To explain what I mean by “clever” logo design, let’s take a look at a typical logo, (i.e. one that isn’t clever).
The logo above is a nice piece of work. The colors are perfect, the lettering is masculine, the overall feel is athletic and the glossy effect works well. It’s everything that it needs to be.
However, my favorite type of logo design is that which takes the assignment one step further. Rather than just making something attractive, these designers look at the design process with a pinch of added intelligence and a perspective that skewed enough to see things differently than the rest of the world.
These types of logos make you smile at the brilliance of both the idea and the execution and have several layers of meaning that can hit you in waves. Some are amazing in their obviousness to all who see them and some find excellence in hidden secrets.
I’ve broken down this collection into three categories: visual double entendres (two things in one), word and character art, and ambigrams. Ambigrams definitely also fall into the word art category but I wanted to give them special recognition because they’re so difficult to pull off effectively (if you don’t believe me, try to make one!).
This one is simple but so incredibly effective. It looks like both a suitcase and a folded dress shirt with a tie. The latter really emphasizes the “suit” aspect and therefore represents professionalism.
At first glance this logo says “brella.” Can you spot the other two letters?
In case you’ve never heard of them before,ambigramsare words or phrases that you can spin around 180 degrees and still read them. They often require quite a bit of work and thought in order to make them easily readable.
That sort of Old English look is definitely one of the styles you see the most with ambigrams. Notice how the “e” and “o” have been heavily transformed but still read well in the context of the word as a whole.
This one feels like an ambigram, but as one astute commenter pointed out, it actually isn’t. The beginning “e” and ending “a” are the same, but the letters in between don’t work when flipped. Nice illusion regardless!
I hope the collection above isn’t just another “list post” but instead is a healthy dose of inspiration that encourages you to put a little thought into your logo creation process. When appropriate, consider how you can infuse something unique and witty to make the logo that much better.
Leave a link below and tell us your favorites. Also point us to any logos that match this style that you’ve seen on the web.