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In today's consumers' world, we get constantly bombarded by visual messages, including a variety of corporate logos. Most of the time, they consist of a name in a particular typeface and some sort of illustration. But those types of images are not  the most powerful examples of what a strong logo should reflect.

Visual symbols are as old as the hills. In ancient times, the Egyptians, the Greeks and the Romans all used graphic icons to communicate royalty, rank and/or status. During the 1600's, homeless people in Paris developed their own secret visual code to indicate various messages such as 'safe place to sleep,' 'gentleman lives here,' 'potable water,' to mention only a few. But it is only after World War II that - partly due to the development of advertising - company logo design came into its full potential.

In particular, the Swiss school of graphic designers became instrumental in the design of simple and clear logos. They often didn't need any explanation. They could be noticed and read from far away, and people would remember them for a long time.

An even smarter kind of logo was later developed: the 'integrative logo design.' It's a sophisticated way of communicating, whereby a company or product name is amalgamated with the form of the product or service itself. It is the ultimate form of visual communication. You read the name and see the product at the same time. In my portfolio, you will find a series of examples of integrative logo design:

Ghent Grain Terminal
ghent-grainGhent Grain Terminal is a grain elevator in the port of Ghent, Belgium, and is referred to as 'GGT'. I blended the typefaces GGT with the shape of an ear of grain, which contains grain in its natural form. The difficulty, however, was to keep a distinct balance between the shape of the typeface and the grain. If I would emphasize the form of the grain, which is long and thin, the letters would lose their readability. When I would emphasize the typeface, which is rather vertical and short, one would lose the shape of the grain. So I designed twentyfold variations in different proportions: more spaced or kerned, taller or slender, with more or less negative space. I asked a group of people which one would transmit the message the best, and the clearest visual won.


LABO (the Dental Lab)
As you read the word LABO (the French for LAB) you automatically see the tooth. It is not a chemical or DNA lab, but a dental lab.

COSFUR Shipping and Agency
CosfurThis is a joint venture between China Ocean Shipping and the Dutch Furness Shipping and Agency. I designed the name COSFUR in the shape of a cargo ship with a bow, a bridge and a rudder. The O of COSFUR shows a Plymsoll mark, the limit of submersion mark on the side of a ship. Everyone who reads COSFUR, knows at once that it is about a shipping company.


Gallery 901 is an art gallery on the famous Canyon Road in Santa Fe, NM. It is not a fashion gallery or a jewelry gallery. Therefore, we merged the number 901 with a painter's pallet. It is indeed an art gallery.

Not all words lend themselves to be transformed to the visual of their meaning. It certainly takes a fair amount of brainstorming before a designer achieves the perfect integrative concept. But perseverance always pays off.