The Power Of Negative Space In Logo Design

Jennifer Farley
Jennifer Farley

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.


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


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.

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