We have been analyzing and considering 7-Elevens logo, identifying what gestalt principles hidden in the logo design. Lastly, we have chosen three gestalt principles to redesign the logo ourselves, chosen one sketch and made it digitally in a vector format using Adobe Illustrator.
THE GIVEN TASK
- Look at the following 7-eleven logos and consider their shape, form and simplicity of design. The way they communicate and are recognisable.
- Identify. In your own words explain what you consider 7-Eleven’s individual Gestalt principle to be. Describe the logo and put it into its own category.
- Pick any 3 gestalt principles and recreate 3 versions of the 7-Eleven logo according to your chosen principle. Be creative and innovative with how you do it. Sketch, plan, do it by hand before digitally creating your favourite in a vector format.
- Your entire process including sketches and research need to be loaded on your blog as part of this learning activity.
Before I can consider the logo, I want to look back at the company’s history.
The company was founded in 1927 under the name “Southland Ice Company” in Dallas, USA. Their original business idea was to sell ice blocks to the refrigerators, but some years later they began selling beer and liquor and milk, eggs and bread when the grocery shops had closed. The concept was built on increasing sales through customer satisfaction. This was when the business really took off – and convenience-trading was born.
The business expands and in 1937 the new convenience stops are called Tote’m Stores. In 1946 the name changes from Tote’m Stores to 7-Eleven to reflect the new extended hours – 7am to 11pm, seven days a week. Shops keep popping up all over the USA and in 1969, the company has 3.500 stores in the USA, goes international (opening up in Canada) and launches the new logo, (almost) as we know it today.
Answers task 1
From the company’s website, I found the 7-Eleven logo guidelines saying:
- When referring to 7-Eleven in copy, always spell out the word “Eleven”. It’s never acceptable to use the following: 7-11.
- Never use a portion of the logo.
- 7-Eleven must always appear in the square shape.
- There is one version of the 7-Eleven logo. The registration mark [ ® ] must ALWAYS appear as part of the logo and should be positioned as represented below.
- The square version is used for ALL applications.
Looking at the company logo guidelines I see that none of the logos in this case are correct use of the current 7-Eleven logo. In the square logo, the original 7-Eleven logo consists of the first five letters ELEVE in caps, and the last sixth letter “n” in lower case “ELEVEn”. The registration mark ® is not aligned properly and the green color is wrong (too bright). The guidelines also say that the square version is used for ALL applications hence the logo to the right is not a correct rendering of the original logo (even though this green color is more likely the correct color). The registration mark ® is not aligned properly here either (it should be like this: 7-Eleven®).
This being said, I will consider the logos and try to understand the thoughts behind the original 7-eleven logo design.
Both of the 7-Eleven logos in this task has a very simple design and are easily recognizable, using the company name and the same (complementary) colors; green, orange, red and white. It’s made of few elements and both logos are obviously from the same company. The square logo is a monogram and the horizontal logo is a wordmark. The wordmark (the logo to the right) might be easier to use for ads in papers and magazines, but I find the monogram logo (the square logo to the left) more appealing to the eye and easier to recognize and remember.
The square logo (1): Considering the company’s history, I interpret the logo as a white cup (for the ice, liquor, beer etc.), inside a green square (originally in 1946 a green circle) showing the original opening hours 7-eleven for convenience (at the time of launch – a unique position and selling point). The choice of company name made it easy to communicate and marketing the unique opening hours and easy for the customers to remember. The choice of logo also told something about the company and their products, and it still does.
Taking a closer look at the original 7-Eleven logo, it’s full of inconsistencies:
- The first E is not aligned with the top beginning of the 7.
- The last letter n’s end is not aligned with the end of the 7 nor at the top of the caps letters.
- As mentioned earlier the last letter is low caps whilst the other letters are caps.
- I’ve also read that the white bow between the orange and the red field in the 7 is not equal at the top and the bottom, but I’ve not being able to measure this myself.
- The orange and the red fields are neither aligned at the top right corner where they meet.
- I’m also not convinced the with cup is centered in the green square believing it’s a bit far more to the left than the right (I’ve measured it in Illustrator).
