I have been stacking up on books for logo design and scouting dribbble fairly intensely.

I read (and loved) David Airey's book Logo Design Love, but what I am really looking for at this stage is a book that in lays down the principles for minimal logo design covered in this mini course.

Any recommendations?

edit: I have been studying illustration and creative drawing, but in the course, you can see that shapes are used to create space/negative space, and learning the mechanics of that technique is what I'm looking for from a book.

edit 2: Reading some of the comments/reviews from this thread as well as of the Mini course's review thread, what I'm looking for insight specifically on is logo gridding. Apologies for not being clearer sooner.

  • Not a tutorial for logo designs but interesting to look at for good logo designs: logodesignlove.com
    – SaturnsEye
    Apr 14, 2014 at 8:20
  • You might want to rephrase your questions depending on if you're looking for designing logos or working with positive/negative space
    – curious
    Apr 14, 2014 at 23:02

4 Answers 4


The principles for minimal logo design are good illustration skills paired with brand identity.

The examples you gave are not logos but merely animal illustrations. It is easy to illustrate something that has a clear message, like "elephant", or "dog". And the clever use of negative space is simply practice. What makes this process so much harder for logos is that brands don't have a clear identity. They have abstract values that they want to communicate to customers. If you get a grasp on that then drawing up the logo itself is the smaller task.

If you are asking about negative space specifically: look into pictures/drawings with hard shadows, find out how one single shadow can define an entire face or body. And look into illustrations/tutorial that focus on drawing negative space. This is a pure drawing/illustrating and analytical skill and has little to do with logos.

  • Thanks for the correction, you're quite right of course. I guess more specifically, if you see how the course actually shows how to construct using shapes that create space/negative space, that practice is what I'm looking for from a book.
    – GPP
    Apr 14, 2014 at 15:27
  • The practice really is drawing the space around the object instead of the object itself. You simply subtract a shape from it's surroundings. I don't think you will find a book on just that as the execution is the same as drawing anything else. I think Wikipedia puts it quite well: "The use of negative space is a key element of artistic composition". So there you have it. It's all about composition. No magic tricks here.
    – KMSTR
    Apr 14, 2014 at 16:36

I would suggest devising your own exercises and practicing. Brands are fairly abstract so it might help to start with a more concrete topic. One assignment that I give sometimes is to illustrate a Jean de LaFontaine fable in negative/positive space. You could do the same with any movie or any simple story.

Also, you might want to try some Escher like exercises.


If you really want to jump into the theory, you will want to look up principles of Gestalt theory. Art and Visual Perception: A Psychology of the Creative Eye by Rudolph Arnheim is one of the best in-depth book I've read on the topic. Be warned, it is definitely not a how-to, however it did help me immensely in my work; whenever something looked wrong, I knew much more quickly how I could go about fixing it instead of doing trial-and-error.

In the meantime, if you look up Gestalt theory applied to logos and you will find a bunch of condensed versions online.

  • (+1) I love the idea of the fables! I actually had a book of Aesop fables when I was a kid that had one single panel per fable, monochromatic, in the style of old engravings, so using a lot of negative space, and I used to find it fascinating. I would love to try this myself. I am curious, do you ask your students to draw one single plate per fable? Something that sums up (or "represents") the whole story?
    – cockypup
    Apr 14, 2014 at 18:25
  • 1
    Yes they're required too design a book cover for the whole fables but only about one of the stories. Oftentimes, not only they manage to mix both animals (we usually stick to the fables about duality between animals, Lafontaine has a ton of those) but they do so in ways that say something about the story which requires a good interpretation of the text on top of things.
    – curious
    Apr 14, 2014 at 23:01

It's maybe not so current (2008), but you want a book to helps you understand the ingredients of good logos (and not-so-good), Really Good Logos Explained by Rockport is great.

A collection of 500 great logos critiqued by a panel of internationally acclaimed designers

...though that actually misses what's great about the book: they're not all "great logos".

It's a collection of real-life logos, all for mid-level brands of the type the readers might well work on (plus a few famous classics in a separate chapter). Some are great, some good, some pretty good and (in the just-for-fun final chapter) some are terrible. All have experienced designers explaining why they work (or why they don't), and, where appropriate, what could have been improved.

Really good practical hands-on stuff: the next best thing to actually sitting in on 500 high level logo design critiques. Some comments are incredibly insightful picking up in key subtle details and interplay, some seem odd - but all are valuable food for thought.

There's no hands-on tutorial element (but the hands-on manual skills are the same for any other type of design). This teaches good judgement about logos better than anything I've seen.

Examples: (the very light grey text is a quick profile of the client for context)

enter image description here enter image description here


A professional's guide to process

Designing Logos: The Process of Creating Symbols That Endure
This is a detailed, sometimes dry, but comprehensive work.

enter image description here

Logo, Font, & Lettering Bible
I hate recommending this one because it has to be one of the ugliest books in the business. Nonetheless, the author knows his stuff.

enter image description here

The bigger picture

Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team
This is several steps above what you're asking for but it's quite valuable to the branding process as a whole.

enter image description here

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.