At first glance most logos look very simple.
This can be a quality or a problem. Albert Einstein once said that “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler”. This is one of my favorite quotes and it certainly applies when designing a logo. Meaningful simplicity is a prime quality.

A logo can be visual poetry or visual confusion depending on how well it communicates its’ intended message. Maybe it should communicate power, speed, lightness or purity. Maybe it should reference a place, a time, or a process. Maybe it should express a feeling.

Designing a logo that expresses the intended messages is difficult. When you add the requirement that a logo has to be “unique (it has to stand alone and recognized, it has to be different than other logos to be registered as a trademark), designing a logo can sometimes seem impossible.

If you think that simple geometric forms have all been used up and ordinary images are too common I suggest an approach that has been helpful for me. Combine two ordinary images in a way that adds up to something new. 1 + 1 = 3 (one ordinary image + another ordinary image = a third image which is a unique image).


One of my favorite experiences using this approach was designing the logo for
Channel 5, WCVB-TV in Boston. The final logo is a combination of two common images, the number 5 and the directional arrow.  By curving the arrow into a circular form to define the inner space of the 5, strength and movement are suggested and a unique logo is formed.

A designer called me who had worked ten years for Channel 5. He said he became so familiar with the design that he could make an accurate outline drawing of the 5 logo with his eyes closed and without taking his pencil off the paper.

– Lance Wyman

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