There are some basic rules in design as alignment, being consistent etc. It’s important to learn these rules to become good at design, but a great man once said:
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them as an artist”. Pablo Picasso
The inconsistencies in the 7-Eleven logo is probably not any coincidences, but rather a result of conscious evaluations and decisions.
As we can see from the logo in this given task, the square logo looks rather strict with the caps N at the end (as all the other letters are square) compared to the square logo with the low caps n. With the low caps “n” I also get an association to 11 with the small “n” consisting of two vertical lines combined with a bow at the top. I also think the top of the low cap “n” follows the bow-shape of the red field – making it harmonic in a way.
I can’t really answer why everything is not properly aligned rather than coming back to the point that maybe it is to not make it look too strict or just because it works better. Most likely they tested different versions of the logo before they decided and sometimes braking the rules just looks better.
The green color in the case-logo is a bit brighter than in the original logo, making it “scream” a bit too much with the orange and the red. In the original logo the green color is a bit darker, making the logo looking more elegant and harmonic.
The horizontal logo (2):
This logo is to me not as catchy, I would need to read it as I pass it and I think it would not work as good as the square logo. What I like better with this logo, is the color combination, being more harmonically with the darker green color. Here we also see the low caps “n” rather than the caps “N” and we can see this also makes it look more harmonic. Still, it’s not complete as it lacks the frame, the green square and the white cup we know from the original 7-Eleven logo.
The spacing of the letters is to me also too wide. The space between “7 – E” makes it look almost as it does not belong to each other, it’s far too much white space and the green “–“ is too long.
Even though this logo tells me the company name it does not tell me anything about their products. This logo is somehow more elegant and simple than the square logo, but I’m not sure it would stand out as much as the square logo because of it’s unique look.
Answer task 2
The original 7-Eleven logo is a design consisting of 6 elements; the green background, the white cup, the word ELEVEn in green, the green registration mark ® and the two design elements in orange and red making out the number 7. I consider the logo consists of the following gestalt principles:
The white cup, the area behind the text “7-Eleven”, framed by the green square showing us what their products are.
The number “7” is made of the orange and the red design-elements. As we can see – the “7” is braked up in pieces by two white areas; the white bow on the top between the orange and red fields and the white area behind the text “ELEVEn”. Even though, the eye catch the complete shape reading “7”.
This design element gives me associations to a road, a roadsign, a crossroad etc. and might show their placement of the shops where people are “naturally passing by”, the orange being the shop, the red being the road.
The red field, making the vertical part of the “7”, seems to continue at the bottom of the logo and at the upper right corner of the logo. The eye is drawn along the curve
- Common fate
As we can see, the orange bow and the red bow are moving in the same direction and are seen to be related. This is supported by the bow of the green low cap “n”. (This effect would have been totally lost with a cap “N”).
Answer task 3
As we’re supposed to be creative and innovative with this logo, re-creating it with three chosen gestalt principles, I choose not to follow 7-Elevens official guidelines for logo-use. Hence, I dare to do be totally free in how to design the new logo. The only thing I’ll try to stick to, are somehow a recognition of the company – either by elements, color, shape or font.
It’s difficult to choose three gestalt principles before I know what will work best, so I started sketching totally without thinking about the principles as a brainstorming. In my mind, I had the history of 7-Eleven and the current logo themes.
This is how my first sketches looked like:
As I progressed, two principles stood out to me: Symmetry and closure. I was not certain about the third principle I wanted to choose, so I tried both figure/ground and regularity and ended up with figure/ ground.
I continued sketching one principle at a time, now with colors as I wanted to keep some of the colors 7-Eleven is already known for.
As I thought my sketches in figure ground didn’t work I wanted to try a sketch of regularity too.
The figure/ground and the regularity sketches doesn’t work because the figure/ground will not work in b/w and the regularity is too complicated.
