Logo Design Love

For graphic designers and all who love logos.

The smartest logo in the room?

The second in a series of signposts, here I offer a little added exposure to those designers who also love logo design.

Walmart’s new brand identity unveiled

walmart logo design

So with no reasoning or no explanation of what the new star burst stands for, or why the decision to change to a single word, all we have to go by is the logo that replaces the 16-year-old sans serif that was as thick and heavy as the beige boxes it adorned for so long.

From Armin, at Brand New.

Michael Bierut on the Enron logo

enron logo design

The smartest logo in the room offers an insight into the Enron logo.

The value of a corporate identity is supposed to be hard to calculate, but in the denouement of its meltdown, the Enron logo proved far from worthless. In fact, at least one version of it — the three-dimensional, LED-illuminated, rotating sign from Enron’s corporate lobby known as the “Disco E” — cost exactly $33,000. That’s how much it went for at a liquidation auction in December 2002, sold for an unknown purpose to a mysterious stranger in a gray Ferrari who, ironically, has never been identified.

Logos of countries around the world

country logos

Countries by their logos, from Cidade dos Logos. More of a showcase than talking, but it’s interesting to see these country logos shown side-by-side. Some good, some bad.

Hicks Design logo explanation

hicks design logo

Jon Hicks, of hicksdesign, details what he wanted to achieve with his logo design, defending his work in the process (a couple of years old, but a great read, with a small sample of sketches).

Collection of bank logos

bank logos

This gallery of bank logos provides inspiration for those commissioned to design for financial institutions. More images than talking, but interesting nonetheless.

The Pelikan logo stands the test of time

pelikan logo

There is something very pure about logos which stand the test of time and don’t bow to fashion. To my mind though, the 1957 logo is the most striking. The geometric pelican, the deep orange and black palette and the blackest fountain pen ink on the market.

From JayPeg, at things to look at.

Are you talking about logo design?

If you’ve published any relevant logo design articles, do let me know. I’m always on the lookout for more people / logos to feature.

Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities

25 appreciated comments

  1. Thanks David! I’m a process junkie so anything that includes sketches and “behind the scenes” explanations is great for me!

    jason’s last blog post…Top 3 Overused, Misused and Abused Software Effects

  2. Another fantastic post, David. I’m especially liking the bank logos’ link. I’ve worked on a number of logo projects for financial firms in the past and will probably have plenty more in the future, so these will surely come in handy during the inspiration and research phases of some future projects. Thanks for all that you do.

    Best regards,

    Kevin

  3. Gio

    I really like the logos of the Czech Republic, Australia, Argentina, and Tasmania. I think it’s interesting how many of the countries used gradients and fine detailing in their logos, but then again, I don’t think they’d skimp on printing anything less than 4-color process for their national identity.

    Gio’s last blog post…Walmart Unveils Its New Logo

  4. The Australia logo definitely is the better one of the countries that you listed. Even without the title of Australia, you know its Australia by the kangaroo and the sunset. Great design

    Jermayn’s last blog post…When I Grow Up – The Pussycat Dolls

  5. I just spent a couple of minutes browsing through all those banks logos, what a great collection.

    Saw your request for relevant articles talking about logos and as I’ve just recently wrote an article on my logo design process I thought it might fit the bill: http://www.dache.ch/index.php/dache/comments/case_study_brokers_logo_design_process/

    Keep up the great work :^)

  6. I like the old Walmart logo so much better.

  7. Thanks for the comments, everyone.

    Jason, Kevin,

    Glad there are some resources mentioned that caught your eye.

    Gio,

    You’ve picked some of the stronger country logos there. Certainly stronger than that of Britain anyway!

    Jermayn,

    The kangaroo is probably the most recognisable icon for Australia. I see you like the Pussycat Dolls?

    David,

    A great collection of bank logos, no doubt. That’s a superb case study you’ve linked to. Thanks for sharing the process, and I’m glad to see you’ve added a blog to your website.

    Roberta,

    It’ll be interesting to see how Walmart incorporate the new logo into their promotional material. If I come across more details I’ll publish them here.

  8. Great! Thanks David :)

  9. For Walmart to change their logo, it may be because of their new Green campaign they just started? Maybe the burst has something to do with the internet? Maybe they are trying to get away from being the ultra low cost shopping center (like Target, Sears and JCPenney before them)? Course I like the old logo better. Considering how far that logo took them, seems foolish to abandon it now. I’m not adverse to the font change, but making it one word and adding the burst is a bit bewildering. They aren’t like at&t who have been around for a century and want to distance themselves from American Telephone & Telegraph as much as possible. Are they trying to distance themselves from Sam Walton? That seems incredibly unlikely. Anyway, it will be interesting to find out.

    Ah Enron. I lived in Houston during all that. Knew a lot of people who worked for the monstrosity. Last I heard the core company of Enron is still in operation. There was one division that actually sold something material. I believe it was pipe. Anyway, a friend of mine’s girlfriend was admin assistant to one of the major players (associated with the real division) and sat in on all their meetings taking notes. He couldn’t understand why she was never approached by the investigators considering she knew and had documents about every shifty detail. Course her knowledge kept her employed and still employed as far as I know (it has been about four years since last we talked).

    Loved the logo explanation by Hicks! I think it is great people are opinionated and the more passionate they are the better. But too many people believe they “know” better than the person who is doing the designing. How can they when they don’t know the designer, the client or the customer? It is especially arrogant when it comes to personal design. You could see, like most of us creative types, he both loved and hated the need for people to voice their opinion. Everyone wants to be told they are great, but if you put yourself out there, you have to be prepared for every type of opinion from good to bad to worse. There is a lot of science behind graphic design, but it is also highly subjective. What a customer likes one day they may hate the next (same with clients and designers). Therefore graphic design runs the gambit as well. Be opinionated, just try to avoid the arrogance. No one KNOWS everything.

