In 2015, freelance graphic designer Richard Baird started an Instagram account to share his love for some of the best and most thoughtfully conceived logos of the mid-20th century.
Using a colour palette of black-and-white, and only featuring symbols with no accompanying brand names or logotypes, LogoArchive looked to spread the beauty and joy of historic identities by stripping them of all other assets and context.
Three years later, the LogoArchive account has grown in popularity and reached 122,000 followers. Then following a recent trip to Somerset House’s current exhibition on independent print magazines, Baird decided to immortalise the concept in print form.
“Seeing all the different formats at Print! Tearing it Up got me really fired up, and reconfigured the way I thought about independent publishing,” he says. “That it didn’t need to be excessive, but thoughtful and well-crafted.”
LogoArchive is now a quarterly, print magazine, published independently by Baird and printed by WithPrint, which will complement the existing Instagram account. After his visit to the exhibition, the first issue of the magazine was conceived, designed and sent to print in one day.
“This explores how we can reduce the distance between passion, conception and creating a material object,” says Baird. “Less things get in the way when we do it like this. Sure, mistakes can be made, but it is a very personal piece of work, and I wanted to express this philosophy.”
The first issue, which is out now, features just 10 pages plus the cover, translating the online archive into print form, with a curated selection of logos from the 1950s-80s, and a bit of contextual information about them. Logos featured include a charming elephant created for Canadian construction company M.C. Equipment in 1975, and a V-shaped bird icon made for German fashion brand Vogel in 1965.
But there are plans to grow the magazine, says Baird, with an extra four pages for every new edition and increasing the volume and breadth of editorial content. The format may also be rethought, such as by including logos in a chronological order. It is unlikely to be prescriptive, he says, with each issue likely to be different in layout and length.
“I liked the idea of a zine rather than a book because it gives me the chance to reconfigure the concept and content, create an on-going relationship with readers and develop a story,” Baird says. “A single book demands a resolution, is inflexible and is already familiar in logo design archival. Changing the mode of delivery is enough to reinvigorate a subject, which is essentially what the Instagram account did back in 2015.”
The design of the magazine reflects the monochrome design of the Instagram account, with white ink set against black (ebony) Colorplan card, which is 135gsm weight, with black stapling.
“I originally opted for black-and-white on Instagram for three reasons,” says Baird. “To draw the eye in, to emphasise the language of form and shape over colour, and to differentiate the account. You can’t really own logo archival, so all you have is curation and presentation.
“I wanted to honour LogoArchive’s origins in colour through the print version, and also honour its new physical form through quality,” he adds.
While the printed quarterly version of LogoArchive lacks the unlimited space of the online version, Baird says this will give him the opportunity to curate mid-century logos selectively for the various editions, be critical and make it a very personal project, while continuing to provide “inspiration” and spread “joy and immediacy” through his Instagram counterpart.
“I’d like readers of this zine to feel like they are buying into something unusual,” he says. “To show them that this is a total project, and hopefully inspire them to produce small zines of their own to share ideas and niche content, as many people did in the past. Hopefully this will show that it doesn’t need to be substantial or complete – it just needs to speak to people and have potential.”
The first edition of LogoArchive is available to buy online from Counter Print for £5, and is also stocked by Magma Books and MagCulture in the UK, and Standards Manual in the US. Baird, who currently works from Jack Renwick Studio’s space in London, worked with Withprint on the project.