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The Editor's Blog

From the Desk of the Blog Editor

The Secret to a Great Logo and a Great Relationship

Can you see the stethoscope between ‘D’ and ‘J’ in our updated logo?

If so, you have just shared the same lightbulb moment, as James and I, when we first saw the design last week!

Initially, we were reluctant to lose our ‘beloved’ stethoscope, but we were left in awe when our journal designer, Hugh Griffiths, presented this design. Hugh is a PhD student at Cardiff University, who is currently researching digital platforms and their impact on learning. He has worked in a range of senior and executive roles in central government, most recently in branding and cooperate communications, as well as being one of the public sector’s earliest brand managers. In his spare time, he kindly volunteers to help design the journals published by the Cardiff University Press, including his most recent task, The Student Doctor Journal.

We were particularly impressed by the logo because it follows in the footsteps of some of the most famous brands, particularly in the use of negative space. Negative space is the empty or open space around an object that defines it. Designs with negative space are usually simple designs with a large impact, as it creates intrigue from the perspective of the viewer and a sense of reward, partly due to the feeling of inclusion, and the discovery of the subtle hidden image or message. The same application of negative space can be applied to type as well. Compare the two texts below, one with no leading and one with leading. What makes the bottom much more readable? Again, it’s the use of negative space.

Negative space adds simplicity yet definition to a design, making the logo memorable and iconic. One of the most successful examples of negative space in a logo is the FedEx logo, described as a masterpiece of modernist design and subliminal messaging.

Can you spot the white arrow? (Clue: between E and x)

FedEx is a delivery and courier company, which primarily focuses their advertising on speed and efficiency, signified by the white arrow in the ‘negative space’. The CEO Fred Smith wanted his logo to be seen from vans “five blocks away”, in which he has succeeded. The FedEx logo has won over 40 design awards, and is often credited as one of the greatest and most popular logos ever designed. The creator, Lindon Leader, an American graphic designer and a recipient of more than 30 prestigious design awards, designed the logo in 1994. When interviewed about his work he said the following:

"Great design is born of these two things – simplicity and clarity. I think that’s what we all want from design, and from business, from our work, even from our friendships."

At The Student Doctor, we also share a similar ethos:

“To provide a platform for sharing the critical thought and creative flair of medical students, packaged in a simple, modern and accessible way”.

Therefore, we are proud that our new logo represents this goal, and we hope you like this new design too. Thank you Hugh!

Shivali Fulchand and James M. Kilgour




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