    Trish

  10. I guess I’m alone in liking the new Walmart logo. Maybe in Canada, Walmart isn’t as popular therefore the logo change isnt as significant? I think modernizing it was necessary in the growth of the company. Times are changing, they have their new green campaign why not take it to the next level. I personally don’t see a big conflict in the merging of wal and mart, mostly cause I saw it that way anyways, the star (to me) didn’t seem like a break but rather a graphical additive. I also believe that the starburst is just their original star, modernized.

    all in all I understand that a logo change should be slow and under the radar (like Mcdonalds or Perrier) but this also has its benefits, it gets people talking about the company…there is a big unveiling, a big boom in business. time will only tell if it was a smart choice.

  11. Trish,

    I’m waiting to see how the new logo ties in with the brand before making a firm opinion, but it’s certainly less masculine than the old design, and the type adds more of a humane look. I’m not sure what to make of the starburst.

    Glad you enjoyed Jon’s explanation of the Hicks Design logo. He does some fantastic work, so it’s great to read his insight.

    Kristi-Lea,

    You’re right about the dramatic change benefits. The ‘big unveiling’ can attract a lot more attention. Thanks for commenting.

  12. David and all,

    try to look at ASDA logo as well (family of Walmart). Do you think they are going to redesign their logo too?

    » ASDA website

    Cheers

  13. Is it just me or are there a lot of “hand drawn” logos for countries. Why do you think that is? Maybe they want to be personable and they think that’s how to do it? It seems trendy, and a trend that died in the late 90′s at that! The Bahamas one appeals to me the most. It’s sophisticated with its sleek shapes, but still fun because of the colors. And I guess the U.S. doesn’t have a logo! I wonder what it would look like if it did…

    The new Walmart logo looks more like an energy company than a store. Maybe they are trying to be a little more warm and fuzzy because so many people don’t like them for muscling small mom-and-pop stores of out business? I don’t shop there unless I absolutely have to. But I think on the East Coast (US) they are more popular than here on the West Coast.

    That is quite a collection of bank logos. They didn’t have First Interstate, which is one I this is creative (or very many American banks for that matter).

    LaurenMarie – Creative Curio’s last blog post…Tutorials, Tips and Techniques for Photographing Fireworks and Light Painting

  14. It certainly fits that WalMart is attempting to change its image. They have taken a lot of hits on how they treat their employees, building stores on sacred/historical sites and undercutting. As for the burst (I can’t call it a star really), it seems a bit too much of a departure from what they had before.

    I believe the American Flag is USA’s logo. There is also the iconic Uncle Sam. Our country is so large and diverse, I can’t see anyone agreeing on a logo design, period. Besides, the government would probably make it a logo contest where the winner gets to put the winning design in their portfolio. Woo hoo.

    I noticed, too, there were very few American Banks in the bank logo collection. There were logos for European affiliates that differed from a little to a lot. Still cool. Love to see how logos differ from country to country even though the industry is the same.

    I too love the Bahamas’ logo best. I believe the stylized layout represents the islands themselves. I’ve been meaning to check a map to see.

    Trish

  15. Rafie,

    No idea about the ASDA logo, but as it bears a lot of resemblence to Walmart’s previous logo, it’s certainly a possibility.

    Lauren,

    I think you’re right about the hand-drawn style in the country logos. They all want to be seen as artistic, fresh, colourful etc. and ‘design by committee’ is a term that comes to mind for many of these ideas.

    The First Interstate bank logo reminds me of Formula 1, where the 1 is formed using negative space (similar to the I).

    Trish,

    We don’t hear a lot about Walmart’s working practices over here, so I was interested to read how they’ve taken a lot of hits over staff-treatment.

  16. It’s odd that most of the logos representing the various countries are so colorful and contain “handmade” elements. Wonder what the motivation for that practice is: copy-cat? approachability? fun? You’re probably right David, “Design by Committee!” Haha.

  17. It’s psychology. The logos are specifically for tourism. The psychology is you want to escape your predictable, ho-hum, drab, stressful, concrete, linear life. The logos not only show fun and approachability, but freedom from restraint, from self-imposed rules, from routine, even from control.

    Psychology is why fast food restaurant logos have similar color, design and feel. Same for sports logos, banks, etc. Industries by accident or purpose find a trend or design that works for them and stick with it. Those that follow ‘copy-cat’ what has proven to be a working concept.

    Trish

  18. Ever wonder why financial institutions don’t use monetary symbols in their logos? :-)

    Truth in advertising? I suppose we can’t get to literal, I’m just in a silly mood at the moment.

  19. Rudy,

    You’re spot on how we shouldn’t get too literal. If every financial institution was to use a monetary symbol, it would become very hard to differentiate.

  20. You know David, I think I will have to rescind my previous comment and say that I’m actually starting to like the new Walmart logo. After seeing the commercials incorporating the new design, it’s really beginning to grow on me.

  21. Hi Roberta. The store-fronts aren’t set to change until later this year. It’ll be interesting to see how they go down.

  22. Did anyone point out that the yellow burst in the new Walmart logo is a replacement for the smiley face sun they used to use in all their advertising? My husband made the connection. Now it seems so obvious to me I can’t believe I didn’t realize it straight off.

    Trish

  23. Trish,

    I never even made the connection. Thanks for pointing that out :)

  24. Trish,

    There’s little, if any, Walmart advertising here in the UK. At least I’ve not seen any yet. ASDA is the UK’s largest Walmart owned store, and as far as I know their ads don’t make reference to Walmart.


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