Five Favorite Logo Designs

Though graphic design was my full-time job for several years, I am not formally trained in the graphic arts. Laying out words and images and trying to make pages look pretty have been necessary tasks for various projects since my teenage zine-making days, and logo design was always a part of it.

From the classic work of Saul Bass and Paul Rand to the streetwise looks of Eric Haze and the dark sigils of Tom G. Warrior, I always marvel at a logo done well. Here are five of my recent favorites.

Baskin-Robbins is the largest ice-creamery chain in the world and they’ve been around since 1953. The Carson-Roberts advertising agency came up with BR’s famous “31 flavors” concept, which allowed an ice-cream consumer to have a different flavor every day of the month. The logo above with its hidden “31” was introduced in 2005 as part of a branding makeover.

The old iShares logo with the overlapping tiles forming the “i” has such a clear representation, such a simplicity. A design like this will catch you off guard, as this one did me.

The St. David’s Healthcare logo has a great merging of the medical cross, the Christian cross, and the “St.” It’s clever without being corny.

I love a solid ambigram, and while most of the good ones are very metal—all angles and spikes—Aeon-Lost managed to make this one for Clouds Collide look downright inviting.

Alex Trochut did the designs for Penguin’s Galaxy series of hardbacks, including William Gibson’s Neuromancer, Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness, and Frank Herbert’s Dune.

Trochut’s Dune logo is miraculous. Not only do all of the letters work as a 90-degree tilted version of the same U-shaped form, but the logo itself works when set on any side. Weirdly, this version appears on the back of the book. Why you would write the word “dune” any other way after seeing this is beyond me.

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