Inspiration – logo designers

Reading the recent posts about logo designs (and wow… Raymond Savignac‘s work is truly outstanding!), I started thinking about some other famous logo designers and their body of work. I have always been interested particularly in the work of Paul Rand, Saul Bass and Milton Glaser.  While researching the creative people behind some famous logos, I found interesting links to share from these three men…plus a book and links on a few others who have made their mark in design history. Enjoy!

Logo for ABC broadcasting, by Paul Rand

Paul Rand was one of the originators of the Swiss Style of graphic design. From 1956 to 1969, Rand taught design at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Rand was inducted into the New York Art Directors Club Hall of Fame in 1972. He designed posters and corporate identities, including the logos for IBM, UPS and ABC.  I found this quote featured at Paul-Rand.com very telling:

According to graphic designer Louis Danziger“He almost singlehandedly convinced business that design was an effective tool. [. . .] Anyone designing in the 1950s and 1960s owed much to Rand, who largely made it possible for us to work. He more than anyone else made the profession reputable. We went from being commercial artists to being graphic designers largely on his merits.”

This isn’t a logo, but my love for mid-century modern has me loving so much of Rand’s work, particularly this:

Architectural Forum cover design by Paul Rand

Looks like I’ll be adding something else to my queue… a DVD documentary on Paul Rand.

I love NY by Milton Glaser.

I’ve definitely mentioned Milton Glaser here in this blog before, but it is hard not to bring him up again when talking about logo design.  Seriously, how familiar and iconic is the “I heart NY” logo above? Clean and memorable and direct.  It works!

I recently read a 2006 interview with Glaser in Metropolis Magazine and thought I’d share this excerpt I found insightful for new designers:

Milton Glaser:  “I would change the perception of the purpose of design that is deeply imbedded in design education. Because it’s linked to art, design is often taught as a means as expressing yourself. So you see with students, particularly young people, they come out with no idea that there is an audience. The first thing I try to teach them in class is you start with the audience.  If you don’t know who you’re talking to, you can’t talk to anybody.

Metropolis: So how is an audience different from a client?

Milton Glaser: “There are usually three participants: a client, a designer, and an audience. Each of them has different needs. What you hope to achieve is an integration of all those needs. The client needs to sell more of his biscuits; the designer wants to do something fresh and original that also sells his biscuits; and the audience wants to feel that what you tell them about the biscuits is significant and will move them to action.  So they’re three legs of the stool.  What you try to do is get a little bit for everybody. To some degree the reconciliation of ethics, beauty and purpose is just one thing. The game is how you reconcile what some may see as contradictory impulses and make that all come together in a singular response to the problem.” (Metropolis Magazine, 2006)

Visit Glaser’s website to find out more about him and his work.

Girl Scout Logo by Saul Bass (1978)

In one of my earlier posts this year, I was raving about Saul Bass’s design work in film opening credits;  incredible design and his well-known claim to fame.  He is also responsible for some iconic logos, including Bell Telephone, AT&T, Continental Airlines, Dixie and United Airlines.  In addition, Lawry’s Foods, Geffen Records, Quaker Oats and the YWCA – plus the Girl Scouts logo above.  Here’s an interesting article about how the Girl Scouts Logo was updated in 2010 by adding bangs. Hmm, really?!

Read this AIGA article on Saul Bass and this posting about his logo work then and now.

And if you are looking for a reference book on the topic of logo designers, the 1997 book Six Chapters in Design: Saul Bass, Ivan Chermayeff, Milton Glaser, Paul Rand, Ikko Tanaka, Henryk Tomaszewski features over 300 examples of works created by this venerable and talented group of modern designers.

These are just a few of the famous designers whose work I have admired over the years, but there are certainly many more worth checking out.  And I admit that I have a preference towards mid-century modern design history, so I need to look into contemporary logos and see whose handiwork is behind some of my current favorites.

Some more links to inspire your logo designs:

Famous Logo Designers in Graphic Design History

Logo Designers

Stories Behind Recent Logo Designs

Whose logo design work appeals to you?  What logos do you like?  Have I missed any great designers whom you love?

One Response to “Inspiration – logo designers”

  1. Jay Says:

    Thanks for sharing the post. The Girl Scouts logo is very beautiful. The design is simply marvelous.