White space is as important as any other element of logo design, and white space alone can take your logo design from looking mediocre, to professional. The same thing can be said about excess graphical elements, or clutter, which also can make or break your design.
In this article, we will take a look at clutter and white space, because the absence of content is not something to leave to coincidence, it has to be designed as well.
Beginners have a tendency to overcomplicate logos by adding too many elements and details to it, when in reality, logo design is about simplicity, and rather than thinking what you can add to a logo, you should be thinking how much you can remove from it. Make it a habit to look at a logo and ask yourself if the logo will still work if you remove an element from it. Keep doing this until the answer to this question is no.
Here are some examples of super simplistic logos:
One of the reasons for this behavior usually comes from a lack of theoretical knowledge, so you run the risk of being too literal in your design, rather than utilizing symbolism, color theory and so on, to make your logo convey what is required. Another reason is the inability to prioritize what is most important to include in the logo. There is a limit to how much a logo can convey, so you need to work out what is the most essential values and emotions to include, and not be afraid to leave other less important things out. As with any rules, there are exceptions, where you actually want your logo to be as literal as possible.
Here are some examples of litteral logos:
Here are a few guidelines to follow:
If your logo has a symbol or icon, don’t add graphical elements to the text.
If your logo mainly consisting of letters, only add 1 graphic element or detail to the logo.
Make sure to account for the sizes your logo will be viewed in, so your elements don’t get too small or detailed to be able to see properly in smaller scales.
As you get more experienced with logo design it gets easier to design without worrying about clutter and too many details, but as a beginner, it’s not a bad idea to have some general guidelines to stick to, and these are what I recommend. Soon enough you will break these “rules”, but by then you will have learned how to keep a logo simple, even while adding multiple graphical elements or details.
Also known as negative, or empty space. This is also very important to pay close attention to when designing a logo, and even more so when placing the finished logo on a website, a business card, a poster or anywhere else.
White space is simply the absence of content. It’s the empty gaps in between elements, the space between the logo symbol and the company name, and it’s the space around the entire logo as well. White space is just as important as the logo itself, and it helps the logo breathe and allows it to be viewed within its own context, without other elements fighting for attention or distracting the eye. This is also one of the main reasons why you need to create a style guide to go along with your logo, so your client will know how much space to allow around it.
Learning to use white space efficiently takes practice, and the best advice I can give you is to simply look at inspiration and notice how white space has been utilized. Pay attention to the proximity and hierarchy of elements created by using white space.
To give you a starting point when working with white space, I have two tips for you. For wide logos like wordmarks, using the height of the logo as the measure of white space on either side usually is a good place to start. On logos where the height and width are about the same, measuring the longest of these and dividing it by three usually works pretty well. This tip is by no means a rule you should follow blindly, just a place to get started.
A bonus tip that I can give you, is to try to zoom out a lot. If the logo still looks like an individual element, and not as if it is connected to anything else, you are on the right track. If you want to see more examples, I suggest you Google “Famous Logo Style Guides”.