Kent State University Golden Flashes

Originally known as the Silver Foxes, influenced by the Kent State University president's raising of the breed on his farm, the name was later changed to the Golden Flashes after a college-wide team naming contest following the controversial firing of the president in 1926. The mark plays on the idea of a diving golden eagle (which can reach speeds of up to 150 miles/hour), to create a wholly original and expressive identity - an important ingredient in generating fan enthusiasm and team support.

 

American Heart Association

The American Heart Association logo is a classic, using a burning torch against the backdrop of a heart as symbol of its ongoing fight against heart disease which claims more lives in the United States than other disease.

 

Mikes Pies

Named for its founder, Mike Martin, a former linebacker for the NFL's Chicago Bears, the logo of Mike's Pies is simple, friendly and distinct, and although not particularly inspiring, it is effective in drawing on the strength of its celebrity association by name and its standard bearing Key Lime Pie by graphic. While its emphasis on the lime is appropriate considering its history and award winning status, it may be a hindrance to its efforts to be known for its other pie and cheesecake offerings.

 

Benny Gold

Reflecting visually with whimsy his design company's founding philosophy about chasing dreams, flying solo and living free, first expressed on a "Stay Gold" sticker posted around the city of San Francisco, the logo of Benny Gold acts also to showcase and exemplifies his design talents and sensibilities.

 

Walden Media

Evoking the excitement and wonder of youth, Walden Media uses a symbol of childhood - skimming pebbles across the surface of a lake - as an expression of its mission to produce family entertainment, while cleverly hiding it's initial in the motion trails.

 

YesterdaysClues.com

Although logos should typically be as versatile as possible by shying away from a dependence on multiple colors, gradients and intricate details, those which exist solely in the digital realm tend to be afforded greater leniency. The mark of blog, YesterdaysClues.com is a case in point, whose photo realism and vintage style vividly compliments its content which showcases and examines photos, postcards, books, magazines and advertising from the late 19th and early 20th centuries for fascinating clues to unlock the past. [Also see, alternate versions.]

Credit: Elevation 7

 

AbeBooks.com

Online book exchange, AbeBooks.com (formerly Advanced Book Exchange) which acts as a "liaison between booksellers and book seekers" is represented by a unique, creative icon that doubles as both a book with a ribboned bookmark and a bird in flight as a visual metaphor representing its mission to connect buyers with sellers.

 

Evernote

Playing on the legendary perpetual memory of elephants, the logo of Evernote, the web-based note taking and organizing service uses a stylized elephant whose dog-eared ear mimics its paper bookmarking counterpart.

 

Ivanka Trump

Sophisticated and stylish, the logo representing the fashion label of Donald Trump progeny, Ivanka, reflects the upmarket, fashion conscious audience to whom its products are targeted. The restrained uppercase serif typography anchors the mark and sets the tone and context in which the stylized monogram conveys luxury rather than frivolity which it would risk doing in isolation.

 

Ryerson Rams

Because visual identities don't exist simply as self aggrandizing monuments to an artist's artistic talent, logo design, particularly athletic logo design should be concerned not simply with looking good on paper or screen, but working well in different sizes and on different mediums. The logo of Canada based Ryerson Rams is such a mark which is expressively and skillfully crafted with a single color and simple lines in such a way that it looks great and works practically on everything from ink on paper to embroidery on fabric.

 

Lake Erie Monsters

Minor league sports teams possess greater freedom (usually because they're not weighed down by a long history and legacy) to adopt more novel, creative identities which tend to generate greater fan enthusiasm and loyalty. In fact, the more successful teams tend to see this freedom almost as a mandate to move in this direction, distinguishing themselves from the often disposable, dime-a-dozen competition whose unique selling point is largely geographical. Paying homage to the area's fabled Loch Ness Monster equivalent, the American Hockey League's Lake Erie Monsters is such a team, with an identity whose fun, novel, geographically appropriate concept is done justice with a skillful execution.

 

Binghamton Senators

Inheriting the DNA of its NHL affiliate team, the Ottawa Senators, the logo of the American Hockey League's Binghamton Senators is arguably the perfect minor league logo, reflecting its older cousin's likeness and genetics while sporting its own fun, youthful personality. Its ties to the storied Ottawa hockey franchise afford the team credibility and gravtias, while its caricatured mascot, reminiscent of Asterix characters, plays to the strength of minor league sports which tend to emphasize fun and entertainment over pure competition. Beautifully and expressively illustrated, this mark sets a very high watermark and casts a long shadow over its competition.

