Five favourite logos
John Lloyd, 2011
I was asked by the magazine Creative Review to contribute to the April 2011 issue that focused on logo design. I was one of twenty identity designers who were asked to nominate five favourite logos and to say why they had chosen them. The nominations were then assessed and assimilated to provide a table of the top twenty logos of all time. Three of my choices made the top twenty - Pirelli, Canadian National Railways, and the Woolmark, which came out on top. Here are my nominations.
This logo demonstrates a powerful blend of word and image to express unity, and to signal a passionate struggle for freedom from Soviet repression. The urgently painted individual letterforms band together to form a cohesive body and raise a flag of freedom. I think this is a wonderful example of how great graphic design can support and facilitate positive social change. Designed for Solidarity, the Polish Trade Union, by Jerzy Janiszewski in 1980.
Everyone knows what Pirelli makes. This timeless wordmark expresses, in a brilliant and memorable way, the intrinsic elasticity of the products. The original concept dates from 1908; the designer is unknown.
The Man with the Golden Arm
It was coming across the simple, reductive, and evocative work of Saul Bass in 1960 that made me want to be a graphic designer. Saul Bass didn't just design publicity material for movies; for each film he created a distinctive visual identity system that could be expressed in print and on-screen in the animated title sequence. At the heart of his identity for The Man with the Golden Arm is the jagged arm motif combined with complementary hand-drawn lettering. This core logo is supported by a set of bold graphic and typographic elements that create a flexible and instantly recognisable identity for the film. I have always admired this creative solution because it encapsulates and expresses the essence of the movie in much the same way as a great corporate identity system does for a company. Designed in 1955.
Canadian National Railways
This elegant corporate signature, derived from a railway track layout, is immediately recognisable as a reflection of the organisation's business. Designed by Allan Fleming in 1960.
Symbols are most effective when they express the company, product or service they represent. There is no doubting what this symbol stands for: an endorsement of quality, designed in Italy for the International Wool Secretariat in 1956; the design is attributed to Franco Grignani.