As part of the country’s new identity, Studio Dumbar has designed a new wordmark for the Netherlands which gives a subtle nod to the national flower.
The wordmark combines the country acronym, NL and the tulip, the national flower. “The tulip is the most famous symbol of the Netherlands,” says Tom Dorresteijn, strategy director at Studio Dumbar. “But we wanted to steer clear of an obvious literal tulip as the symbol is too much connected to tourism and souvenirs.” Instead the team created a subtle silhouette of tulip petals between the N and the L letterforms.The typeface used in ‘the Netherlands’ element of the logo is Nitti Grotesk, designed by the Dutch type foundry Bold Monday. “This idiosyncratic typeface has warmth and humanity. The long ascenders give this font its particular character, which works really well with the logo,” explains Dorresteijn. “For us [the logo] expresses simplicity, smartness and clarity,” he adds, and will be in use from January (in eight possible language variations).
The organising committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games has revealed the logo and visual identity for Paris 2024. The logo combines two iconic symbols associated with the Games – a gold medal and the Olympic torch – with an image of Marianne, a female figure representing the French Republic.
The design sees the Paralympic and Olympic Games share a logo for the first time. The organising committee says in a statement that the use of Marianne is both a nod to the sport’s heritage – namely the fact that women athletes were first allowed to compete at the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris – and a homage to female athletes. The committee also says that Marianne represents “the revolutionary spirit” of the Games, and the fact that the Games “belong to the people”.
Opting to keep things simple but effective, Desigual hasn’t meddled with its typeface (which was already a simple sans-serif, resembling many of the more recent logo redesigns to surface lately). Instead, the Spanish clothing brand has opted to flip the whole logo altogether. While the ‘S’ in Desigual had already reversed, it has permanently flipped the remaining letters to match, so it now reads entirely in reverse.
The refresh is designed to mirror Desigual’s positioning as a brand that doesn’t follow the norm, from its outlandish clothing lines right down to its name, which literally means ‘different’ in Spanish. The logo redesign was launched as part of the label’s new Forwards Is Boring campaign, headed by Desigual’s in-house creative studio and Amsterdam-based agency We Are Pi. With the campaign also comes a newly redesigned website and a capsule clothing collection showcasing the new logo.
“The objective of the campaign, in addition to presenting the company’s surprising new image which makes it the first international brand to permanently rotate its logo, is to invite people to think. To make them feel awkward. To make them step outside of their comfort zones. Which is exactly what we’ve done,” said Guillem Gallego, Desigual’s CMO.
Though it might not seem like the most original approach, Desigual claims to be the first brand to permanently flip its logo – surprising given how obvious it seems at first glance. Some have responded with weak retorts on how the brand name is pronounced or indeed written in reverse, however it seems likely that these kinds of campaigns will engage consumers, rather than just confuse them. Plus, as such a recognisable name to so many, Desigual can evidently get away with it.
Online bookshop and publisher Counter-Print has released several graphic design books, covering everything from social media icons to crests and East Asian book covers.
Novillo was born in 1936 and was a cartoonist, artist and sculptor before specialising in corporate identities. He went on to create logos and icons for art galleries, construction companies, schools, festivals, banks, laboratories and the Spanish Socialist Party as well as designing Peseta notes.
Writing in the book’s introduction, Counter-Print’s Jon Dowling praises the timeless aesthetic of Novillo’s work and his lasting influence on graphic design. “The influence of his use of geometric shapes, simple, strong line-work and a playful, illustrative aesthetic can be seen in the work of many contemporary designers and has helped in keeping his legacy alive.”
The book contains over 300 pages of logo designs. It also includes a Q&A with Novillo in which he discusses his creative process, his inspiration and what makes a great logo.
Explaining his process when crafting logos, he says: “I strive to have a powerful semantic idea, I try to draw it in the best possible way … then I review it so that it acquires a pragmatic quality.”Cruz Novillo: Logos is published by Counter-Print and costs £19.50. You can order copies here.
Marshall McLuhan called it “an icon” and it remains virtually unchanged after over four decades in use: Allan Fleming’s 1960 ‘worm’ logo for the Canadian National Railway Company was the overwhelming favourite among our design experts when we polled them for their favourite logos. Fleming had just turned 30 and was working at typographic firm Cooper and Beatty when the opportunity arose. CN had carried out a survey in 1959 revealing that people thought it an “old-fashioned”, “backward” organisation, hostile to innovation. Dick Wright, CN’s head of public relations commissioned New York designer James Valkus to study the problem. Valkus proposed a complete overhaul of CN’s visual image with a new logo (replacing its staid maple-leaf based design). He gave the job to Fleming.
As happens so often, the idea came to Fleming when he was on a flight from New York and he sketched his idea quickly on a napkin. With Valkus, he then worked it up into the future classic we know today (there’s a wonderful image in Fleming’s archive of an early version with the following note from Valkus: “Make it thinner & we’ve got it.”)
The continuous flowing line symbolised “the movement of people, materials, and messages from one point to another,” Fleming said. “The single thickness stroke is what makes the symbol live. Anything else would lack the immediacy and vigour.” Abolishing the R for Railways also made the logo bilingual (‘Canadien National’ as well as ‘Canadian National’), an important plus-point in Canada, and made it more suitable for the many non-rail businesses CN ran at the time such as hotels, telecommunications, and ferry services.
“I think this symbol will last for 50 years at least,” said Fleming of his work. “It don’t think it will need any revision because it is designed with the future in mind.”
Fifty-seven years on, it’s still going.
On Saturday October 20, 1951, CBS Television unveiled its new logo in station breaks voiced by a range of the channel’s stars. Jack Benny, Frank Sinatra, George Burns and Gracie Allen each intoned that the viewer “keep your eye on this eye”. The new symbol epitomised clean, modern design but the inspiration for its creation harked back to the superstitions of 19th-century America. MORE
In 1935 Allen Lane’s newly formed publishing company needed a logo and its founder dispatched 21 year-old production editor and designer Edward Young off to London Zoo to find and draw a suitable penguin. Lane hoped to replicate the success of the Hamburg-based Albatross Books and recognised that a symbol was a vital addition to the design of his affordable paperbacks, alongside the familiar stripes and colour coding that would define Penguin books for years to come. MORE
The World Wide Fund for Nature, known as WWF (it used to be called the World Wildlife Fund and still is in the US and Canada) has a universally recognised logo which remains a potent symbol for the primary focus of the WWF’s work: the conservation, preservation and restoration of natural environments around the world. MORE
Art director Rob Janoff came up with the rainbow-striped logo that ran from 1977 until 1998. “I designed it with a bite for scale, so people get that it was an apple, not a cherry,” Janoff has said. “The only direction we got from Steve Jobs was ‘don’t make it cute’.” The stripes were a reminder that the Apple II had a colour monitor. After 1998, Apple took its design in-house. The stripes were dropped after the decision to make the logos larger on products, requiring a less obtrusive colour-way.
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Set in Bodoni, it brings the three letters of the museum’s nickname, V&A, together as a unified symbol, achieved by Fletcher’s decision to remove half of the letter ‘A’ and then use the ampersand to reinstate the missing crossbar. The resulting mark is distinctive but elegant. MORE
Wolff Olins designed the current Tate mark as part of a rebrand of the entire Tate organisation in time for the launch of Tate Modern in 2000. “We created a new brand for them when Tate Modern was being built,” says Marina Willer, creative director at Wolff Olins. “We needed to create something to unite all the different Tates.” This notion of an arts organisation as a brand was unusual (and controversial) at the time, though has since become common practice. MORE