Here’re three negative space logos showing how to do it right and what to avoid.
How do you say “royal clothes” using the language of symbols? Abdallah Ahizoune, the designer behind this logo, depicted two long-sleeved shirts with their sleeves forming a negative crown.
Formally, this emblem does the job. And yet, would you choose it for your company?
We can see two problems. First, the shirts look absolutely plain (they could have been prisoners’ or medical patients’ shirts). Oh yes, we have the crown to convey the “royal” idea. It doesn’t help, though.
To begin with, the plain crown wouldn’t have been enough to make this logo look noble even if it had been in the positive space and you had been able to see it from the first glance. To make things worse, many customers won’t notice it at all (they don’t have enough time to scrutinize logos).
To sum up, the logo showcases either plain shirts (if you don’t see the crown) or the clothes for a mentally ill person thinking he’s a king and wearing a paper crown (if you happen to see it).
At this point, we come to the first rule concerning the use of negative space in best company logos. One layer of meaning should be enough for getting the main message. The second layer should be optional for understanding the logo (leave it for additional information about the brand).
In other words, avoid putting essential meaning in the negative part – most people will notice only what’s obvious.
Let’s compare the unlucky peacock with the FedEx logo, which is a classic example of a negative space logo. You don’t have to notice the arrow between the “E” and “X” to know what company the emblem belongs to. No wonder it has stood the test of the time. While FedEx has had quite a few ad campaigns since the introduction of this logo, the negative arrow has remained untouched.
First, you see a female face surrounded by curly hair. As soon as take a closer look, you notice her face also forms a white peacock, while the curly hair turns into the tail. According to Ryan Russell, who developed the logo, it was made for a jewelry boutique, which specialized in one-of-a-kind jewelry in Dallas, Texas.
While that’s an excellent example of using negative space, this logo has been criticized by designers claiming it was nothing but a “pooping peacock”, which didn’t present the company’s products in the best way possible. Or was it part of the brief?
Here comes the second rule: avoid any unwelcome message in the negative space.