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How To Use Negative Space In Logo Design (Tips & Inspirations)

by Jelly Shah Tweet - in Logo Design

Negative Space In Logo Design

Negative space is amongst the vital design elements that most designers think of incorporating. Many of them have successfully designed iconic logos in such a manner. But for negative space to be a vital element of a logo, make sure you use it strategically.

Logos are strong brand identities as people see them everywhere — on products/services and various marketing collaterals & campaigns. So, if your logo is designed well with a purpose, it can effectively convey its brand message to the target audiences. Smart business owners, therefore, want their custom logos to engage an audience with the design.

There are many iconic logos based on negative space. These are the logos that businesses have been using for decades, and they don’t want to replace them as people find them fascinating and engage with their brand quickly.

What is negative space?

A negative space is the one that appears vacant around an image. There is no content between two letters or around a symbol in that space.

So, in a negative space, a designer can create an illusion of some figure, which becomes the design’s chief attraction. The shape emerging in the space is often a brand message as it represents something related to a brand.

According to Wikipedia, “Negative space in art is the empty space around and between the subject(s) of an image. Negative space may be most evident when the space around a subject, not the subject itself, forms an interesting or artistically relevant shape. Such space occasionally is used to artistic effect as the “real” subject of an image.’’

Such a sophisticated way to create a logo is much sought-after in the design world. Consequently, many iconic logos have excellent use of negative space.

But creative use of negative space is not easy. Many inexperienced designers want to explore this element for their benefit. So, make sure that the use of negative space looks natural.

Here Are Some Inspirational Examples Of Negative Space In Logos and Tips To Best Incorporate This Element

01. Create A Layer Of Meaning

Experienced designers know how to play mind games with viewers, using negative space. ‘The Guild Of Food Writers’ logo is among the best examples. A spoon in the negative space of two prongs of an ink pen nib stands for food and the nib for the writers.

The Guild Of Food Writers

So, the iconic designer created a layer inside the main object using its very nature. This measure adds a whole new meaning to the design. While the ink pen nib symbolizes writers, a spoon inside the space adds sense to the symbol.

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02. Combine Letters To Create A Symbol

To create something in negative space is using two letters. For example, in this FedEx logo design, Lindon Leader used the shape of the letters ‘E’ and ‘x’ to join them. So, the arrow becomes the symbol of speed. Likewise, the letter ‘d’ resembles the wheel of a carrier truck.

FedEx logo design

03. Use A Letter To Create A Product Image

Another trick to explore negative space in logo design could be to create a product image using the space in a letter. The Alchemist Microbrasserie logo is a fine example.

Alchemist Microbrasserie logo

You can notice a beer bottle appearing with the letter ‘A’ at the top of the custom logo. Since the company produces beer, the beer bottle at the top conveys the brand message immediately to the viewers.


04. Overlap The Elements

When skillful designers overlap the design element, it creates magical logos that mesmerize viewers. This method uses two objects to overlap and create a different angle to look at the design. The trick here is to use one element as negative space and the other one as positive space. Such an image conveys a brand message effectively and is more impressive.

Custom Logo

The designer indicates a jockey sitting nicely on horseback without directly creating the rider in the above logo. Instead, there is just a cap, a hand, and a leg, while the rest of the rider’s body is missing. But viewers can instantly make out the figure of the jockey in the negative space.

If you are a designer who runs a logo design company, then ensure that you talk to the client and thoroughly understand the brand and its message. That close interaction with the client will help understand whether or not negative space should be used as an element.

Another fine example of the elements overlapping is the business logo of USA Network. The designer used the typeface to create the ‘S’ letter in the middle without directly designing it.

business logo

05. Try Unusual Combination

Sometimes the use of two odd elements can create a unique logo design in negative space. The logo of ED, the electric supply company, is a great example. At first glance, the logo looks like an electrical plug and nothing else.

But on looking for a few seconds, you reveal a capital letter ‘E’ hidden on the left side of the plug figure. So, that completes the initials ED of the brand name. Here the designer used an unusual combination of form and function.

Try Unusual Combination

An advantage of such designs is that it is minimalistic. You can create two elements by actually designing one figure. So, the designer created the plug only, making it a minimalistic design. The ‘E’ letter appears there because it is in the viewers’ minds.

06. Use Shadows

You can use shadows to create logos with negative space. You need to keep an object in front of the light source so that one phase shows up while the other gets shadowed. So, the illuminated phase will be the positive space and the shadowed one negative.

Use Shadow


The two examples above are of shadows forming the main feature of the logos. The standing retro camera comes alive due to shadows, and the ‘R’ logo has ‘B’ in its shadow.

These are significant examples of how you can exploit the negative space element to give logos a unique look and convey a brand message. But such logos should not look like a forced design. Instead, they should appear natural and emerge out of the design itself. For example, the arrow in the FedEx logo forms naturally, which is why the designer thought of using the negative space for the brand message.

As a logo designer, you would like to use negative space as a unique element. How about practicing it? One of the best practicing grounds for the designer is Designhill, a leading creative marketplace.

Plenty of business owners launch their logo design contests at this place daily. You can create unique logos for them using negative space and win the contest with attractive prize money. So, earn while practicing your craft.

Are You Looking for a New Graphic Designer?If Yes, Call Us on +1-855-699-2851 [times for calling 9am to 6pm EST (US)] or Register for a Free Design Consultation

Wrapping Up

Negative space is one of the most attractive design elements. Experienced logo designers have created unique design pieces using this feature. As a designer, you can exploit negative space by overlapping the elements, using shadows, playing mind games with the viewers, trying an unusual combination of form and function, and combining letters.

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I'm Jelly Shah from Australia. I've been designing graphics for the last six years. For further questions you can follow me on Twitter | Pinterest | Google +.



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