Negative Space and Classic Logos

One of the most delightful elements of design is what a designer chooses to do with negative space, essentially the areas in between the major objects in a design. Sometimes negative space can effectively tell the whole story, and sometimes it can act as a counterpoint to the main object of the design, but no matter what negative space always represents a place to put a little extra interest into the design. To highlight what negative space can do for designs, let's take a look at some of the most iconic negative space logos.



The World Wildlife Foundation's classic 1960's logo is one of the best examples of negative space use of all time. With a single color (Black), the design is able to create an entire animal by utilizing the background to fill in the rest of the image.




One of the most famous negative space logos is FedEx's "hidden arrow" design. The capital "E" and lower case "x" create a forward-facing arrow, hinting at the ever-onward urgency of the FedEX corporation.




America isn't a big market for the Swiss chocolate brand, but nonetheless Toblerone boasts one of the most recognizable negative space logos on the planet. With a logo that features the towering spire of the famous Matterhorn, it's easy to miss the hidden bear in the negative space, a nod to Bern, Switzerland's reputation as the "City of the Bear."



The Pittsburgh Zoo logo might be a bit less famous than the other logos featured here, but it's still a great example of negative space. The twisting shape of the tree creates the profile of a gorilla and lion, making it instantly obvious the mission of this organization.


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