In this article we look at some Famous Logo Designers and Their Distinctive Style.
Were you ever transfixed by a logo? How can you tell whether the colours of the ABC network are for a peacock or a fan? If you’re not sure if the logo for the World Wildlife Fund looks like a panda or if it’s another creature.
Or when you’re too confused as to why Adidas has three stripes represented in their logo and the reason behind it. Such icons and imagery have stood the test of time, and the mere fact that their descriptions alone can conjure up ideas of what they represent are testaments to the genius of those who created them.
Let’s now take a look at some Famous Logo Designers and Their Distinctive Style.
Yes, there are human beings behind the most famous of logos, and each of them has their own distinct style that goes well beyond their iconic work. If you want to follow in their footsteps, it’s best to know what their styles are for you to be inspired and to make sure you’re not copying your idols.
Without further ado, in no particular order here are some Famous Logo Designers and Their Distinctive Style.
Table of Contents
The moment you open your browser and go to the most famous search engine, you’re treated to one famous word made up of the various letters: Google. The logo design is so simple, yet it makes such an impact that even when it’s played with, the idea remains the same.
This is the work of graphic designer Ruth Kedar, whose play of stark colours landed her in creating the beloved logo design, but other works of art that are as colourful and vibrant as the word itself.
Paul Rand is a fan of contrasts, which can be seen with his works. The logos of UPS, IBM and the ABC Network are works of the late great artists, and while they’re not as colourful as other logos on this list, they’re memorable nonetheless.
Rand’s style is all about the simplicity of contrasts, be it in color or shape. Such imagery succinctly portrays the narrative of the companies and organizations that are represented by the said logos. No frills and no thrills, just the name, and contrast of elements.
There are only a handful of companies in the world that are known more by their logo than they are by the company name itself, and Nike is one of them. The designer behind the world-famous Nike swoosh is Carolyn Davidson.
Davidson designed the Nike logo in 1971 while she was still a student at Portland State University. Afterwards, she went on to continue working with Nike until 1983 and retired from her design career in 2000.
That bitten apple that’s on your phone, laptop, tablet, and more? It’s the work of the legendary Rob Janoff. Ever since Steve Jobs started Apple, Janoff has been designing the logo of the company since time immemorial.
All of the evolution of the Apple logo was created by Janoff, who speaks to his signature style: the impact of the gradient. In his other works, such as the Pluit City logo, Janoff also features his signature gradient colouring onto the images. It’s a simple rendering technique that’s show-stopping as the Apple logo itself.
Art Deco was a style that dominated the 1920’s, but for graphic designer Erik Nitsche, that style was still relevant in the 1950s, especially when he created the various logos for General Dynamics.
It can be said that the retro imagery of the 50s and 60s—their curvaceous use of form and glimmering approach to hues—was derived from Art Deco.
Nitsche helped define the art movements of those mid-century decades with his surreal take on logo creation. His creations fascinated people instead of just drawing them in.
ivan chermayeff is the designer of NBC’s iconic prismatic peacock, chase bank’s heptagonal blue logo, and the smithsonian’s sunburst logo, as well as hundreds of posters and campaigns throughout history he sadly passed away on December 2, 2017
Chermayeff & Geismar was founded in 1957 with his partner Tom Geismar The firm has designed logos for such companies as Pan Am, Mobil Oil, PBS, Chase Bank, Barneys New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Xerox, Smithsonian Institution, NBC, Cornell University, National Geographic, State Farm, and many others. Ivan Chermayeff and Tom Geismar were awarded the AIGA Medal in 1979.
In 2006, designer Sagi Haviv became the third partner at the firm. In 2013 Haviv’s name was added to the masthead and the firm became known as Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv. Designer Mackey Saturday joined the firm as a principal in 2016.
Ivan Chermayeff style was simple, meaningful with a bold impact making his logos distinctive and memorable, and most of the logos he designed are still in use today, making his logos iconic.
Sagi Haviv was born in 1974 in Israel. He is a New York-based graphic designer and a partner in the design firm Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv that is a brand design firm behind many of the world’s most recognizable trademarks.
Since 1957, the firm has pioneered the modern movement of idea-driven graphic design across every discipline, specializing in brand identities, exhibitions, print and motion graphics, and art in architecture.
Sagi has been called a “logo prodigy” by The New Yorker, and a “wunderkind” by Out magazine, he is best known for having designed the trademarks and visual identities for brands and institutions such as the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Conservation International, Harvard University Press, L.A. Reid’s Hitco Entertainment, Leonard Bernstein at 100, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, the International Tchaikovsky Competition, and Women’s World Banking.
Sagi’s style is similar to ivan chermayeff simple style with meaning. As he explains:
“A logo has to work so it can stick around, and over time it builds recognition. It first needs to be appropriate and feels right, it’s a personality, a character, a feeling. The logo needs to be distinctive, different enough to be memorable and stick in our mind, we see it once or twice and can describe it to someone or doddle it on paper this is simple and memorable. It needs to be simple and uncomplicated in form and works well in a tiny size on a business card and on a large sign and in pixel format on the web and this is what we are looking for.”
