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Logo Design Simplicity & Legibility

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Posted 12th October 2011 at 04:38 PM by Daniel Evans
Updated 27th May 2019 at 12:24 PM by Daniel Evans

It’s often instinctive for a client to demand that their logo boast the bells and whistles – inclusive of an expansive colour scheme and a range of gradients or effects. What’s overlooked is the beauty of simplicity and above all, it’s legibility to be used across all forms of medium, which may, in some cases, require the logo to be composed in basic form and colour.


Businesses who trade offline require simplicity in their brand. Their brand needs to be so simple that it can be recognised and registered mentally by a mere glance from a passer by. It needs to be so simple that a person could doodle it within seconds from the memory they pull it from.


This isn’t to say that the designers job as as simple as a quick doodle. The most difficult task a designer faces is to make something simple – yet effective. Any talented designer can spend weeks developing an intricate illustration of a horse but the creative, simplistic designer might have to spend weeks thinking. There are literally hundreds are brands out there in the world that people have seen, registered and used, yet they have little concept of why the brands are working as effectively as they are on a subliminal level.









The Nike “Swoosh”
(developed in 1971 by Carolyn Davidson) functions brilliantly on so many levels which are only brought to the concious surface when we analyse. The Nike “Swoosh” can depict:



* A tick – An assurance of doing something correctly or making a positive decision.

* A speed trial of a person or object accelerating into the distance.

* A corner of a racetrack.


You wish wish to consider more, but those are the primary qualities of the logo which spring to my own mind when I “stop and look”. The peice serves as functional brilliance on the most basic of levels. The functionality of the mark stands so strong, coupled with the past / current strong marketing campaign, it can even stand prominently without the associated “NIKE” type. Through the means of brand association and a strong mark, the company has whittled away their design further and still it stands tall. In addition, the logo mark can be seen sported in a variety of colours and in some cases, even flipped to suit the flow of their footwear shape and it still doesn’t lose it’s identity!



“Simplicity is not the goal. It is the by-product of a good idea and modest expectations.”
–Paul Rand (August 15, 1914 – November 26, 1996)

“Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication. “
–Leonardo da Vinci (April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519)
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