Positively Negative: Part 1

Posted by on Mar 18, 2012 in Branding, Design, Illustration | 2 Comments

California Conservation Corps logoI’ve always been a big fan of the conceptual use of negative space in design. Michael Vanderbly’s logo for the California Conservation Center, pictured here to the right, being one of my all-time favorite applications of this design technique. And as witnessed by the number of rip-offs of this that exist, I’m not the only fan of this design slight of hand.

IBM Smarter Planet PosterI was recently in the Delta terminal at the Reagan National Airport, enjoying a hot cup of coffee with my wife Lynne and patiently waiting to board our flight back to Boston, when I noticed that the food court was surrounded by a series of posters for the IBM Smarter Planet campaign. Created by Ogilvy Paris, each poster consists of a simple headline set in a slab serif font (Lubalin Graph) with a supporting illustration rendered in a bold and simple graphical style. Each image incorporates a creative and beautifully conceived use of negative space which when combined with the headline creates a smart and memorable poster. What a treat it was to be corralled by this wonderfully executed campaign.

Follow the link below to see a number of these stunning posters and kudos to the designers, writers, and illustrators involved in this project. -PK

IBM Smarter Planet Poster

IBM Smarter Planet Poster

IBM Smarter Planet Poster

IBM Smarter Planet Poster


  1. John Young
    March 19, 2012

    Great post. I appreciate you pointing how the IBM posters reach back for inspiration, but are and feel very contemporary. Still able to entertain and inform too!

  2. jeff
    March 21, 2012

    thanks, paul, now i see it everywhere. check out the FedEx logo. I had never realized there was an arrow between the E and the X until this evening.


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