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What is an abstract logo?

In the past, logo designs tended to be quite literal and brands typically would showcase what they did or sold in a very illustrative way. But that design style of logo is slowly starting to die out although there are and always will be instances when an illustrative and literal logo would suit the brand perfectly.

The reason for that is the nature of branding itself. Creating a primary logo design for a brand is all about the message it needs to communicate to the target audience and create a connection. So, if the brand strategy dictates that a literal symbol, an elegant logo, or illustration would create that connection with the target audience then that is how the logo should be designed.

The polar opposite of a literal logo is an abstract logo.

An abstract logo is a logo design that communicates its message through an abstract design that takes effort to understand and decipher. It is a design style that takes a literal object or idea and then turns it into an abstract representation.

A simple example would be an icon of a hand. An illustrative logo may have a design that looks like a hand and can be recognized right away that it is a hand. An abstract representation of that hand could be a star-like design with five pointy appendages radiating from the center which represents the hand.

Why you may ask!

In this article, we look at the abstract style of logo design and why it is used in branding. We are going to look at the different styles of abstract logos by analyzing a few logos that we created for our clients.

Abstract logos with line art

Abstract logos with line art are the most common and also the most effective. Through simple line art, a designer can express qualities such as simplicity, friendliness, quality, and more.

abstract logo style lines

Chinese Footwear Brand Identity by Spellbrand

In the above logo design that we created for a client of ours – a Chinese footwear brand identity, the idea was to represent the outdoors as the client manufactured and sold kickass outdoor shoes and boots.

The target audience is people who love the outdoors and activities such as hiking, camping, trekking, mountain climbing, kayaking, and more. To communicate the outdoors, we would normally have opted for an emblematic logo that showed illustrations of the mountains, trees, a river, and other such design elements.

However, the biggest requirement of this client was that the logo had to go on their shoes and therefore had to be compact and simple. The solution is an abstract design style using lines to simply represent mountains. The star you see is the person wearing that shoe and looking up at the mountains ready to get started on their adventure!

Now that is a story being told by a couple of wavy lines and an asterisk!

Abstract logos with icons

Abstract logos with icons are found everywhere and are the most popular as they try and show a message or idea in a single and usually simple icon. Great examples are logo designs for Apple, and Twitter.

abstract icon logo style

Music Company Brand Identity by Spellbrand

When Kinnison came to Spellbrand to help their music company rebrand and to transition them from small-time to global growth, we chose an iconic abstract logo to represent the true essence of the brand.

Launched by the husband and wife duo, the business started out by selling choral sheets locally to their community, friends, and associates. In a year, the business grew to an online store and hundreds of sales of their choral sheets around the United States.

Although the brand was growing, the core brand essence of the husband and wife and each of their skillset coming together to form their product and service and this what we focused on when we created this beautiful icon of two birds singing.

Abstract logos with Negative space

Negative space is a great design tool that, if executed properly, can create stunning logos and create that wow factor. But to create a negative space logo design takes a lot of creativity, experience, and boldness.

abstract logo negative space design

Aviation Company Brand Identity by Spellbrand

The negative space challenge goes to the next level when the abstract factor is introduced into the equation but can lead to a really elegant solution that is abstract as well as creative.

In the design above that, we created for one of our clients, a Germany based Aviation firm, we brought together three distinct elements of their service – the world, an aeroplane and the points of compass and created a dynamic logo using negative space to convert the message.

However, creating negative spaces in logos has to be thought out carefully and great care must be taken to ensure the logo symbol is legible at all sizes.

Abstract logos with abstract symbols

Using abstract symbols in logo designs is actually a time tested trope and was quite prevalent in the 80s and 90s but fell out of favour. However, it is making a comeback and for good reason.

abstract symbol based logo

Software Company Brand Identity by Spellbrand

When Process Fusion, a software company wanted a kick-ass logo design, they came to Spellbrand. They wanted a logo design and brand identity that conveyed digital transformation and the limitless potential of their service.

We decided to go with an abstract symbol of the idea of infinity to convey exactly that. The result was a beautiful logo that has many layers of meaning and works elegantly to make the brand stand out while being simple and classy.

Abstract logos based on letters

Creating abstract logos using one or more letters as the base of the design is quite a rare design style and not many brands can pull it off. But when they do, the result is a beautiful logo that is tied to the brand name closely.

jeddah brand identity

Jeddah Brand Identity by Spellbrand

For a Saudi Arabia, Jeddah based luxury apartment developer, we created an awesome abstract logo design based on the first letter of their brand name as well as created a shape that echoed the very structure of the building they constructed.

The L shaped icon we created reflects the brand name and the different lines echo the floors and shape of the building to create a sense of connection with the luxury apartment. When audience encounter this logo and then see the building there would be no question in their minds as to how they are related to each other!

There are tons of other abstract logo design styles and we will be updating this page frequently to reflect newer design strategies. If you have any questions about this design style simply reach out to us.

Mash Bonigala

Mash B. is the Founder & CEO of SpellBrand. Since 1998, Mash has helped conscious brands differentiate themselves and AWAKEN through Brand Strategy and Brand Identity Design. Schedule a Brand Strategy Video Call with Mash.