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+$A good logo has to work hard these days. It needs to look good on everything from large-scale signage down to social media icons, and the best way to work around these challenges and achieve brand recognition is to use simple and memorable graphic shapes. Logos that depend on fussy, intricate details lose their impact when reduced to a Twitter avatar.

+$And while most branding systems specify colour palettes, in print a标志设计+$will sometimes be rendered in black and white, in which case it needs to stand out just as much as it does in colour.

+$One sure-fire way to ensure your logo is fit for purpose is to give it the silhouette test. Convert it to monochrome, and study its outline: is it still instantly recognisable? Read on to be inspired by seven big-brand symbols that are defined by their distinctive silhouettes...


Silhouette test: Airbnb

+$Airbnb's logo got its fair share of criticism but it's swiftly become a familiar sight+$(Image Credit: Airbnb)

+$While another key part of the identity is its colour – you won't see the Airbnb logo in any colour other than coral – when reduced to black and white there's still no doubt as to which company this represents. And that's not a bad achievement for a company that's still relatively young.

+$Like any logo design worth its salt, Airbnb's Bélo logo drew all manner of criticism when it was unveiled in 2014. It's the work of DesignStudio, who set out to 'design a marque anyone could draw – something that transcended language and formed the foundation of a new brand', but what caught people's attention was its similarities to other logos and a certain resemblance to female genitalia.

+$Every new logo design has to run the gauntlet of online critics, though, and five years later the Airbnb logo has risen above the initial mockery and become one of those designs that everyone can recognise instantly. And it's one that works brilliantly as a silhouette; using a simple shape, as DesignStudio did, is a risky proposition, as there are likely to be any number of other brands with a similar design, but thanks to Airbnb's swift rise to global prominence it's had no problems in securing this particular shape as a key part of its identity.

+$02. Volkwagen

Whether it's on a car, a forecourt or a Beastie Boy, the VW logo is unmistakable

+$Whether it's on a car, a forecourt or a Beastie Boy, the VW logo is unmistakable+$(Image Credit: Volkswagen)

+$Volkswagen is perhaps fortunate that its initials are an absolute gift for logo designers. VW is a fantastic-looking combination of letters, and with them arranged on top of each other you get a strikingly abstract shape that nevertheless instantly identified the company it represents.

+$It's no surprise, then, that the Volkswagen logo has retained its fundamental elements – the VW monogram in a circle – since 1937. While the styling has been tweaked numerous times over the years, there's been no iteration of the logo that's ever going to leave anyone confused as to what it stands for.

+$Such a strong visual identity can withstand a lot of mistreatment, and converting the Volkswagen logo into a silhouette has virtually no effect on it. Even the more overdesigned versions of the logo from recent years benefit from the power of that simple VW monogram, while the latest version from this year, with its flat design and thinner lines, takes the silhouette process in its stride.

+$The new Volkswagen logo is built to be versatile; it has to work on everything from social media icons up to massive corporate signage, and reducing it to monochrome, if anything, strengthens its impact.

03. Apple

Silhouette test: Apple



关于同名苹果的咬伤有许多神话,包括伊芙在伊甸园中的违规行为,以及艾伦图灵通过咬青柠汁的果实而发生的悲惨自杀。然而,设计师罗布·亚诺夫(Rob Janoff)承认这一决定背后有更为平淡无奇的理由。

一口咬出来的苹果 - 甚至显得非常小 - 看起来像一个苹果,而不是樱桃。这个实际的决定表明了拥有强大,可立即识别的轮廓的重要性。伴随的神话只是添加额外的意义层次,无论是有意还是无意。


Silhouette test: Apple

设计专业学生乔纳森·麦克(Jonathan Mak)对史蒂夫·乔布斯(Steve Jobs)表示感谢



Silhouette test: Twitter



最终,曾经相当详细的鸟 - 在2006年被描绘成坐在一个栖息地并向左看,后来演变成一只更具特色的飞行鸟,蓬松的quiff - 被削减到一个干净,令人满意的几何轮廓。简而言之,感觉Twitter已经长大了。

+$According to Twitter, the new logo is born from a "love for ornithology, design within creative constraints, and simple geometry", and uses three sets of overlapping circles – representative of how social networks, interests and ideas intersect in your Twitter feed – define the shape of the bird.


Silhouette test: Playboy



1953年为该杂志的第二期推出,现在臭名昭着的花花公子兔子通过几十年来越来越自由的性行为方式以及色情的扩散 - 一直保持不变 - 证明其设计的永恒性。

它的清晰轮廓,从兔子脸部轮廓上打出的圆形眼睛,以及最小线条定义的领结,有效地用于单色 - 一种旨在唤起奢华,专业和阶级的调色板。



Silhouette test: Nike


有史以来最好的徽标列表的另一个熟悉的景象,耐克Swoosh由着名设计学生卡罗琳戴维森(Carolyn Davidson)创作,以35美元的价格出名。

它的简洁使它的轮廓更加引人注目,与Apple一样,它经常出现在黑色和白色版本中,没有附带的字标。 Swoosh必须以各种尺度和类型的应用程序运作,从赞助文件上的微小文件,到一件衣服上的刺绣徽标,到广告牌上的巨大徽标。

虽然它被广泛认为是“嘀嗒”,但Swoosh的原始灵感实际上是一个翅膀的轮廓 - 提到希腊胜利女神耐克。然而,无论其起源如何,事实仍然是这样一个简单但可拥有的形状每次都会通过轮廓测试。

07. WWF

Silhouette test: WWF





Grey London changed the panda to a polar bear to raise awareness of climate change




作为活动的一部分,格雷向WWF提供了重新设计的徽标,以免费使用 - 但该优惠从未被采用过。然而,与原始徽标一样,聪明的概念有其局限性,当颜色颠倒时,这个想法就会崩溃。