One of the great ways to add an impressive style to a logo is to use Negative Space. Negative Space refers to the “white space”, or “paper colour” that shows through a design. Negative Space creates an interesting visual effect. It adds a subtle 3rd dimension, giving depth and a layered look to the logo. It is much more interesting to the eye than just a “positive” only object.
By breaking up areas of solid colour with negative, or white spaces a designer can ‘hide’ images, outline typography or create the illusion of shapes and objects.
This post brings together 30 examples of logos that creatively make use of negative space.
1. Kolner Zoo
The zoological gardens in Cologne are notable for their Asian elephant park, reflected in the logo with an elephant’s silhouette defined by a giraffe and rhinoceros; the negative space of the animal’s hind legs are cleverly shaped by the twin spires of Cologne Cathedral.
2. Guild of Food Writers
The Guild of Food Writer’s logo is a wonderfully simple design incorporating the essential aspects of the organisation: the nib of a pen representing members’ scriptural endeavours with a spoon in the negative space signalling their subject matter. The guild is a professional association linking food writers and broadcasters in the United Kingdom.
3. Wooden House
This logo is for a brand that designs and constructs wooden cottages for gardens. The clean, positive and negative forms create the house and tree shapes.
4. Egg ‘n Spoon
This logo for a courier service has the tag line, ‘Speed with Care’, the egg and spoon design acting as a metaphor of this ambition.
Adobe is a brand synonymous with cutting-edge design software, so it is essential that the company has an instantly recognisable and superbly designed logo. Marva Warnock, wife of one of the company’s founders, designed the original logo, which has evolved into the current negative space letter A on a red background.
6. The Brand Union
Brand Union is another company whose branding is essential in maintaining its image as a global leader in creative design consultancy. The Union’s logo is a beautiful example of negative space typography; the black and blue shapes can be rearranged whilst remaining visually linked to the brand.
7. Fedex Corp.
International logistics company FedEx uses a wordmark logo in which the ‘Fed’ is always purple and the ‘Ex’ is a different colour for each of the service’s divisional units, and grey for overall corporate use. The logo has a ‘hidden’ arrow shape in the negative space between the letters E and X, representing travel and freight.
Carrefour is a French worldwide hypermarket chain whose trading logo contains a negative space letter C.
9. The Royal Parks
The Royal Parks is an agency that manages the eight Royal Parks of London and other areas of parkland and gardens around the city. The company’s role in natural management and conversation, and links to monarchical history, are reflected in its logo, with the negative space between leaf forms tracing the shape of a crown.
10. Girl Scouts of USA
Saul Bass was one of the greatest graphic designers of the 20th Century, also famed for his film title animations. In 1978, he created the logo for the Girl Scouts of USA, with girls’ profiles shaped in green forms and negative spaces.
11. Hartford Whalers
The Hartford Whalers were a professional American ice hockey team based in Connecticut. Graphic designer Peter Good, also from Connecticut, created their logo in 1979, cleverly combining a whale tail and the team’s initials, with the letter H formed in the negative space.
12. Animal Rescue Sofia
Animal Rescue Sofia is a charity founded with the aim of saving and caring for homeless animals around the Bulgarian capital, with particular focus on the problem of stray dogs. The organisation’s charming logo combines a dog’s face and a carer’s hand forming a heart shape.
13. Microsoft Mouse Awards
The rather lengthily titled Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions Creative Awards were re-branded as Mouse, with a splendidly executed logo that has instant associations with digital design.
Designers Chermayeff and Geismar created NBC’s current logo in 1986, as part of the broadcaster’s 60th anniversary celebrations. The peacock has six tail feathers in the primary and secondary colours, and a simple triangle of negative space creating the beak, and thus the bird, in one of the world’s most recognisable trademarks.
15. USA Network
USA Network is a cable network owned by NBC, which also has a strong brand represented by its logo. The letter S is formed from the negative space between the U and A.
16. Ryan Biggs
Ryan-Biggs Associates is an American structural engineering consultancy. The company’s elegant letterform logo uses negative space to shape the initials.
17. Formula 1
The logo of the Formula One World Championships employs a letter F and dynamic arrow forms to envelop the negative shape of the numeral 1.
18. Keep Open
KeepOpen.com is a web hosting and content management company, offering a platform for those without web design skills to publish their sites. The company’s logo uses elegant geometric forms to conjure an open book or folio in negative space.
19. Galant Shoes
Bulgarian shoe manufacturer Galant has a logo with a circular black crescent and stiletto silhouette creating a strong capital G in negative space.
20. 1234 Club
The 1234 Club in Montreal uses a stylish numeral-form logo with negative space numbers. The club’s branding uses the logo in a number of different colour schemes, but always using the boldly designed numeric shapes.
21. Fat Cat Productions
This logo is clearly an example of brilliant typography rather than negative space utilization but however I think the designer has beautifully used the shape of the fish by warping the alphabets
23. My Fonts
At first glance, it may look not so impressive, but if you observe, the letters ‘My’ shows a Human Hand.
I don’t think I need to explain what this logos means.
25. E.C. Engineering
This logo symbolizes the rudimentary tool used in Engineering studies, more of civil engineering than anything else. A clever use of negative space to depict a spanner
26. ED’s Electric
ED’s Electric Company’s logo is a mixture of the letters E and D to give the illusion of a Power Plug
27. Treacy’s Shoes
The hidden shoe cleverly hidden between the company initials conveys the company message in a very stylish and interesting way
28. Mouse Universe
The Mouse has been designed in such a way that the letters M and U are creating a boundary. This may not be a perfect usage of negative space but it surely adds up to the design
The two arrows signify the meaning of the name ‘DOWN’ and also uses the negative space to hide the letter ‘W’.
30. Black Cat
The negative space letter ‘C’ in both the words have been used to show the eyes of a cat.
As can be seen from these examples, creative use of negative space in graphics is one of the best ways to produce eye-catching, memorable and inventive logo designs. So, which caught your eye the most. Feel free to share any more such logos with me.