Logo Design Love

For graphic designers and all who love logos.

De-cluttered logos

A recent post on Stuart Watson’s Visual Shizzle caught my eye. De-clutter.

“Lots of brands have the authority to de-clutter their logos, not just Apple and Nike. Maybe it’s time they were braver?”

De-cluttered logos
Image via Stuart Watson

The ones below are accompanied by the respective brand names on their websites. Perhaps they’ll move to ditch the name online (as Apple and Nike have).

De-cluttered logos

I suppose it’s an easier decision if, after removing the type, you’re still left with an image depicting the brand name.

Stuart Watson is creative director at London-based venturethree (I’ve featured the brand agency’s work for Little Chef and XL over on Identity Designed).

There’s a good post on Stuart’s blog about container branding. Worth a read.

A few credits via Logo and Symbol:
— Mitsubishi, by Yataro Iwasaki, 1870.
— Chase, by Tom Geismar, 1961.
— Penguin, by Edward Young, 1935, modified by Jan Tschichold, 1946, and Pentagram, 2003.
— Citroën, by André Citroën, 1903, redesigned by Landor Associates, 2009.
— Mercedes-Benz, 1909, modified 1916, 1937.
— WWF, by Sir Peter Scott, 1961, modified by Landor, 1986.

Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities

23 appreciated comments

  1. Erik Alt

    Just removing the damn copyright symbols from the wwf logo would go a long way in making it look less cluttered. Also, aren’t most of the auto manufacturers logos used without the name when applied to the front end of the car.

  2. KevinN

    Shell is a good one too.

  3. The updated Starbucks logo is also a good example.

  4. I always say that less is more. Not a huge fan of Michelin or (still feels cluttered and unappealing), or Deutsche (seems negative, right?)

    It’s interesting how 95% of these have a major geometric component and are SUPER basic.

  5. Good point Erik – well said!

  6. Nice collection. Thanks for sharing! Nice to see how they “breathe” without the text; Most of them can survive without it too.

  7. I think in some instances such as Apple and Penguin, you can definitely lose the logotype as it’s obvious what they are but I don’t think all these logos are well known enough to be completely reduced down. Excuse my ignorance but I don’t know Chase and I wouldn’t know Deutsche Bank without the logotype either. However the car models, WWF and Michelin are all ready to go minimalist.

  8. Andy

    Some of these logos benefit from having their text removed, but not all. Michelin for example is a busy-ish logo to begin with. Removing the text doesn’t really change that. With Deutsche Bank, text could be removed but I think the text is a nice and integrated part of the logo and therefore is not better with the text removed just because there is less to it.

    Woolmark and Carrefour I have never heard of, so I would guess they are not ready to go without the text.

    This works a lot better with companies that are recognized on a world stage rather than nationally only.

    As for the car manufacturers, like others have said, many of them are implemented without text on the cars themselves, so that is already done.

  9. Leo Parker

    To be honest, I think the above is a pointless waste of time. Hasn’t anybody got any work to be getting on with.

  10. Mark Edwards

    What a waste of effort this is, most of these brands do and are designed to work solely as symbols, eg on vehicles etc.

    The concept that Nike or Apple only appear as symbols is pointless, they appear as symbols upon their individual products just like half the examples listed e,g, Mercedes.

  11. I think it’s fascinating when a logo really WORKS, as in the de-cluttered logos, because the main function of a logo is to be recognized without having to read the text, witch on the one hand is a waste of time and on the other hand it implies that the icon doesn’t have a good level of understanding. Anyways, it is a matter of time to be able to de-clutter a good logo from its type, due to perception and memorability issues with the people.

  12. Actually, Mercedes Benz tried that. And now they’re back with the “old” one.

  13. Totally agree with this post. De-cluttered logo’s should always be a strong part of any brand… sure it may take awhile to get established in the public’s mind, but when you are and you can start using you symbol as a stand alone you have real power to work with better design and advertising concepts… fantastic! I love an inspirational post!

  14. Stacy

    I think the BMW logo looks better with the letters.

  15. David L. Campbell

    Every time I see the new Starbucks mark without the words “STARBUCKS COFFEE,” I wonder how many people actually have the slightest idea who the smiling crowned female is, and what it is she’s doing. The way I see it, only those who have seen the original uncensored brown Starbucks symbol from the first Pike Place shop can know for sure that what’s on both sides of her are not lobster claw-like hands, but fish tails.

    Examining the original Starbucks logo reminded me of my youth, when I first took a close look at the tiny trademark for Reynolds Aluminum on the metallic blue box of aluminum foil. I wondered what in the world wrapping up leftovers had to do with an armored knight descending from a horse to step on a snake.

  16. Mike

    I get what you’re doing and I generally agree. However, removing the “BMW” from the BMW logo just doesn’t feel right. Too much empty space in the black ring.

    As someone mentioned, most cars have the text removed from the logo. However, BMW isn’t one of those.

  17. Shannon

    A lot of these logos seem like they were designed primarily without text, I think a lot of companies are just afraid of not having that instant name recognition. The Deutsch Bank one, for example, is beautiful on it’s own, but I can understand how a business would be scared to just use that.

  18. BruceJ

    Well, actually the Mitsubishi logo de-cluttered *is* the Mitsubishi logo, and stands for the Mitsubishi group.

    However, there are about eleventy-jillion different Mitusbishi Group companies, hence the addition of ‘Motors’ (and the name ‘Mitsubishi for us round-eyes.)

  19. As I previously mentioned on this link:

    http://www.logodesignlove.com/world-wildlife-fund

    The firm responsible for the 1986 work was the San Francisco office of Landor. Tom Suiter was the creative director, I was the design director and Jenny Leibundgut was the primary designer.

    Prior to our work WWF was using two different pandas, one in the USA (a colder, more geometric version of the 1978 version) and one for the rest of the world.

    As I remember, our working attributes were:
    - not too cuddly
    - not too ferocious
    - and most certainly, not about to go extinct

    It is very gratifying to see that the mark has lasted 25 years without the addition of any swooshes, glows or reflections.

    I believe that this credit:
    “modified by Samenwerkende Ontwerpers bv, 2000″
    refers to the font change which occurred about that time.

  20. Thanks again, Jerry. I was wondering what exact change was made in the year 2000 (the symbols between ’86 and ’00 appear identical). As such, I’ve updated the credit to reference the 1986 change by Landor.

  21. The WWF logo would look so much nicer without those pointless copyright symbols.

  22. illmadic

    Have you noticed that the WWF logo is people cheering, as a sign of success or victory? Try and blur your eyes.

  23. illmadic,

    I see the people. I can assure you it was not intentional but I like your positive interpretation. I’ve shown the symbol hundreds of times in the last 27 years and no one ever mentioned people.


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