How To Design An Awesome Negative Space Logo

Last week, I talked about my love of logos that utilize negative space. This week, I want to take you through my process of creating one. Creating such a logo requires planning ahead of time. As always, you’ll want to start in your sketchbook.

Make the most of your time by doing the following:

  • Sketch out all the different ideas you have.
  • Narrow it down to the top idea(s) you want to digitize.
  • Sketch out the architecture & construction. (This is where you begin thinking about exactly how you can most efficiently create that shape in Illustrator. You could call this the pre-Illustrator phase.)

I created two logos that used negative space for this particular post — a microphone and a pencil. In these cases, my first step is to analyze the general characteristics of their real-life counterparts. As a designer, you need to determine what are the most identifying characteristics that must be there. Also, look at the objects and see where contrasts exist. Analyze each essential element and accent, choosing what will be in your foreground and what will be in your background. With the microphone, the accents are where I decided to use negative space. With the pencil, the tip, the shaft, and the eraser are the elements I’ve decided to mark. I can position those elements in a way where the overall idea of a pencil is seen without illustrating every single element.

With both the microphone and the pencil, I utilized the great Illustrator tool known as “Divide Objects Below”. Instead of always using the pen tool to draw each individual shape in proper position, create the overall shape and draw where you want to cut. In Illustrator, you can draw a shape then draw a second shape overlapping it. Select the overlapping shape and go to Object>Path>Divide Objects Below. This will create slices of the object below corresponding to the area where the overlap occurred. Simply select the slice you want to remove and delete it. “Divide Objects Below” is one of my favorite tools in Illustrator.

Divide Objects Below command
 Acts as a cookie cutter or stencil, using a selected object to cut through other objects, discarding the original selection. To use this command, choose Object > Path > Divide Objects Below.

Designing logos that utilize negative space allows you to hone your minimalism skills. It also allows you to create a brand mark that can be one-color and easily transferred onto many different products and surfaces.


Originally published at on September 13, 2016.

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