Of the symmetry sketches, the only one that will work properly, is the one in the right, down corner. It’s somehow funny because the 11 looks like a ”pause” sign, so I’ll anyhow try to make it digital just to see how it will come out. The two 7s are forming a cup and with this we keep an historical aspect in the logo. I’ve left out the red color to simplify it. It almost looks as a traffic triangular stop sign saying “PAUSE!”.
The closure sketches works better, but the one I want to try the most is the upper middle one as it’s keeping many of the elements in today’s original logo, but also simplifies it quite a lot.
I want to simplify the logo and try to separate the company name from the logo, so the logo can stand alone. This way, the logo can be used as a design element on paper, cups, napkins, envelopes, umbrellas, t-shirts etc. without the company name and still keep the same level of recognition.
I started with the closure sketch, as this was the one my reference group liked the most. I downloaded a logo from the company’s website along with the logo guidance. Here I got information about the company colors which I wanted to continue using.
The logo is not using the company name 7-Eleven, but as I want to design a logo, I have used 7-11 as the focus point. I believe people will easily recognize the company anyhow as I’m using the colors and the stripes in the correct order as used today (orange, green, red with white space between the different colors).
Starting the process, I noticed that I’m not familiar with the software yet, so I’m learning by doing, but it’s a good process to me.
My first result turned out like this. I thought it was way too detailed and not a successful simplifying of the logo. It has too many stripes and they are too small. The colors does not stand out enough and the 7 looks misplaced. The numbers 7-11 are too light and it’s not a good logo at all.
I gave it another go, and tried to improve the first result by editing everything; thicker and less stripes, thicker and better placed numbers (7-11) and better balanced top-bottom.
I was still not satisfied because the logo is not very pleasant to look at, so I decided to give it a last chance. I removed some of the stripes and made them even thicker, the numbers can be more centered and even thicker. It can also be more white in the logo.
The result is the best of the three, but I still don’t like it enough to feel the task is complete. This concept doesn’t work as good as I thought, so I started with the next sketch, the symmetry one.
I started off by thinking I had to simplify it even more by using just two of the colors and since orange and green are the ones standing most out for this company, I kept them.
In this first attempt, the number ”7” is easy to see twice (reflected). 11 is made as a “pause” signal in the middle and the white cup in the original logo appears in the white field between the two 7’s. I’ve attached the company’s logo at the bottom to see how it looks altogether.
I kind of like it and believe it works better than the closure principle ones, but I have to work more with it. Does the 7’s have to be so obvious? Maybe not.
This looks more peaceful, delicate and simple. It looks as a shield, the 7 it not as obvious, but it works and the II in the middle stands more out than in the first attempt. Maybe the number 7 is too difficult to catch? Hence, I tried to add the red color to one of the sides.
It works, the number 7 is more clearly, but now it’s not as elegant as the previous version. I tried to add a small, white space in the middle to see if it looks a bit more elegant and light.
I believe it helped, but to make it more comfortable looking at, I wanted to try to have the same space of white between the 7’s as between the 1’s.
I’m getting there, but as I now have the space between the two 7’s separating them, will it look better without the red color?
This is my finally result. The logo is true to the company’s history, some of the elements are kept, it’s both soft and strict and you get some associations to the existing logo.
It works both as a logo standing by itself and with the company name, it’s simple, easily recognizable and scalable.
In real life I must have worked with the scalable version as it looks too light in smaller version – I must have made the lines thicker making it look as the original sized one. Note to self.
This learning activities have been great fun to work with and challenging. It’s engaging using newly gained knowledge analyzing, evaluating and redesigning a logo. At the same time, I feel humble towards the designers who made them. The Lynda videos are great input when it comes to learning what to do and not to do, what to look for and how to do it. I’ve learnt a lot through this Learning Activities, understanding we have just barely touched the theme there’s a lot more to learn. I also know I have to practice using Illustrator as learning by doing is the best way with such software.
“What makes a good logo” by John McWade
“Logo Design: Techniques” by Nigel French
Logo Design Workbook “A Hands-On Guide to Creating Logos” by Terry Stone, Noreen Morioka and Sean Adams. Chapter 5: Logo Development.
7-eleven logo design