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Smashing Logo Design: The Art of Creating Visual Identities by Gareth Hardy

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Chapter 1: The Logo

When I say the brand name Nike, what pops into your mind? Odds are, it’s the famous Nike Swoosh. What about McDonald’s? Are you picturing the Golden Arches? These famous brands are so tied to their logos that you (and billions of people like you) have trouble thinking of the name of the brand without also thinking of the logo. And the reverse is also true: The logo is immediately identifiable with the brand. That’s the power of a logo.

A logo is a graphic identifier that is used to visually communicate anything that requires to be identified. It helps the brand set itself apart from the competition—you don’t see the Golden Arches and think of Burger King. And yet logos are not limited to commercial endeavors—charitable organizations, campaigns, even individuals can use logos to identify themselves.

In this chapter, I introduce you to what logos are, who uses logos, and where logos are used.

What Logos Are

So, what exactly is a logo? To answer this question, I sought the opinion of Milton Glaser, one of the most revered designers in the history of graphic design. His most notable logo design work is the identity for the I ♥ New York campaign, which has been in use since its introduction in the mid-1970s. Mr. Glaser has worked with and designed logos for over 50 years, so he seemed like the perfect candidate to ask what a logo is. Here’s his definition:

A logo is either a series of words or an image that attempts to represent an institution or an individual ...

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