Saturday, April 10, 2010


Sometimes the things you do not create are more powerful than the ones you do. Negative Space or “White Space” has been used artistically by designers and artists in all fields from photography to graphics designing. Today I am going to illuminate the topic of White space/negative space in logo designs, which is not just white space but a lot more than that. Before we move further, I need you to take a look at this logo real carefully:

What do you see? Nothing? …Look again, this time more cautiously…Do you see a dove in the middle of the image? Do you see that the brown cloud type design is actually a tree? And, do you see the white space in the middle which represents a dove image also depicts the face of a woman? Well if you could see these things in this image or not, there are these three elements of a bird, a face and a tree. This is what negative space (or white space) in graphics designing is all about!

Let’s understand the Negative space with this definition from Wikipedia:

The space around and between the subject(s) of an image is negative space. Negative space may be most evident when the space around a subject, and not the subject itself, forms an interesting or artistically relevant shape, and such space is occasionally used to artistic effect as the “real” subject of an image. The use of negative space is a key element of artistic composition.
The biggest and most crystallized example of negative spacing in a logo can be explained by the FedEx logo, Take a look:

Could you see the negative space in the logo? Actually it’s an arrow sign which is in between the E and X. if you carefully look at the logo you can find it. If still can’t, here I am filling up a color to help you see it:

In its May 15, 2003 35th Anniversary “American Icon” issue, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked FedEx as one of the 8 best logos of the past thirty-five years. Alongside Apple, Coca-Cola, Nike, IBM, Starbucks, McDonald’s and Playboy

According to FedEx spokesman Jess Bunn:

“The arrow was indeed intentional as a secondary design element…”

“If the viewer sees it, it’s a neat, interesting visual bonus. If the viewer doesn’t see it, that’s OK. It’s still a powerful logo. The arrow is intended to communicate movement, speed and the dynamic nature of our company.”

Another most famous example of negative space is the Rubin’s Vase shown below. It features an optical illusion that can be perceived as a vase or two faces with a clever use of negative space:

Here’s how this illusion came into formation:

Now, I am going to show you some logos with their descriptions but you must try to figure out their “white space” messages before you read their descriptions. Here we go:

FORMULA ONE LOGO: The designer creatively came up with the number “1” in between the F and the red spikes to portray “F1” speedy theme, great piece of work

 Yoga Australia by Roy Smith: A wonderful illustration that lets the Australian map in, in to the logo (look in the negative space inside where the girl is holding her leg)

Gun Crime consequences: It’s an image that shows the violence results. First thing is apparently a gun but the other is tricky. That’s a dead man bleeding from mouth which is inside the gun trigger area. From Noma bar’s book “Negative space”

The Big Squeeze: Art piece for an article on the American oil gains to be made from Iraq

There are a huge number of logos that contain negative spaces to depict secret messages, but can’t be covered in just one article. However, I tried to explain the “Negative space” in logos in the easiest way I could. I hope, after reading this article now you can make out the difference between the normal logos and the concealed logos, which was my intention to tell you.

Please leave a comment if you like this article and want me to come up with more logos that somehow have something unusual.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Britney Spears: “The Greatest Freedom Is To Believe In Yourself.” (She Actually Wanted To Say); “The Greatest Freedom Is To Steal Shamelessly.”

Believe (the fragrance) hit the markets in September 2007. It was the fifth fragrance launched by the pop princess Britney Spears, following the Midnight Fantasy fragrance that was launched in late 2006. Although it is a nicer scent, with substantially more depth than Britney’s previous scents, the characteristic femininity and girly sweetness was found in all of her perfumes can also be felt through this one. For Britney and her team, it was all well until people didn’t notice that Britney’s Believe is actually a rip-off of a company called; Mondonation, located in Vancouver, Canada.

Mondonation’s motive was to be tacked together to support plenty of international charities, by donating part of the profits from each shirt sale. “Mondonation has reached thousands of people with the “I believe” t-shirts. All you have to do is watch some of the YouTube videos to get an idea of how many people they’ve reached. This one video has been viewed almost 700,000 times.” Said by Ward Bingham, who is the founder of Mondonation.

Mondonation had a simple but meaningful idea that allowed people to customize a personal text onto a t-shirt, an avowal of something they believe in. Some people choose to write very heartfelt messages such as;

“I believe that people can make a difference every day” and some that are just fun loving or airheaded go with the phrases like; “I believe I am a Punk!”

However, some people say that the plagiarism of the believe logo by Elizabeth Arden may have been an unintentional slip, considering that the font used in the perfume logo is not the same as the original Mondonation “I believe” logo. Some designers have also tried to support this assertion. They say that the similar use of colors could have been an oversight since the colors “pink” and “green” are corresponding to each other on the color wheel, and logo designers are more likely to pick colors that are next to each other on the wheel.

But, in my opinion the team members of Elizabeth Arden (the company behind the believe fragrance) are blameworthy and should be ashamed of themselves for putting out a barefaced copy of another company’s logo, and for potentially damaging the wondrous brand of Mondonation. They should be charged some serious cash for this transgression, but the sad part about this whole thing is that even paying a penalty doesn’t repair the damage that has been done to the Mondonation brand. I hope they pull the fragrance from the market, compensate Mondonation so the “I believe” shirts can continue on being a supportive and successful project.

These are my thoughts about the believe logo stealth and I am going to stick with them for the reason that I am absolutely certain that Britney Spear’s fragrance logo is a crystal clear rip-off, of the Mondonation's logo and if nothing else happens in the favor of Mondonation, a big amount of the sales profits of Britney’s fragrance should go to the charities which are supported by the efforts of Mondonation's line of apparel. This is what I believe. What do you believe?

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