)—does the designer have in mind how well it will function and appear in it’s simplest form. So many logos these days fall trap to “spit and polish” design for looks, neglecting substance and concept. Software effects have taken the place of a skillful and thoughtful designer; a designer who can manipulate shape and form to create a visual mark that is engaging through core principles like contrast, repetition, and clever use of positive/negative space.
Consider this criteria when creating your logo mark design:
Recognizable. With color and effects gone, it must remain recognizable.
Scalable. It holds together well visually when reduced in size.
Use of Pos/Neg. The contrast and space created between elements to achieve the
overall design and provides visual interest.
Form. The shape is unique; it evokes emotion or response.
Craftsmanship. There is a high standard of skill and cleverness in executing the mark.
Functional. It is easily applied across a variety of media (print, digital, product).
Now, we must still be mindful of the appropriateness of the design to the organization, current new media trends, and stylistic approach (sometimes a photo or illustration is more fitting than a “pure” graphic for a logo). But focusing on the concept, skill, and craftsmanship of graphic design in logos is foundational.
Here are a couple images from my archived blog consisting of many visual studies and analysis of a variety of logo designs.