 

Three Thieves

The Cooking Channel's Three Thieves show, follows a gang of three "regular guy" wine enthusiasts as they traverse the globe looking both to change the way that the American public thinks about wine and looking for quality wines to bottle and sell for a "steal" under their own label. This unique and fun concept is matched by a complimentary logo which expresses appropriately, if a little cryptically, the identity of the group and its exploits.

 

Wingnuts

Tapping into the vintage stunt flying theme with a double entendre referring both to an aerial stuntman and a chicken wing enthusiast, the logo of California based restaurant and bar, Wingnuts, is clever, unique, balanced and beautifully illustrated. The mark clearly paints the Wingnuts dining experience as casual and fun, and is testament that the company understands the importance of a visual identity in creating an effective impression.

 

Out of Print

Mimicking the retro style of yesteryear to reflect the classic vintage book cover designs adorning its t-shirts, the logo of Out of Print is a round rubber stamp imprint whose highest use coincided with the golden age of ribbon typewriters. Appropriate not just in style, but also in substance, the name is a play on the words of a book classification or notification, something with which rubber stamp imprints are commonly associated. The irony is that the appropriateness of its mark can also cut the other way as a weakness because although as a name, "Out of Print" is distinct and unique, as a statement it is generic. This potential weakness, though is offset by the context in which its names appears, a good example being its website address, outofprintclothing.com, which clearly describes its mission.

 

City Of Lawrence, Kansas

In 1863, Lawrence being a strongly pro-abolitionist city in "free-state" Kansas, attracted the ire of pro-slavery raiders from neighboring Missouri headed by William Quantrill whose group conducted a massacre of some 180 men and boys, reducing the city to smoldering ruins. Banding together to re-open its stores and businesses and aided by the arrival of the railroad, Lawrence, Kansas rose from the ashes to become what today is recognized as both one of America's best college towns and best places to retire. Adopting the mythical phoenix as a visual expression of the city's motto, "From Ashes to Immortality", the logo of Lawrence, Kansas is a beautifully crafted mark which is both distinct and historically appropriate.

Credit: Flory Design

 

Gateway

Gateway's early success in selling computers directly to consumers was attributed in some degree to its creative marketing efforts, most famously tapping into its rural American ties by shipping its computers out in cow-spotted boxes. Officially adopting the cow-spotted box as its logo in 1998 the company's mark presented the company as friendly and approachable in a technology field which was commonly seen as complicated and intimidating. Although the hand drawn nature of the icon and the soft serif typography have since been refined to look more serious, the logo's metaphorical juxtaposition was a fresh, clever, effective concept which earned the company a powerful voice.

 

Inventionland

Combining a light bulb and gear wheel, the symbols of ideas and innovation, Inventionland's logo clearly expresses its purpose as an ideas lab with a mark that, although fairly obvious in concept, is sharp in execution.

 

New South Wales Waratahs

Tightly integrating a rugby ball into the state's floral emblem, Australia's New South Wales Waratah's logo is restrained in concept but fresh in execution, treading well the line between tradition and innovation. Not only this, but the stylized waratah is a creative and appropriate metaphoric emblem for the state's rugby team, executed in a skillful manner worthy of the team it represents.

 

Arizona Diamondbacks, Alternate

The trade-off between using a monogram and a graphic is often a choice between being descriptive (usually geographically, see the New York Yankees monogram) and expressing personality (see Baltimore Oreoles). What the Arizona Diamondbacks logo achieves is both with its D-shaped snake (diamondback), whose creativity and expression breathes personality and life into the team's identity, something for which the league's logos are not typically known.

 

Cannes Film Festival

Widely considered the most prestigious film festival in the world, the Cannes Film Festival, named after its coastal French host city, uses a stylized olive branch to emphasizes both its association with the Mediterranean coast - an area where olive trees are ubiquitous - and with excellence - from which laurel wreaths are commonly made. Used as a type of quality seal, the hand drawn style of the olive branch juxtaposed with both its oval frame and the capitalized serif word mark presents an image that is artistic but serious.

 

Jeep

In employing the distinctive, iconic grill of its flagship vehicle in combination with its strong, single syllable name, Jeep uses two of its most valuable identity assets to great effect in creating a logo which is both practical because of its simplicity and evocative because of its color and imagery.

 

Oxford University Press

For a brand with a strong name and significant name recognition, a graphical icon tends weaken the logo by distracting from and competing against it for attention [see Xerox, Wacom]. Oxford University Press plays to its name's strength by emphasizing its scholarly, academic Oxford University association with a customized word mark which fuses some of its letters together to infuse interest, uniqueness and personality to a logo which could easily be boring and disposable.

