13 Rockstar Logo Designers Under 31
Logos are an essential component of the seasoned graphic designer’s yield. Ubiquitous in all of our daily graphical landscapes, they are vital for any organization or endeavor.
A logo can be simple or complex. Textual or purely image-based. Illustrative or symbolic. Blazing with color or on the march in glorious techniblack. Of course a logo, or logo system, is irreparably tied to brand identity. Thus this seemingly smallest, seemingly simplest of design deliverables really ends up having the most reach as the visual distillation of any brand.
It is easy for a logo to get lost in the crowd. Likely that most eyeballs will pass it by without any conscious registration. For a logo to succeed, it must not only stand on its own, but must clearly speak in alignment with the personality of the brand it represents.
Here are thirteen young designers whose work stands out in capturing the core essence of a company. Special thanks to my friend Breyen Katz for his research and collaboration on this post. The following 13 rockstar logo designers under 31 are presented below in no particular order. Let the inspiration begin.
Josiah works for himself as a full time Branding and Conceptual Icon Designer via his company Siah Design. Josiah’s designs tend towards the minimal, expressing a concept’s essence without too much embellishment, even eschewing the brand name on a regular basis. His logo for filmaps was featured in David Airey’s Logo Design Love. As well, Josiah’s work has shown up in Symbol and other publications. Notable clients include Ho‘ōla Nā Pua, healthgrid.com, and UnderSea Productions.
“One of my first jobs I picked up on the site oDesk.com. I think it worked out that I got paid around $3 a logo. It’s crazy to think about it now – but I really enjoyed it at the time.”
Paul Von Excite
Flowing. Classic. Inventive. Paul is a lettering maniac, elaborating type and killing hand lettering in ways that, when you see his samples laid out together, do seem part of a singular collection – dare we say a brand? – but in fact, depending on the nature of their service, vary to an enormous degree. These logo creations do lend themselves to monochrome presentation, perhaps rendering traditional drawn elements superfluous, except for the fact that the text characters themselves are hand drawn. And always in ways that are exemplary, evocative, even entertaining.
Paul and his work have been featured in Logolounge, Abduzeedo, Adobe Illustrator, Wacom, Goodtype, AIGA, Moo.com, Creative Market, Typography Served, and certainly a few others. Notable clients include Vroom and lugg.com.
“I heard about a designers’ website called Dribbble. A study mate told me it was a closed community, and it was very tough to get invited…I created a small portfolio site with a few of the college exercises I had done. I e-mailed some Dutch designers with my portfolio asking if they had a spare invite. A few weeks later it worked and I was in…”
Sean is a freelance graphic designer and illustrator specializing in logo design, branding, icon design, and illustration via his company Brand Clay. There is a healthy mix of the purely symbolic and the typographic in Sean’s logo work. This represents a variety of clients of different audiences and communication needs, but the final product always retains a deceptive simplicity, culled from boiling down the core message that the logo needs to convey. This includes limited and bold use of color, and clearly delineated shape and space.
Sean’s been featured in publications like Human Logo, Alphabet Logo, and Animal Logo (all by Counter Print), and the work itself in Logolounge, iheartlogos, Smashing Logo Design, and Logopond. Clients include Dashing Dish, Scoop, and Rocket Town.
“Showing your rough sketches to the client is a great way to start a dialogue about why you chose the directions and concepts that you did. It’s a great way to get the client involved in the creative process.”
Paul specializes in brand creation: logos, marks, and corporate identity. Some notable clients are ACS Safety Solutions, MMSR (Management and Marketing Services in Russia), and Fastclick (through acquisitions, now Conversant).
It’s compelling to view an artist from one culture respond to the challenge of another’s, to see how their work speaks to new audiences. Sometimes initial communication barriers force a more focused look at what’s vital about the project. Or a fresh perspective may arise when someone whose native script is, say, Cyrillic, sets out to create typography in modern Roman. Paul’s creative solutions, whether image based, text based, or both, display a playful, colorful sense of fun, never shying away from different styles and bold ideas. They also achieve another another important requirement for a mark in today’s world, that of easy reproducability in different formats and mediums. Elaborate, basic, digital, print. It’s telling when something small and repeatable resonates on a high level.