Lance Wyman was born in 1937 in Newark, New Jersey in the USA. He is a graphic designer who specialises in systems for cities, events, institutions and transit systems. Over the past 5 decades he has helped to define the field of environmental graphics.
His graphic design for the 1968 Mexico Olympics identity is widely celebrated as the pinnacle of environmental and branding design. Lance also teaches corporate and wayfinding design at Parsons, where he has been a visiting lecturer since 1973.
His logo design style, as he mentions in the designer interview we did with him, seems to migrate to simple with meaning, designing subtly using simple shapes to design a meaningful design. It really is impressive how he can fit squares, circles, and triangles together in so many different creative ways.
The designer Raymond Loewy had such a global presence he launched his career in industrial design in 1929 when Sigmund Gestetner, a British manufacturer of duplicating machines, commissioned him to improve the appearance of a mimeograph machine.
In three days 28-year-old Loewy designed a shell that was to encase Gestetner’s duplicators for the next 40 years. In the process, he helped launch a profession that has changed the look of America.
The Gestetner duplicator was the first of countless items transformed by streamlining, a technique that Loewy is credited with originating. Calling the concept “beauty through function and simplification,” Loewy spent over 50 years streamlining everything from postage stamps to spacecrafts.
His more famous creations include the Lucky Strike cigarette package, the GG1 and S1 locomotives, the slenderized Coca-Cola bottle, the John F. Kennedy memorial postage stamp, the interior of Saturn I, Saturn V, and Skylab, the Greyhound bus and logo, the Shell International logo in 1971, the Exxon logo 1966, BP in 1989, the U.S. Postal Service emblem, a line of Frigidaire refrigerators, ranges, and freezers, and the Studebaker Avanti, Champion and Starliner.
“I’m looking for a very high index of visual retention,” Loewy explained of his logos. “We want anyone who has seen the logotype even fleetingly to never forget it.” Among Loewy’s highly visible logotype designs are those for Shell Oil Company, Exxon, Greyhound and Nabisco.
He designed the Shell logo in 1962, and over the years it’s changed considerably since its inception in 1900, yet you can still appreciate its iconic form, whether viewing the original logo or in its current form.
I always remember Michael Wolff recounting his work on a redesign of the Shell logo, whilst running his agency, Wolff Olins. Wolff chose to simply warm up the colours. As he says, sometimes it’s what you don’t change, and that can be as important as what you do. That couldn’t be truer than with the iconic symbol of the red and yellow shell icon.
It became such a recognizable icon that Shell dropped its name from their advertisements. And it still remains one of the most recognisable logo marks today.
At the time Walter Landor was working as a designer, there was a shift taking place in marketing. The days of store clerks recommending products to consumers were coming to an end, and Landor recognized the growing importance that great logo designs would have for helping set products apart from the competition.
His designs were warm and inviting at a time when most logos were designed using the cooler, Swiss-modernist style. Today, Landor is best known for his work on the Levi’s and Alitalia logos, through countless other companies have benefited from the warm, inviting style he helped popularize.
While women are often criticized for not being succinct, the same can’t be said of Paula Scher‘s iconic works. Here, logos for Tiffany’s and Co. and Citibank offer prime examples of eye-catching typography with clear and minimal messaging.
Just like the brands behind them, Scher’s logos are easily defined and offer the objective of the business point blank. And with her sheer simplicity, the world got to know more about these beloved institutions.
No wonder she was privileged enough to be part of Pentagram, one of the world’s most acclaimed designing firms.
Chip Kidd is not really known as a logo designer. He is best recognized as a graphic designer for book covers. Being a huge admirer of comic books, he not only wrote some of those for DC Comics but also designed their covers.
Chip Kidd designed the book cover for Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park, the cover featured a (shock! believe it!) traced dinosaur he traced from a book, the designers of the Jurassic Park logo requested rights to use it in the logo and the rest is history.
You can ultimately gauge Chip Kidd’s signature style just by looking at his name and appearance. Setting up a childlike aesthetic, this New York-bred graphic designer is known for his comical and multi-dimensional approach to his work.
Weirdly enough, his work evokes a mysterious appeal to them, quite like how comic books can churn out mature themes but remain simple and juvenile enough to be appreciated by minors. Extremely distinct, Kidd’s works aren’t necessarily severe, but they do draw you to discover more about what the logos and posters represent.
Milton Glaser was born in 1929 and is among one of the most celebrated graphic designers in the United States. He has had the distinction of one-man-shows at the Museum of Modern Art and the Georges Pompidou Center.
He was selected for the lifetime achievement award of the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum (2004) and the Fulbright Association (2011), and in 2009 he was the first graphic designer to receive the National Medal of the Arts award.
As a Fulbright scholar, Glaser studied with the painter Giorgio Morandi in Bologna, and is an articulate spokesman for the ethical practice of design. He opened Milton Glaser, Inc. in 1974, and continues to produce a prolific amount of work in many fields of design to this day.
