Posts Categorized: Logos
Rob Marsh
Filed under Books, Logos.

7 Fantastic Books About Logo Design

We’re suckers for a good book. And when we find a good book about our other passion—logo design—it’s pretty hard to walk away. Which is probably why so many of these books are sitting on the shelf next to our desk right now. What follows is our short list of favorite books about logo design. Some are about process, others about branding, while still others are simply packed with fun profiles of brands old and new. Check them out. Buy one if you’re intrigued. And let us know what you’d add to the list.


Designing Brand Identity  1. Designing Brand Identity by Alina Wheeler.

If I were teaching a class about the visual elements of branding, this would be the text book. It covers just about everything from the development of a logo to environmental graphics. Its very well written, filled with lots of examples of great design, definitions, before and afters, and much more. And while this book isn’t just about logo design (in fact, it’s mostly about other elements of a brand identity), it’s still the place to start if you want to learn the basics. Totally worth having on your shelf.


Logo Design Love Book  2. Logo Design Love by David Airey.

Written primarily for graphic designers who design logos and want to do it well, this book talks about what it takes to design an iconic brand identity from soup to nuts. It’s jammed with case studies, sketches, and more logos than I can count. Plus Airey shares the inside stories behind many of the designs shared in the book. You’ll read about logos from the best design shops in the world as well as in-house design teams. And as you learn about these iconic designs, you’ll get an idea of why one logo works better than another as well as more than 30 practical design tips for creating a logo with a long and happy life.


Logo Life Book  3. Logo Life by Ron van der Vlugt.

This book isn’t about how to design a logo. Rather it profiles the life histories of 100 logos you’ll easily recognize—from 3M and Barbie to Xerox and the YMCA. It includes old advertisements, packaging, and timelines that show the development and changes of corporate logos over time. You’ll no doubt be surprised by the look of some early logos (McDonald’s is so different it’s hard to believe) as well as the stories behind the development of others (like MTV’s logo which may be the first logo meant to be dynamic and changeable depending on where you see it. This is a fun book anyone involved in the world of advertising or design will enjoy browsing.


Logo RIP Book  4. Logo R.I.P. by The Stone Twins.

Another fun book, much like Logo Life, this book profiles the logos of companies that are dead (or companies that no longer use these particular designs). Here you’ll find obituaries for the iconic designs once used by P&G (the moon and stars), Enron (tilted E), Kodak (the box K), and BP (the shield), among dozens of others. Some of these designs are so good, it’s hard to see why they’re no longer used, while others were killed off when their brands became toxic, or when the company was bought or went out of business. Another fun book to keep on your shelf and browse when you need a bit of great logo inspiration.


How to Design Logos Book  5. How to Design Logos, Symbols, & Icons by Gregory Thomas

This book is less about inspiration and more about the process different designers use to create brand icons. It includes twenty-four case studies that follow the development of great logo designs, showing the process from earliest sketches to final design. And while we consider symbols and icons a kind of logo, this book treats them as if they are a separate category. Still, a good reference tool for anyone interested in how the design process works.


Logo Lounge 8 Book  6. The Logo Lounge Series by Bill Gardner.

Bill Gardner runs the very successful website, Logo Lounge, where thousands of designers have posted their work. Every year or so, he collects the best of the hundreds of thousands of design ideas for a book, the latest of which is volume 8, published this year. There’s no explanation of the process, what the client asked for, or how the designer works, just thousands of logo designs for your inspiration. If you have all eight volumes, then check out The Big Book of Logos, a five volume set that is similar, though in our opinion, not quite as good.


How to Create a Logo Book  7. The Beginner’s Guide to Logo Design: How to Create a Logo Even If You Can’t Draw to Save Your Life

We’re a little partial to this last book because, well, we wrote it. But if you’re new to the idea of creating a logo, check this one out. It covers the process you should go through before you even pick up a pencil—thinking about how you want to position your brand or company, what kind of icons you should consider, and what your logo means. If you are working with a designer you can skip the last couple of chapters which talk about how to use the Logomaker application to create your own logo. The first part of the book is where the real value is. Check it out.

