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The designing of logo is a particular aesthetic activity that is related to the special techniques under the modern cultural environment. An analysis of the special techniques used by modern designers reflects the fact that visual design devices are heavily influenced by new techniques, which in turn are impacted by the new features of life and thinking of the contemporary people. The visual effects of these works, as will be analyzed in the latter parts of this essay, imply that the influence of new notions and ideas concerning visual design are achieving profound impacts on the formation of designing philosophy of modern designers. It is as well an important trend of becoming a more complicated cultural phenomenon that is in turn impacting "the aesthetic changes of the audience of logo designing as well" (Bruner, J. 1990).
In its very essence, the core of logo designing is the use of the most effective means to communicate with the audience about the needs, ideas as well as the effectiveness of the designing. To a large extent, such effectiveness is depended on the personal understanding of the visual effects by the designers. For many professional designers, they have to observe two aspects of things so as to achieve this effectiveness. On the one hand, they have to fully understand the inner mechanism of human beings in accepting visual information and on the other hand, they have to beware how designing can be effective in "catching the attention of the audience" (Bethel, E. et al 2003). It is only based on these two aspects that designing work can be regarded successful; otherwise it can not be possible to ensure the fidelity of the designing job. In many fields of designing, such as fashion design, mechanic design, architecture design or software design, designers have to pay attention to the combined effectiveness of these two aspects. In public facility design, since this type of design is closely related to the concentration of large audience, the visual designing problem seems to be more crucial for the success designing job. This essay will conduct a detailed analysis on the visual effects of logo design by observing the special techniques used.
2. Principles of visual design in logos
By and large, the principles used in logo design reflects the peculiar needs to arouse the cultural feelings of the audience. That is to say, the purpose of logo design is "to arouse up the cultural recognition of the audience toward a certain product or a certain idea" (Tu, Zhuowen, Zhu, Song C. 2002). This is a cultural experience closely associated with the aesthetic feelings of the contemporary people, who, by being exposed to different visual effects in their busy life, have a strong aptitude to the understanding of colors and lights in the modern environment where different types of mass media are available in conveying these colors and lights. So, one of the major features of aesthetic feelings of modern people is their strong visual sense to recognize the implications of visual effectiveness. In logo design, for instance, both commercially and non-commercially, people can find some similarities related to the visual effectiveness and the implied significance represented by the colors and the visual effects. For instance, the double arches of MacDonald can be seen a best example to represent the relationship between the colors and the visual effects. So, by and large, this can be regarded as a special cultural aptitude of the people living at the contemporary time.
Logo design necessarily involves the methods that help to popularize the influence of a product or an idea. It is important because it is believed by people to be the most effective and convenient way to make a brand or an idea better known to the public. A successful logo design can help the people know the implied feelings within the logo influence. In commerce, for instance, many famous brands in the world will are successful in designing an attractive logo that helps the business development and marketing expansion in the world, such as Coca Cola and Pepsi so and so forth. The success of a logo design is the combination of both artistic exhibition and idea promotion. This has been shown by many successful cases.
To understand the function of visual design, we should first of all understand the influence of the artistic implication. That is to say, logo design should be guided by a conception that suits the specific culture and notion of the thing the logo represents. The behavior of artistic appreciation is in practice an activity of both ration and emotion. Thus, logo design should embrace the feelings, thinking, behavior and psychology of the audience. Based on this principle, logo design should be novel and unique. To achieve this, designers should analyze the psychological elements of the audience at the first place. Generally, "to make a logo more attractive, creativity, fashion, individuality and aesthetics are the four major principles to be observed by logo" (Lynch, Kevin. 1984). These are also the basic principles in visual designing problem too.
Novel and creative thinking easily stimulates the attention and interest of the audience. This is the first important principle of logo design. Creativity comes from the careful observation of life and an imitation of people's psychological tendency to accept the product. It is only through unique characteristic of the product can be attractive and creative. Take the following design for example:
This is an advertisement of watchmaker IWC. In this design, we can see that bus straps have been comically fashioned from the striking images of IWC's Big Pilot's Watch. The advantage of this design immediately attracts audiences by its novelty and creativity. People watching the advertisement all have the pulse to try the bus strap. In this way, the advertisement successfully stimulates the consumers' psychological curiosity.
The principle of fashion is not just to catch the attention of the audience. If so, anything that is colossal and unique would achieve this goal. To logo designers, fashion means the quality of meeting such psychological demand of the audience as curiosity and satisfaction. It also helps to create a novel environment that calls for the psychological recognition.
This is another important feature of logo design. The feature of this principle lies in the uniqueness and novelty of logos that emphasizes the recognition feelings of the audience. From the perspective of the consumer, only individuality can arouse their interest. Basically, it is only by individuality that audiences trust their tuition in choosing a certain products.
What logos represents is the aesthetic image of a product or an idea. This includes the images obtained from the different sense of feelings: hearing, touching, sight etc. This principle calls for the vivid aesthetic image of a product and improve the artistic taste of consumers. In the meanwhile, this also helps to build up a psychological satisfaction. Look at the following design:
Obviously, the purpose of this designer is to highlight the hairstyle of the lady under the umbrella. Here, the half-transparent umbrella gives the audience an imagination beyond the picture itself. What they are strongly feeling is the aesthetic atmosphere that is hidden by the umbrella. In this way, the designer successfully conveys this feeling.
