The fields of graphic design and semiotics are inextricably linked. In this way, the first logo creators were most likely the ancient Egyptians, who designed images to convey socio-cultural values and established visual codes of representation. But as the industrial revolution began to give rise to consumer culture as we know it, logo design remained mostly utilitarian; images that represented brands often depicted either the product, the service, or something related to its manufacture, such as a factory.





Link to the original The Atlantic video and article: https://www.theatlantic.com/video/index/568918/chermayeff-geismar/



  • to admire sth/sm – regard with respect or warm approval
  • to disassociate – if you disassociate yourself from something or someone, you say or show that you are not connected with them, usually in order to avoid trouble or blame
  • arbitrary – based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system
  • to work in parallel with sthtogether with and at the same time as something else
  • off the wall – eccentric or unconventional

Watch and listen

Answer the questions below.

  • What makes a really good logo? (00:00)
  • BJ was a heroin addict. What did he do? (00:30)
  • What was Chase? (01:00)
  • What is the job of a logo? (01:10)
  • What is the problem with lawyers? (02:45)


Practice Makes Perfect


Fill in the blanks with the correct form of the word in brackets. Go to: https://www.theatlantic.com/video/index/568918/chermayeff-geismar/ to find out more.


Then came Paul Rand with his ______ [ICON] rendering of the IBM logo in 1956. Many design historians see this as the __________ [DEFINE] turning point in logo design. Shortly thereafter, Ivan Chermayeff and Tom Geismar founded a design firm that would take things one step further.

“They _______________ [REVOLUTION] the field when they created simple, bold, memorable, and ________ [WHIM] identities for companies in a time when soulless corporate modernism was the trend,” said Dan Covert, whose short documentary, 60 Years of Logos, details the contributions of the grandfathers of logo design. “And because of that, their work has stood the test of time.”

In the film, Chermayeff and Geismar say that their theory of design ________ [REFLECTION] a company’s identity more so than it does a company’s purpose. “We interview a lot of people, and you get a sense of the culture,” says Chermayeff. “[In the interviews,] we’re  not talking about design; we are talking about what they do, who they are, and how might they best be _________ [PORTRAIT]. It’s a process of _____________ [INVESTIGATE], __________ [CREATE], and politics.”




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