One of the most looked-at categories in any graphic designer’s portfolio is logos. Showing potential employers the logo work the designer has done for other companies may be what those employers are looking for before anything else. To design quality logos for a client it is important for a designer to understand basic design concepts. To assist in explaining some of these the author will use the now familiar logo of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
The first concept this logo fulfills is that of balance. This principle is important and dealt with first because nearly everything we do requires balance to succeed. Placing all of the elements in a design in a way that they balance other elements on the format is simply more comfortable for an audience to look at. In the example of the Olympic logo notice how one could draw a line through the middle of the design and in result will have an equal amount of format ‘real estate’ occupied on either side of the line. This is an example of Symmetrical balance.
All of the design elements on the logo are organized along that line figuratively drawn down the middle of the page. If a line were drawn across the page horizontally we find an asymmetrical balance, the colorful figure is balanced by the type element and the linking rings near the bottom. Asymmetrical balance is just as value as it’s Symmetric analog, it can encourage a different feeling in it’s audience. It is balanced, but different; it draws the eyes to the information communicated with type.
Another design principle this logo demonstrates is contrast. Contrast is very nearly automatic when building a design. The minute any element, like a letter or image, is placed on a blank, white sheet contrast is achieved. When contrast really gains its impact on the intended audience is when an element is placed that communicates a message through it’s difference to the background. Observe the figure in the middle of the design, every part of the figure is a block of different, vibrant color.
The colors used in the design figure both match those of the Olympic rings displayed at the bottom and are bright enough to stand out in high contrast to the background. The white of the background is also reminiscent of the theme for the entire design of the winter Olympics.
There are more important design principles that are important to remember when designing a logo or an illustration. Color, as was mentioned above, is one of them. Space does not allow an in-depth investigation like they each deserve. Therefore, these artistic concepts will be covered in-depth in later articles.