The Power Of Negative Space In Logo Design

The logo designer’s job is, amongst other things, to create attractive eye-catching logos. This is achieved using a variety of design elements and concepts. Some designers have a wonderful skill for using negative space to create clever and memorable logos. Often the negative space part of the logo may initially appear to be hidden but on closer inspection will reveal an icon or message. Once noticed, the formerly hidden element then becomes the most obvious part of the logo design, raising a smile or nod of acknowledgement. Negative space gives the viewer’s eye a place to rest.

What Exactly Is Negative Space?

Negative space is the empty space around and between the subject of an image. For example, in a two-tone black-and-white image, a subject is normally depicted in black and the space around it is left blank (white), creating a silhouette. If you reverse the colors so that the space around the subject is black and the subject itself is left blank, the negative space forms a shape around the subject. Negative space can be used to depict a subject in a chosen medium by showing everything around the subject but not the subject itself.

A well documented example of negative space in logo design is the hidden arrow between the letters E and X in the FedEx logo.

FexEx

One of my favorite illustrators, Noma Bar has amazing skill when it comes to creating outstanding work using negative space.

Noma-Bar_Shakespear

Noma_Bar_Spock_cover

How To Use Negative Space In Logo Design

Looking at the work of Noma Bar, I think you’ll agree it’s not as simple as it looks. As with any type of logo design, sketching and experimentation are imperative.

Here’s some tips to consider when creating a logo with negative space as a major design element.

  • Simple is best. Keep the icon or symbol simple so as to avoid confusing the viewer. Remember the trick in the FedEx logo is a simple hidden arrow.
  • The negative space does not have to be white (or black).
  • If the logo consists mainly of text, try adding a shape behind the text and reversing the colors.
  • Placing two symmetrical shapes in close proximity can produce a full image in the negative space in-between.

And now for your viewing pleasure, here’s a small collection of logos which are using the negative space in a clever and artistic fashion to create visually appealing logos.

JupiterRidingClub

Royaltheater

PortraitPhotos

guild-food-writers-logo

human

zip

YogaAustralia

What do you think of these negative space logos? Is this a design element you’ve employed in your own design work?

Free book: Jump Start HTML5 Basics

Grab a free copy of one our latest ebooks! Packed with hints and tips on HTML5's most powerful new features.

  • http://twitter.com/sfaisalalim Faisal Alim

    Right on time – yesterday only I just create a combination of N & S letter… wish I could share :( … but I wasn’t aware of what do u call this type of logo design…

    Thanks a lot :)}

  • Anonymous

    Lovely, intelligent design. [Beware of the trekkies, though; the Spock/Vulcan hand should be a right hand not a left!]

  • http://twitter.com/helennatasha Helen Natasha Moore

    Superb example logos here. Really lovely, thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/bosskax bosskax

    inspirational and nice

  • http://twitter.com/WebDesignKC Web Design KC

    Lovely logos, gotta work that negative space – Simple is best

  • http://twitter.com/mistercorso Mister Corso

    The Yoga logo is a neat effect: the figure spells out both a “Y” (yoga) and a tilting “A” (Australia). Simple and inspired.

    • justine

      i thought there was a silhouette of australia formed by her leg and arm…

      • Xplosiv

        There is. Mister Corso just trying to be too clever.

  • http://twitter.com/Ken_Vsky Ken Vermeille

    I’ve never seen the arrow in the FedEx logo, but like they say once you see it, you cant unsee it.

  • geof

    very nice