“Give more attention to detail, experimenting, because all successful discoveries and solutions contribute to general level up.”
Nadir’s logo designs and identities, the specialty of his studio Logorado, are bold, minimal, and brilliant. Each feels like a character, or the opening to a story. They remind us that behind each design are people, with different personalities, outlooks, and things to say. And we want to be entertained! But to get to these little bits of emotional and symbolic resonance, Nadir draws from the natural and visceral world. Check out some of the micro-moodboards for items on the Logorado portfolio. They show photographs and other visual research items that served as inspiration, and convey the process of arriving at design better than words can. Infinitely appropriate for this visual artist and logo designer.
Mikovic focuses on Branding, Graphic Design, and Icon Design. He’s had the good fortune and skill to have a number of highly esteemed logos still working in the real world, for respected and successful companies. Sometimes, unfortunately, great work doesn’t get a chance for exposure. Sometimes a potentially great client just doesn’t ask for great work. But sometimes the logo design stars align, and Dimitrije’s talent is surely helping that to manifest. His creations range from the high-end and elite, to the quirky, the down home, or the experimental startup. Some play well in color, some in monochrome. But they always tell a story and are ready to be used in the environment where they’re needed. Flycycle (Malaysia), Vodrich Luxury Watches, and Hensley Event Resources are a few examples.
I see Vivian’s work as hand lettering fine art. Personality and precision drips from his large portfolio of work. His logotypes are words themselves (wordmarks)… a name, a slogan, a description drawn with flair and lettered with purpose, confidence, and emotional reach. When you’re really good, you get to design the lettering that becomes a symbol, a mark that people trust in their homes, a known spot in town, a familiar landmark. Vivien does art direction and lettering, calligraphy, and typography. Looking at his portfolio, you’ll notice some of work is done for mock companies that exist only in the imagination, or done from pure inspiration. But this constant creation and exploration, despite the business requirements, is one sure way to grow, branch out, and keep evolving as a visual communicator. As you can see by his work below, Vivien Birten is in a league of his own. Simply gorgeous.
“Lettering needs a particular attention on fluidity of gesture and readability.”
Ian Paget, aka The Logo Geek, has a very simple message on his homepage: “I Design Logos”. He’s been featured in Creative Bloq, ShutterStock, and LogoLounge, for which he was on the jury for Volume 9. Clients include Advansys, Backen Wright, and Bathily. Ian demonstrates what can be achieved by not overlooking one of the vital, if often underappreciated, parts of selling and improving yourself and your artistic abilities: marketing. He’s also an SEO ninja, which explains why his website brings him a steady stream of new leads, and why he is often booked out with client work for months in advance. Great problem to have! He also makes time to be active in the design community… blogging… writing articles… giving interviews… serving on juries… Through all of his efforts, Ian has become a thought leader and influencer, just ask his 80,000+ twitter followers. In fact, Twitter is how I first met him, and I can say I’m honored to now call him a friend. Rock on, Ian! You, sir, are an inspiration to the design community.
“I enjoyed desiging logos from day one. It fascinated me how much a tiny logo could communicate, and how it could so heavily influence anything else designed for that company.”
“Create more than you consume. You can spend hours and hours learning stuff, but if you want to become an industry leader you need to be creating content.”
Jacob is a creative rockstar, a multi-disciplinarian specializing in branding, corporate identity and logo design. He has made communicating about and with the industry as important as his actual design work. He does this via his very successful blog, JustCreative.com, but also via speaking engagements, consulting, articles, and interviews. Perhaps this constant giving and receiving is what keeps his designs fresh, new, always evolving, and able to respond to the moment in and for which they are created. His client list includes Jerry Seinfeld, Nintendo, VitaminWater, Powered, OMEGA, Disney, Secor Asset Management, and Resource Ammirati, among many others. Jacob also created LogoOfTheDay – a high-profile logo design award scheme that rewards the best professional logos and trademarks designed throughout the world. And you must watch Jacob’s TEDx talk on How to Build a Personal Brand. By the way, when we say his location is Everywhere, The World, we mean it! That’s because for the past two years he and his wife Emily have been working from the road as a digital nomads. Without missing a beat on his client commitments, of course. If that’s not the essence of ‘rockstar’, I don’t know what is.
