Modernism and the birth of corporate identity

A new Taschen book aims to draw a line between Modernism and the birth of corporate identity, using 6,000 beautiful logo examples.

Design system from 1973 for Canadian outdoor advertising organization Claude Neon Limited by Gottschalk+Ash. Five versions of the initial letter “C” of the company name were used for the logo, complemented by a palette of four colors in various combinations
Design system from 1973 for Canadian outdoor advertising organization Claude Neon Limited by Gottschalk+Ash. Five versions of the initial letter “C” of the company name were used for the logo, complemented by a palette of four colours in various combinations

A new book by Taschen aims to draw a line between the Modern movement and the birth of corporate identity.

Logo Modernism is written by Jens Müller, creative director of Düsseldorf studio Optik and editor of the A5 book series on graphic design history.

The title brings together around 6,000 “Modernist” logo designs. The logos are sorted into three chapters: geometric, effect and typographic, and sorted within those chapters by style and form.

Massimo Vignelli’s visual identity for American Airlines, 1967
Massimo Vignelli’s visual identity for American Airlines, 1967

Publisher Taschen claims that while Modern aesthetics in architecture, art and product design are “familiar to many”, the study of Modernism in graphic design is “less well-known”.

The new book, Taschen says, will “examine how Modernist attitudes and imperatives gave birth to corporate identity”.

Logo Modernism focuses on corporate identity between 1940 and 1980 and showcases many well-known projects, such as Design Research Unit’s British Rail identity and Massimo Vignelli’s American Airlines logo.

Spread from the book
Spread from the book

It also features some less familiar icons, such as Henrion Design Associates’ beautiful 1960s peacock logo for Penguin Childrens Books and the unusual bear-on-a-wheel identity East German mill Saalemühlen by Gerhard Brone.

There are more detailed studies of key projects such as the Fiat identity and Lance Wyman’s Mexico 1968 Olympics identity, and profiles of designers including Paul Rand and Anton Stankowski.


Logo Modernism, by Jens Müller and R. Roger Remington, is published by Taschen priced at £44.99.

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