Did we leave your favorite book off the list? Let us know what books about logo design you would add, in the comments.


Rob Marsh
Filed under Infographic, Logos.

Very Cool Infographic: How Your Brain Sees a Logo Design

We are loving this new infographic designed by one of’s portfolio designers Dave Riley that shows the thinking process you go through every time you see a logo. Plus, it details some interesting (some might say scary!) facts about logo designs.

Did you now that logos can change your behavior?

Or that we think about logos and brands the same way we think about our friends?

Check it out:

How Your Brain Sees a Logo Design by” width=

How Your Brain “Sees” a Logo

Embed on Your Site:


Rob Marsh
Filed under Design, Logos, Satire.

That New Logo Design Is Not What You Think It Is

Note: This post includes a couple of references to scatological terms that have been a part of the news surrounding two logo redesigns this summer. If you find that kind of reference offensive, please skip to the next post.

Looking for a little criticism of your marketing team? Then you should launch a new logo design.

Remember The Gap?

In 2010, The Gap introduced a brand new logo to represent the brand. The new logo was basically a blue box, and was roundly criticized for being lousy by the brand’s critics and fans alike.

And it took less than a week for the Gap to reverse it’s decision and announce they would be sticking with the old logo. It was a disaster.

Since then it’s as if the logo critics smell blood in the water.

Virtually every company that has updated its logo in the past couple of years has come under some kind of criticism for the effort. Sometimes it’s deserved. Sometime, it’s not.

But two recent logo updates have met with a new kind of criticism. Not just an “I don’t like it.” or an “It’s not an improvement over the last logo design.”

The new criticism is scatological.

As in (and we’re sorry if this offends anyone), “The new logo is a pile of poop.”

Only the thing is, it isn’t.

The logo that supposedly looks like poop? Here it is:

New Hershey Logo Design

If you are anything like 99% of the people who see this logo, you probably recognize the Hershey’s Kiss.

But a few people (who apparently haven’t grown out of fifth grade) think that the Kiss is something less chocolatey. And once they started posting their comparisons on Twitter everyone jumped on the bandwagon.

For the vast majority of people—it would never cross their mind that the Kiss is anything other than chocolate. Collectively the brand’s fans have eaten millions of them. The Kiss embodies all kinds of positive emotional value. Better still, it’s simple, easily recognizable, and loved. That adds up to a great logo.

But it could have been worse.

Earlier this summer, AirBNB unveiled a nice new icon and logotype with a lot of fanfare:

New AirBNB Logo Design

And then the critics went to work, (and again, we are sorry for this), “The new logo is a vagina.”

Don’t these guys have something better to do with their time?

The new AirBNB logo doesn’t enjoy the same kind of brand awareness that the Hershey’s Kiss has. So fans of the AIRBNB brand won’t have the same emotional connection to the new icon as Hershey fans might have to theirs.

But very few people will see this icon and think, “Vagina.” In fact, our guess is that the only people who would think something like that probably haven’t actually seen one. (Note: Google it and compare. Actually don’t do that. Trust us.)

This is the kind of thing that usually results in some pretty funny parody.

Satire isn’t supposed to match reality that closely.

The firm (Design Studio) that designed this new logo said that part of the thinking in the new design was to “design a marque anyone could draw—something that transcended language and formed the foundation of a new brand.”

And the company’s management said they wanted a symbol that customers could draw. Something that without a previous meaning that would come to represent the experiences their customers would have with the brand.

And that is exactly what they got. It’s a good logo.

They’re both good logos. Better than average.

Maybe its time to take a step back and give a little more thought before we criticize the next new logo design.


Rob Marsh

How One of our Logo Designers Creates a Custom Logo

We’ve had the privilege of working with dozens of incredibly talented logo designers over the past 20 years. It’s both inspiring and rewarding to see them work through ideas and concepts, put designs down on paper (or more likely these days, the computer screen), and deliver a creative product that the customer loves.