To many, Milton Glaser was the embodiment of American graphic design during the latter half of this century. His presence and impact on the profession internationally is formidable.
Immensely creative and articulate, he is a modern renaissance man — one of a rare breed of intellectual designer-illustrators, who brings a depth of understanding and conceptual thinking, combined with a diverse richness of visual language, to his highly inventive and individualistic work.
One of Glaser’s most recognizable works is his I ❤ NY logo.
In the mid-1970s, New York City’s crime rate went up and the city was widely perceived to be dangerous and on the verge of bankruptcy. In 1977, the city hired advertising agencies Wells Rich Greene and Milton Glaser to design a logo to increase tourism and boost morale.
It was Glaser who came up with the design in the back of a taxi cab on the way to the meeting. The logo consists of the capital “I” and a red heart, stacked on top of “NY,” symbolizing New York in American Typewriter typeface.
His inspiration for the logo was Robert Indiana’s LOVE design, with four letters stacked on top of each other. “Glaser loved New York so much that he gave his work to the city for free, hoping it would become public property.”
Today, the logo has earned New York state $30 million each year and has become a pop culture icon and has been reproduced on T-shirts and hats, and can be seen everywhere in New York. Imitations have been made, for example, “I ❤ Radio.” The state has filed nearly 3,000 objections against them.
Since the September 11 terrorist attacks, the logo has become even more of a symbol, creating unity between the public. Glaser had even designed a modified version saying, “I ❤ New York More than Ever,” in response to the attacks. The Heart had a little black spot to symbolize the attack on the World Trade Center site.
Few designers in history have made better use of white space than Lindon Leader. While Leader may not be as well-known as some of the other so-called super logo designers, he certainly deserves all the recognition in the world for his work.
Lindon Leader’s most famous creation by far is the logo he designed for FedEx, which incorporates a perfect arrow pointing forward in the white space between the “E” and “X”.
It’s a logo design that has won numerous awards and consistently ranks as one of the top ten logo designs.
Sometimes, a symbol is enough to carry the message of an artist, an organization, or an entire big corporation. This is the style philosophy of one Stefan Sagmeister.
A New York-based designer, Sagmeister is one to embrace simplicity in all shapes and forms. He rarely uses colour when it comes to logos, but when he does, it uses it to its fullest potential.
There’s no need for extra fluff, just one, singular image that can define the very purpose of what it stands for.
There’s something about curves that pique many people’s interests. Legendary graphic designer Saul Bass knows this and it’s why he often makes use of such in his work.
Take his logo for Kleenex for example. It’s just the word by the exaggerated cursiveness of the typography evokes the same softness of the product.
The same goes for his work for United Airlines, blue-and-red swooshes that depict lifting off with patriotic colors. For Mr. Bass, Curves serve purpose and aren’t just for show.
Another lover of typography, Alan Fletcher relies on playing with words to create his stunning logos. His work for Reuters, for example, makes use of pointillism.
While his logo for the Victoria & Albert Museum in London is just the initials of the historical royals. Little to no fuss, Fletcher’s work goes straight to the point, so much so that black and white are the only hues he’s used for them!
Appreciating logos is also appreciating the minds behind them. These prominent designers are the brains behind the most iconic logos in the world. Their styles have defined the world of art, business, and beyond!
Oh man, his shit looks great! How can we have a Famous logo designer list without including the man himself? A modern day hero and icon to most upcoming designers and a favourite personality to so many established designers, it’s just a must to include Aaron Draplin in this article.
Aaron Draplin is a graphic designer with a personality that’s for sure! he is the author of “Draplin Design Co. Pretty Much Everything” and founder of The Draplin Design Co. (DDC) and Field Notes… that’s right folks field notes… $9.95 for a three-pack people!
He was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, on October 15, 1973. and is now based in Portland, Oregon. He has an impressive client list including Burton Snowboards, Nike, Red Wing, Field Notes, Esquire, Ford Motor Company and the Obama Administration.
If you have been living in a cave your whole life, or you just landed on earth from some unknown planet and you have a huge passion for logo design then you really need to watch some of his talks, not only are they insightfully funny but very entertaining. I don’t swear much but fuck it, the man is a legend! and a really nice guy who you can learn a lot from, and most importantly how to lighten the fuck up as this shit is fun!
Draplin’s logo style is bright, bold, colourful and impactful and awesome! His logo designs strike as functional, nostalgic, and iconic; he likes to simplify his designs to create compelling logos. As he explains in the designer interview, we did with him about his style
“Well… I just like things that work, you know, that things are sort of unfuck with ability. Things that you know sort of transcend style and transcend whatever it is, fad or trend that month you know. What’s appropriate for the client! what’s appropriate for the problem at hand! that should guide the process way more than what’s everyone doing out there? you know, so I think that’s what I would say for the favorite style its stuff that just lasts, stuff that’s you know yeah unfuck with ability!”
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