As designers who specialize in corporate identity, we have seen many clients who are in need of a professional logo design and feel that having everything including the kitchen sink in their design is the best value for their money. It seems quite reasonable from the point of view of the client that getting a highly detail illustration seems as though it would be worth more than a minimalist design. But quite often the end result can see be very little return on investment. From the designer’s perspective the minimalist design style is often the most impactive and best designed corporate identity around. In the business world that is full of over the top logos, designs with the most simple and effective designs often stand out the most.
Andrew Belson is an arboricultral marketing consultant that came to us looking for a very modern and sleek design that would separate himself and his business from the competition. Tired of seeing the standard tree and landscape designs, Andrew needed something distinctive that still conveyed the field and industry he worked in. What we created was a very polished minimalist design of an over simplified tree leaf. Using very few details it was important to arrange the elements in such a way as to create the most expressive use for the icon. Simple gradients were added to create a basic form and dimension while keeping the overall design very modern and professional. The unique layout also helped to separate himself from the standard horizontal layout of his competitors.
Our client, CueRate needed a design that reflected the feeling of a modern art gallery. Using simple shapes to create some kind of abstract pop-art look, a muted color palette was utilized to create a graphic reminiscent of the kind of style seen in the modern contemporary art world. The colors in the circles were offset on purpose to help create the illusion that the logo had been printed using older lithographic printing press. This helped create a kind of retro and nostalgic look. Quite often the style associated with minimalist design utilizes a very clean sans-serif typeface. As a side note, many people don’t realize that a lot of the fonts used today that are associated with the modern and futuristic style have been around for nearly a century and remain just as effective now as they did in the 1920’s.
Many times, a minimalist logo will lend itself to very square geometric designs. By combining even the most basic geometric elements many different design can be created. For James Lambert Architects a minimalist icon based on the initials “J” & “L” was created using these basic geometric shapes. The overall design not only conveys the initials in a unique and symmetrical way, but also carries the architectural theme across in a very effective and meaningful way. By combining a soft grey color with bright accent the design also uses the color palette to helped convey the modern design style.
Using a similar style, the design for Xoom consulting also utilizes simple geometric elements in a unique and distinctive way. Using a hexagon as the foundation, a dimensional cube was created by joining the letters. In a creative twist, the initial “X” was cleverly hidden into the minimalist icon as well. Three brightly colored squares were then added behind to the icon to give the image more visual impact. The end result is well constructed design using very few, but well placed elements to create an identity that is both memorable and effective.
Often the most effective minimalist designs are so simple that they become much more distinctive because of their simplicity. For out client Device Analytics, this was accomplished by utilizing a simple circular shape with unique letter shape of the initial “D”. The overall design may be a simple concept, but to the clients market it can express all the right ideas and feelings. The clean style reflects a polished and established company that is at the forefront of their industry. Minimalist design are also used more often then not by the very largest companies in a given industry. By utilizing the same modern design appeal you are telling your market that you are just and confident and able as those at the top. It’s not so much as copying a design style as it is dressing the part as an industry leader.
For our client EVO Electric, utilizing a minimalist design was necessary to enter their chosen market. Doing their own research first, they too noticed that the more successful competitors also used a modern, minimalist design approach and that companies with cliche icons and elaborate illustrations were often viewed as small “mom and pop” companies. Rather then focus on using a simple design to go with the name, the simplicity of this design is integrated with the name. The elliptical shape that sits behind the letters in EVO uses an asymmetrical shape to help convey a sense of energy and motion while maintaining an overall minimalist appearance. The overall design successfully matches with their top competitors. By knowing ahead of time what their market visually associated with as the best, they have the ability to enter the market with the best and allow their business to further its success. Here is another example of one of our clients, an electric company, that has a modern and minimalistic brand identity that looks awesome!
Initials tend to work very well for minimalist icons. The letters have a close relationship with the name and give the viewer something interesting to associated visually with the company. On a side note using literal images can work against the corporate identity. They can pigeonhole a company into the present, which becomes the past very quickly. They can also look cheap and come across as clip-art depending on your market. A good example of this would be cell phones. A successful cellular telephone company is more then likely not to create a logo using the image of a cell phone because the shape and style of the product changes every three months and can seem out dated after six months in business. The “initial” however, is as timeless as the company name and will always be unique and customized because of the relevance to the name.
Flemington Consulting came to us looking for a logo that would look as good in 10 years as it would today. Using the initial seemed like the right choice because as long as the company was called Flemington the icon would be effective. Rather then follow the standard square shape of the letter “F” we experimented with using circular shapes to help create a unique image. By using the quarter of a circle we were able to create the side and top of the letter another circle was utilized to create the cross bar. The icon was then laid out into a square block to give it a bit more structure and also help to convey more of a corporate style. The end design is a very crisp identity that captures all the qualities the client was seeking while at the same time being very simple and versatile.
A very similar style and theme was also utilized for our client GRASTA. The idea of creating a custom initial was also ideal for this project and the minimalist design style really helped create a very sleek and modern identity. Using the circle as the background for the “G” also acted a way to help the viewer form the initials. Separating the parts in various bright colors added a unique and distinctive feeling and mixed quite well with the polished silver text. Besides being a good representation of modern style, minimalist designs are also the most practical and versatile logos. More often than not, these designs work well as great stand alone icons. As watermarks, embossed, engraved and embroidered image they can really maximize the usage of corporate identity. The most effective brands become recognizable symbols that people associate with the company, field, and industry and minimalist design are very effective in creating that image.