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Sony PlayStation’s logo is a custom typeface consisting of a letter “P” sitting on top of a letter “S” that appears to be laying flat. With its swooping curves and bright colors, this abstract logo recalls the look of video game controller buttons, as well as the colorful worlds of certain games. The simple yet complex design uses four colors which represent “brilliance”, “charm”, “passion”, “joy”, and “elegance”, adding another layer of meaning to this abstract design.
Airbnb packs multiple meanings into one abstract symbol: "people," "places," "love," "Airbnb." Combine a person holding up their hands, a drop pin, a heart, and letter "A", and you have one meaningful abstract logo. Since Airbnb differs from hotels and rental homes, it needed to distinguish itself visually from other options. Using an abstract symbol, Airbnb communicates several aspects of its offering at once: experiences, accommodation, and community.
NBC’s logo is an abstract form of a peacock, using six colors in its plumes to represent the network’s six divisions: news, sports, entertainment, stations, network, and productions. First introduced in the 1950s as a way to showcase the network’s color programming, this proud peacock has been central to the network’s brand for decades. Today, the logo sometimes switches palettes for special occasions, while keeping its iconic shape constant.
In an abstract-style logo, your symbol comes first. This icon will serve to represent multiple aspects of your brand—including your products and your personality. Look for symbols that recall an important tool of your trade, reflect a key brand trait, or represent an integral brand promise. Consider asking a few friends or customers for their opinion on your symbol, to ensure what you see as “a beautiful sunset” isn’t what they see as “a horrifying monster”.
Color takes on a much more important role in abstract logos, shaping a customer’s perceptions of an otherwise ambiguous shape. The right color palette can add a whole new layer of meaning to your logo, whether through meanings you assign to your colors or associations customers already have. Look for colors that capture the feeling of your brand, while also representing key brand traits and messages.
Depending on where you plan on using your abstract logo design, you might want to prepare a few logo variations. While symbol-only logos look great on small-scale applications like watermarks and favicons, they can sometimes leave too much to the imagination. At the very least, you’ll want to include a symbol and text variation of your logo, for applications where you can’t afford any ambiguity—like letterhead and websites.
Based on how intricate or simple your logo’s abstract icon is, you’ll want to choose a typeface that can balance its design. While intricate symbols look great next to a minimal font, more stark symbols can benefit from the balance of a more complex font. In addition to complementing your symbol of choice, your font should also resonate with your target audience and reflect your brand’s personality.
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