 

Pinkberry

Pinkberry's logo adopts a simple, minimal style popularly associated with the trendy and upmarket, in a move which clearly portrays its frozen product not as mere yogurt, but a luxury dessert experience.

The company's arrival turned the frozen yogurt world on its head by offering a limited set of unique flavor selections at premium prices, immediately casting its delicacies, not as something sweet for the masses, but something luxurious for the discerning.

Adopting the fictional "pinkberry" fruit as a symbol of its unusual fruit flavors, it became a trailblazer and standard bearer in the premium desserts market, aided by a mark which is a rich visual metaphor for its identity.

Credit: Ferro Concrete

 

Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs

As a testament to the area's rich steel history, Minor League Baseball's Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs are named after raw steel, known colloquially as "pig iron". Quite apart from its practical strengths - simple lines, basic color palette and balanced proportions - the logo is a wonderful visual interpretation of the team's identity which has been resoundingly endorsed as evidenced by the team's strong merchandise sales.

Credit: Plan B. Branding

 

Bradbury

Proudly adorning the top of Bradbury's single letter monogram is a quintessentially British lion styled in the tradition of those found on coats of arms, symbolizing the sport's heritage and class. Shunning the flashier graphics adopted by its counterparts, the irony is that Bradbury's logo stands out for its restraint, appropriately reflecting the quality and craftsmanship for which the cricket bat manufacturer is renowned.

 

Joliet Slammers

Minor League Baseball carries a tradition of novel team identities and the Joliet Slammers are no exception owing to their logo's visual interpretation of a clever word play on the term "slammers", both a slang reference to a prison and a noun for someone who hits bases loaded home runs.

Depicting a baseball diamond in a prison yard surrounded by barbed wire topped walls overlooked by a guard tower, the logo is vividly illustrated in a symmetrical fashion, interweaving the team's name neatly like a jigsaw puzzle. Compounding the rhetorical double entendre, the team's mascot is a black crow nicknamed, J. Bird from the colloquial term referring to prisoners as jailbirds.

Although the area is well known for its proximity to a couple of large penitentiaries, the risk of its convict association being considered a little unsavory seems to be fairly well neutralized by the logo's cartoonish rendering.

[Also see, alternate versions.]

Credit: Studio Simon

 

Hangar 24 Brewery

The logo of Redlands, California based brewery, Hangar 24, which is located in an old War War 2 era building, channels the founder's enthusiasm for vintage aircraft with a nod to the romanticism associated with the Golden Age of Aviation. The brand hitches a ride on the coat tails of early 20th century nostalgia and in so doing clearly defines itself as an unique, authentic, hand-crafted brew on a shelf awash with synthetic competitors. [Also see, alternate versions.]

Credit: The Brandit

 

Veggie Art

The logo of Veggy Art is an elegant graphical metaphor for its very name and function. In a style mimicking its own artistic sensibilities, the mark is constructed from the company's two carefully sculpted initials designed to mimic its appetizing centerpieces and garnishes which are made entirely from fresh fruit and vegetables. For a company billing its business as fashion from food, its logo certainly reflects this with clarity and style.

 

Hero Insurance Services

The logo of now merged insurance company, Hero Insurance Services, featured an anonymous, generic superhero which positioned the company as a trusted and able ally in a world of figurative villains. Suave, novel and confident, its mascot portrays the company as a tenant on the simple, friendly and fun side of the insurance industry town, which as a whole is often associated with stuffiness and complicated bureaucracy. Although this image carries a possible negative connotation for those comforted by the stability and dependability also associated with older institutions, its positioning through this mark likely attracted the business of a younger audience and earned the company the opportunity to prove itself more than a pretty face; to prove that although the company doesn't take itself too seriously, it does its customers and their needs.

 

Knight Transportation

The logo of Knight Transportation, whose presence on American freeways is ubiquitous, is a well crafted mark which creatively embeds the heads of both a medieval knight and his horse in the negative and positive space of its single letter monogram. Amidst the mass of poor competitors' logos, Knight Transportation's mark lends credibility and professionalism to the company and its operations.

Credit: Summation

 

Home Away (HomeAway.com)

Vacation rentals website, HomeAway.com, uses a birdhouse to good effect as a visual expression of its competitive advantage in the accommodation industry by reflecting its rhetorical allusion to "a home away from home". The novel graphical approach with its subtle association to a chirping bird, emphasizes the personal, homely nature of the home rental experience in contrast to the traditional big box hotel experience, often summed up by comparing a house to a home.

