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Logos, Icons, & Descriptive Graphics Susan Sabiston Overview Logos Define, History, Design Icons Define, History, Design Descriptive Graphics Define, History, Design Logos A logo is a name, symbol or trademark designed for easy recognition . Beginnings

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  • Logos
    • Define, History, Design
  • Icons
    • Define, History, Design
  • Descriptive Graphics
    • Define, History, Design

A logo is a name, symbol or trademark designed for easy recognition.


  • 13th century: Trademarks for merchant, blacksmith, masons, also watermarks and crests
  • 19th century: Industrial manufacturing
    • Products manufactured at a higher rate and shipped nationally
    • New competition
    • Illiteracy
logos today
Logos Today
  • Too many logos
    • Every company, corporation, product, service, agency….. Has a logo
  • Name design
logo design
Logo Design

A Good Logo should:

  • Be unique
  • Be Reproducable
    • Resizable
    • Color, B&W, fax, on fabric
  • Follow basic design principles
    • Space, color, form, clarity
  • Represent the company appropriately
  • Speak to the target audience
  • Icons are small signs standing for objects, processes, structures, or data.
  • A computer icon is a small graphic, usually ranging from 16 pixels by 16 pixels up to 128 pixels by 128 pixels, which represents a file, folder, application or device on a computer operating system.
history of icons
History of Icons
  • 1960’s - Ivan Sutherlands Sketchpad
  • 1973 - The concept of the computer “icon” formalized by David Smith.
  • 1976 - Icons were revised and developed as a tool for making computer interfaces easier for novices by Xerox Palo Alto Research Center for the Xerox Star 8010.
  • 1981 - The Xerox Star 8010 was the first computer to implement the metaphors “desktop,” “window,” and “icon.”
apple lisa
Apple Lisa
  • Lisa 7/7
    • LisaWrite
    • LisaCalc
    • LisaGraph
    • LisaList
    • LisaProject
    • LisaDraw
    • LisaTerminal
icons today
Icons Today
  • Virtually every major computer operating system has the ability to use an icon-based graphical user interface (GUI) to display information.
  • The creation of a good function icon can be considered as an art form in itself
icon types
Icon Types
  • Application Icons
  • Hardware Icons
  • Utility Icons
  • Removable Media Icons
  • Toolbar Icons
  • Document Icons
  • Printer Icons
  • Viewer Icons
  • Player Icons
  • Accessory Icons
icon design
Icon Design

An Icon should:

  • Meet the needs of the audience
  • Implement the appropriate perspective
  • Use shadow and single light source
  • Use universal imagery that people will easily recognize
  • Be Simple
  • Use color smartly
descriptive graphics
Descriptive Graphics
  • A Descriptive Graphic is visual representation of information or data.
  • Also known as an information graphic, infogram.

Common types of descriptive graphics are:

  • Chart
  • Graph
  • Diagram
  • Topographic Map
  • Map
  • Signage System
  • 7500 BC Prehistory - Maps
  • 1786 - W.Playfair developed first known graphs
  • 1876 - first chemical bond representation by James J. Sylvester

Dr John Snow Cholera Map, 1854

A contaminated water pump in Broad Street

proved to be the source for the spread of cholera in London.

  • Information graphics are specialized forms of depiction that represent their content in sophisticated and often abstract ways.
  • Fundamental decoding skill must be applied for individual elements such as graphics and icons.
  • Commonly used forms: Schedules, road maps, daily weather charts, transport system
design of descriptive graphics
Design of Descriptive Graphics
  • Organize
  • Reveal the Data
  • Focus on the content
  • Several levels of detail
  • Purpose
  • Make large data comprehensible
Web links

Map of creativity


Huricane Katrina


Travel time





Marcus, Aaron (1992). Graphic design for electronic documents and user interfaces. New York, N.Y. Addison-Wesley.

RAJAMANICKAM, VENKATESH (2005) Infographics Seminar Handout. National Institute of Design. Ahmedabad.

Rosenfeld, L., & Morville, P. (2002). Information Architecture for the World Wide Web (2nd ed.). Cambridge ; Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly.

Sassoon, Rosemary, & Albertine Gaur (1997). Signs, symbols and icons : pre-history to the computer age. Exeter : Intellect.

Tufte, Edward R. (1983) Visual Display of Quantitative Information. Cheshire, Conn. : Graphics Press

Tufte, Edward R. (1991) Envisioning information.Cheshire, Conn.: Graphics Press

Van Duyne, D. K., Landay, J. A., & Hong, J. I. (2002). The Design of Sites. Addison-Wesley.



Apple Human Interface Guidelines Copyright



GUIdebook by Marcin by Marcin Wichary






Tube Graphics