3. Visual effects and logo design
Logo design, the purpose of which is to attract the attention of the audience, is in its nature a manifestation of the usage of visual effects to arouse the cultural feelings of the audience at large. This can be understood by many modern designers and artists. Take Barbara Kruger for instance, as a contemporary American conceptual artist, she is especially known for her fine art creation in logo designs that convey peculiar cultural sense. Many of her works are characterized by the combination of graphic design and short direct phrases. The advertisement of "I shop, therefore I am" can be seen as such an example:
(Barbara Kruger's I shop, therefore I am)
Many of Kruger's works are direct and are easy to evoke an immediate response. Her artistic style is most typically featured by the use of simple color combination of black and white. The short message that is stenciled on the image is often in white against a red background. The text and image used in the whole picture are unrelated for the purpose of creating anxiety, which, according to Kruger, reflects a kind of fear and uneasiness. Her representative video and film works include "Pleasure, Pain, Desire, Disgust" (1997) and "Twelve" (2004).
By and large, logo design is a special artistic activity that needs deep understanding of visual effectiveness. Under the modern cultural environment, it is influenced by a series of complicated notions found in aesthetic, literary, political or social philosophy influenced by the creation of contemporary philosophy as well as the new belief of modern society. It has been regarded as the basis of the attempt to describe the features of the modern intellectualism, which particularly focuses on the use of visual device in designing. Culturally, logo design can be seen as a special way by which artists expose their life style as well as their special understanding of art influenced by new philosophical and conceptual development started by modern thinkers. So, in modern logo designing works, such terms as appropriation, humor (other people may use parody, irony or playfulness to refer to this special attitude of dealing with the creation of contemporary art), deconstruction, simulacra, self-reflexivity, eclecticism (or pluralism), pastiche and inter-textuality are what people can find to refer to the characteristics of modern art, which can be seen as specifically impacted by the visual effects of logos designed specifically to achieve concrete purposes.
4. Post-Modernism reflected by visual effects in logo design
Visual effectiveness in logo design particularly reflected the post-modernistic perspective in artistic design. Modern critics agree that postmodern artists reject the notion of the fixed, objective nature of a piece of art (Hatuka, Tali, D'Hooghe, Alexander. 2007). According to this belief, all that is left in postmodern art is difference. Influenced by various sources of philosophical ideas triggered by the revolution of technological innovation, each person in this new age shapes his or her own concepts of reality. Reality, then, becomes a human construct that is shaped by each individual's dominant social group. There exists no center or authority, nor one lone, encompassing objective reality, but as many realities as there are many different individuals with different ways of life and different ways of thinking (Derntl, M., & Motschnig-Pitrik, R. 2008). The interpretations by different people are different. No one has a claim to absolute truth; therefore, tolerance of each other's points of view becomes the postmodernism maxim.
As we know, postmodernism is also characterized by the color of the new age, which is featured by the application of modern technological innovation of and language of art creation. Take LaChapelle's designing works for instance; if we have a careful look at his Elton John at Home (1997), we can roughly get a clue. In this piece of art, we can be touched by a strong tendency of expressing the chaos in modern family life. Is this a feature of life attitude perceived by the artist? At least, the brightness of the back color can give us a hint. In the picture, it seems that the pealed bananas and the falling apples can not be clearly distinguished as house decorations or the real objects in life. The existence of wild beasts in the house also seems to hint that the core concepts of family life are different from what have been traditionally accepted, or at least there have occurred significant changes. So, on the whole, the post-industrial influences to the life style of modern people can be clearly felt in this picture. The fast pace, the bewilderment of modern people are what dominate the characteristics of his artistic creation.
(Elton John at Home by David LaChapelle)
Postindustrial influence is also reflected in the various sources of impacts triggered by the innovation of technologies, say, the over-complicatedness or over-simplification of images which are made convenient by the adoption of computer technology. The design work of Barbara Kruger best illustrated such a method. In her trademark design, the large-scale photographic works usually cause people think of the post-industrial cultural images which are processed by "the use of modern machinery technology" (Nelson, H. G., & Stolterman, E. 2003). In her 1989 work Your Body Is a Battleground), for example, she employed an oversized image of a model's face and divided it into sections, giving the audience a strong visual impact.
(Barbara Kruger's Your Body is a Battleground)
From these cases we can find the fact that logo designing is not an isolated cultural activity of human behavior in aesthetics. On the contrary, logo design at the contemporary cultural context reflects the cultural impacts of the human society as well as the new changes in aesthetic experiences of the modern world. The logo design for both commercial and non-commercial purposes reflect the particular cultural features of the contemporary time. Without the deep understanding of these features, one is not able to fully understand the essence of the specific visual effects of the logo design at the contemporary time (Bevir, Mark. 2000).
By and large, logo design at the present time is a special artistic activity that reflects the cultural influence of the contemporary time. It specifically pursue the effectiveness of visual stimulation to the sense of sight of the human beings. In logo design, people can find the special feelings conveyed by the usage of various types of visual images. These images can be seen as the products of philosophical meditation of the modern people who have been influenced by the new ideas in life and in thinking. So, in this sense, logo design is not an isolated activity. On the contrary, it is an activity that is closely related to the aesthetic feelings of human race at the present time. It is as well the product of the aesthetic meditation by modern designers as well.