PBS Off Book video

PBS Off Book and Digital Studios have released this nifty video that takes a look at the art of logo design, detailing the history of logos and taking a look at various brands and identities, famous and non. If you’re a designer, or a potential client, worth the six minute time investment.

“Logos surround us in digital and physical space, but we rarely examine the thought and artistic thinking that goes into the design of these symbols. Utilizing a silent vocabulary of colors, shapes, and typography, logo designers give a visual identity to companies and organizations of all types. From cave painters to modern designers, artists throughout history have been reducing the complex down to simple ideas that communicate with the world.”

I rattled off some quick jot notes while I watched the video:

  • Logos can be traced back to antiquity, coats of arms and shields. They were pictorial depictions to get around illiteracy of the majority.
  • Logos were first used to depict the goods, services and expertise of merchants.
  • Logo designers need to have a sense of the “personality” of the company depicted.
  • A logo is a “mask” that “stands in for who you are.”
  • A great logo is memorable, simple and appropriate to the brand.
  • It has to “look the same in every situation.”
  • In today’s media landscape, logos need to work small (16 x 16 pixels) and large (billboards & signage.)
  • The most memorable logos are “off balance” and featured oddities to “burn into your mind.”
  • A logo builds “equity” and “recognition” over time.
  • A decent explanation of “timelessness” and how “cliched” can also be “appropriate.”
  • How changing a logo isn’t usually a good idea (until it is.)
  • A logo doesn’t have to explain “everything” about a company but should be interesting.

Nothing terribly earth-shattering but certainly nice to have this info packed into a six minute video, rather than on dozens of web pages you have to scour through (see our Logo Design Help section for said scouring.) If I had one quibble about the production, it would be the actual logo for the video itself. Doesn’t quite uphold the principles that come after it (yeah, I’m nit-picking.)

[via PBS]