 

Olive Media

The challenge for branding firms like Olive Media is that their own logos are an explicit expression of their own expertise, an advertisement for their own services. In this case, the company's fresh, quirky name appropriately reflects the creative nature of its business while its graphical counterpart, an olive embedded in the negative space of its single letter monogram, is both appropriate and clever enough to prove that the company can be trusted with the brands of others.

 

Loyola University Greyhounds

The Loyola University Greyhounds' skillfully composed mascot counter-balanced with slanting text is a good example of two asymmetrical parts combining to produce a symmetrical whole which is both visually interesting and visually pleasing. The depiction of its greyhound, whose artistic quality is self evident, is an appropriately dynamic symbol for the institution's athletic team.

 

Bradenton Marauders

Structurally symmetrical and thematically expressive, the logo of Minor League Baseball's Bradenton Marauders is beautifully illustrated, integrating its pirate mascot into a broader elegant style associated with the romanticized 17th and 18th century Golden Age of "marauding" pirates. Every element, from its typography to its decorative swirls, combine to produce a cohesive expression of the team's novel identity.

Credit: Studio Simon

 

The Rancon Group

The logo of real estate and financial services company, The Rancon Group, evokes wisdom and confidence by embedding a silhouette of the knightly chess piece, as a symbol of strategy, in the negative space of its capital R. In what is an enigmatic field to many, the visual association is both clever and effective in portraying the company as a trusted advisor and safe haven.

 

National Park Foundation

Hiding a snow capped mountain and gentle stream in the negative space of a ranger's hat, the logo of the National Park Foundation is an imaginative, vividly expressive and utterly appropriate symbol of national parks in the United States.

 

University of Washington Huskies

The stylized husky logo of the University of Washington is a simple, expressive and beautifully illustrated mark which lends itself almost flawlessly to every necessary application, from digital to print to merchandise. Memorable and unique, the logo is a proud visual representative for the university's athletic teams.

 

Three Rivers Press

The old style logo of book publisher, Three Rivers Press, depicts a small boat gently chugging its way upstream in a visual appeal to the times of yesteryear popularly associated with the prevalence of virtues like honor, respect and integrity. In appealing to this imagery and its associations, the mark, in effect, expresses those very qualities upon which the success of literary merchants is founded.

 

Tostitos (Tortilla Chips)

Unique and memorable, the logo of Tostitos Tortilla Chips associates itself with parties by reflecting their vibrant, fun atmosphere with its bright colors, jaunty custom typography and its personification of the word mark's middle letters as two people sharing a conversation over chips and a bowl of salsa. Hand drawn in a casual, sincere style, the logo promises not simply a salty snack, but a good time.

 

Ryan Air

The logo of Irish low-cost airline, Ryanair, clearly represents its identity by combining two symbols of its personality - a stylized version of the Trinity Harp, a traditional icon of Ireland, along with the no-frills, uppercase typography of its word mark. As a pioneer in the low cost market and formerly a young upstart, Ryanair's visual identity differentiated it from its older, more staid competitors, but having established itself as a mainstay of the industry, the company faces the challenge of maintaining its brand's equity in an industry dependent upon small customer margins and high customer expectations.

 

The University Of New Mexico

Depicting the Spanish style architecture prevalent in the state, the logo of the University of New Mexico juxtaposes a modern graphic with conservative typography to build a beautiful, descriptive and unique identity expressing its academic credentials and modern sensibilities.

 

Southern Illinois Miners

Creatively fusing the team's mining roots with the baseball theme, Minor League Baseball's Southern Illinois Miners logo is a type of visual portmanteau - a baseball bat-pick axe wielding miner, artistically and expressively illustrated in a fashion which lends it to versatile merchandising applications.

 

FC Dallas

A beautiful, simple graphical rendition of its Texas roots, the badge logo of Major League Soccer's FC Dallas draws from imagery popularly associated with the largest state in the Union, from its use of the state's flag colors to its lone star and Texas Longhorn mascot brandishing a Texas shaped patch on its head.

 

Villa Grano

The logo of Brazilian bakery, Villa Grano, expresses the freshness and quality of its products with a crisply drawn, stylized visual metaphor incorporating a head of wheat and loaf of bread which is underscored with a refined, uppercase rendering of its name. The word mark's thin strokes mimic those of the icon which allow the elements to compliment, rather that compete with one another.