“Quality is the one article of trade which cannot be compromised.”
Milos’ designs are miniature illustrative works of art. Recently he’s been creating single color drawings in the style of a woodcut, or an etching. There’s a focus on the lines. Elegant, refined, oozing high-quality. But Milos can whip out a fun colorful cartoon-style that works perfectly too – like this illustration for a Brazilian food truck. There’s been an evolution over time, more color in the past, more form in the present. By doing work in the real world, an artist, no matter the medium, morphs with the surrounding environment. This is one great reason for being an artist: it provides an avenue for growth and change.He’s been featured in New Retro Book 2016, Victionary Publishing, Chois Gallery Magazine Publication, Logopond, and Logomoose.
“When you are pleased with the work you do, then your audience is. Do the kind of work you want to get.”
Jessica Walsh a phenomenon who’s quickly risen to the top via work on her own and with Sagmeister & Walsh. One reason for this, besides obvious talent and creativity, has been her versatility with branding, logos and identities. Maybe another reason is that Jessica always seems to be atop emerging trends which she adapts and incoroporates into her own vision. Maybe also because she has a straight ahead but unique approach that is individualistic, but inclusive. Maybe also because despite working in the hard-nosed urban grind-em-up atmosphere of NYC design, fashion, and graphics, she puts emotion and human feeling first. Also check out 40 Days of Dating: An Experiment. Proof she is willing to put herself out there, continuing to walk that important line between scared shitless and utter excitement… because she knows that’s the sweet spot to grow both as visual communicator as well as human being. This is just another reason we could not help but feature Jessica in our post on Badass Women Designers.
Check out these rockstar Instagram quotes:
“I’d like to cancel my subscription to your routine bullshit.”
“I need to see with my heart.”
“Perfection is boring.”
Kyle delivers high quality branded solutions for startups to government agencies to nonprofits. His work is impressive, clean, innovative. Sometimes the end result is suggestive, sometimes direct, or perhaps just a minimal symbol. In addition, Kyle is also very active in the design community, via blogging, mentoring, and writing, such as his latest book, the Ultimate Guide To Logo Design, or running his new venture called Logo Wave International – an affordable logo awards site that gives logo designers the opportunity to present their work and be noticed, and maybe win some goodies, too. Kyle has had the opportunity to work with clients such as the National Parkinson Foundation, New Mexico Homeland Security and The American Cancer Society. Kyle’s been featured on JUST Creative and Bannersnack, in this very blog, as well as rated #1 on Thumbtack in both the logo design and web design categories. And lest we not forget his sweet Logo Design Inspiration Generator Tool, you’ve got to check it out. Kyle has proven to be a real asset to the design community. We thank you, Kyle. And on top of it all, he’s a really nice guy, too! :).
“I strive for vivid, bold design concepts in their most simplistic, innovative form.”
“The toughest part is trying to have a consistent, creative state of mind. There are some days where the ol’ brain and creativity aren’t friends.”
Anna has a style you can’t quite place, in a very good way. We featured her in our Ten Badass Women Designers post, and we’re featuring her again to showcase her logo work. Anna only graduated this year with her Bachelors, and so does show the exploratory trait of many who are finding their voice, in that some things appear serious, some playful, some retro, some smooth and refined, some more artistic and some symbolic, but all communicative and aesthetic. Keep an eye an Anna, her early successes guarantee her best work is yet to come.
Is That All?
As designers, with each new project, we inescapably learn more about ourselves. We continue to develop our tastes and styles by creating, sharing, receiving feedback, and creating again. We stretch, expand, innovate, respond, always changing yet maintaining an artistic consistency to our spirit
Know of any logo designers that should be on this list? Feel free to share your feedback and link your portfolio in the comments below. And for those interested in further honing your logo design skills, check out my free Authentic Logo Design eBook. Have YOU kicked creative ass today? Nope? Then it’s time to get to work… :))
Keep pushing, keep working, keep exploring. I’ve been at this game over 20 years, and I get a little better at my craft with each new creative challenge.
I hope this list of rockstars aids in lighting (or re-igniting) that fire within you.