We’ve seen it thousands of times, but most customers have no idea what the process looks like. So Paul, one of our portfolio designers, sat down and recorded his work on a logo design project, then sped it up and set it to music. It’s definitely worth the two minutes it takes to watch:



Do you have a logo project you’d like us to share? Send it to us. Better yet, join today and post it yourself!

Great work Paul.


Rob Marsh
Filed under Logo Design 101, Logos.

Forget Telling a Story! Your Logo Design Needs to Appeal to Everyone.

Last week we argued that your logo should tell a story. And while that can be a good thing (depending on the kind of business you run), it may be a better idea to forget telling a story all together. Forget having your logo communicate anything at all. Let it just be a logo.

In fact, if we hadn’t written that previous post, we’d be tempted to say that having a logo that tells a story is bad advice.

Here’s why:

Brands are complex creatures. Most of them have a meaning or story to us that can be captured in a logo. But your relationship with a brand is different from my relationship with the same brand. So which story goes in the logo?

Let’s take car rental brands for example.

Pretend for a moment that you really like the Avis car rental company.

Avis Logo Design

You like Avis because their location at your airport is easy to get to (and is closer than Budget) and there’s rarely a wait for a car. In addition, you travel often enough that the people at your local office remember you when you stop by to get a car, and great you with a friendly smile.

Now, how should Avis tell that story in a logo design?

Do you add a map to the type showing the location is close to the airport? Do you add a smiley face to the logo to show customers that the people there are always friendly? (And if you do, what happens when an employee has a bad day and forgets to be friendly?)


Probably not.

This idea is even worse when you remember that not everyone likes Avis because of the friendly service.

Some customers like the kinds of cars Avis offers. Others like the price they charge. While still others like the Preferred Club membership benefits, or the cleanliness of the cars. And some potential customer like Avis’ competitors.

No logo can tell all of these stories.

At least, not without becoming a meaningless mess.

Imagine an Avis logo that contains the company name, a smiling face, a map, two or three cars, and a club icon. That logo tells a lot of stories.

And it’s a mess.

To show you what that looks like in a real example, check out this logo concept for the Casper Volleyball Tournament (it was just a concept and never got to the final stages):

Crawded Casper Volleyball Logo


We imagine the designer thinking something like this: “First, it’s a volleyball tournament so it needs to say that and show a volleyball. And since we’re in Casper, I should probably show some stuff that relates to the area, like the mountains and an oil drill. And since we’ve got that big Elk arch here in the city, I better put in some antlers—maybe a good four or five point rack. And we need a sponsor’s logo included in it somewhere, so I’ll tuck it into the bottom of the volleyball.”

Rightly the client said, the logo had too much going on.

Smart client.

A logo design that doesn’t tell a specific story allows the customer bring their own story to the logo. Take this logo for Quantum, designed by Luke Baker, one of’s Portfolio members.

Quantum Logo Design


If you like Quantum because their product matches your expectation, this logo design works. And if you like their friendly customer service, this logo works. If they solve your problem, this logo works. In fact, no matter what your experience with this company, its logo can represent that interaction and help you remember them.

Some of the best logos don’t try to tell you what to think.

Need another example? How about a two more…


Coca-Cola Logo Design


Coca-cola’s logo has become its own icon that represents the positive feelings you have associated with the drink. There’s no picture of a glass of soda, or family gatherings, or guys playing football, or any of the millions of things you could do while enjoying a Coke. The logo is simple enough to represent any experience you have with the brand.

Disney Logo Design

Disney’s logo design is similarly diverse. Whether in a theme park, in a movie, on a video, or on packaging for their toys and books, this logo is plain enough to tell hundreds of stories related to the Disney entertainment empire. Do you have a favorite Disney story or experience? You probably think of it just about every time you see this logo.

So should your logo tell a story? 

Not if it needs to represent a variety of different customer experiences. In that case, you’re better off with a logo that is simple enough to represent everyone’s experience with your brand.

What do you think? Should a logo be plain or say something?