School logo design, with a positive & negative twist.

By Phillip Sada, February 27, 2017

Grade Level

  • Middle School


  • Summer Design Institute

Subject Area

  • Arts
  • Language Arts

Lesson Time

150 minutes (3 class periods.)


Students will explore various ways graphic designers use positive and negative space. Students will study the design process and incorporate positive and negative space into the development of our school logo.

National Standards

Visual Arts: Content Standard 1: Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes Content Standard 2: Using the knowledge of *structures and functions Content Standard 3: Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas Content Standard 5: Reflecting upon and *assessing the characteristics that give meaning and value to a work of art. Comprehension and Collaboration: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.8.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.8.1.A Come to discussions prepared, having read or researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion. Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.8.4 Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.8.5 Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.8.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.


Students will be able to:   -research the vision and mission of the school     -engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.   -identify positive and negative space and make connections to the Elements of Art (line, shape, space, etc.)   -identify the design process and how designers use it   -create a logo design for the school with an eye-catching use of positive and negative space   -understand the qualities of a successful use positive and negative space in a logo design   -understand what a logo is   -create preliminary thumbnail sketches for logos   -participate in a critique   -create a final logo design and present to the class  


Internet logo images Magazines (various genres) Newspapers Product containers


-paper (white, black, colored) -rulers -pencils -compass -markers -scissors -glue sticks -PowerPoint presentation -magazines -fine tip brushes -black ink -acrylic paint


-elements of art: visual tools artists use to create art. Color, value, line, shape, form, texture, space, contrast, rhythm and balance. -positive space/shape: the objects in a work of art, not the background or the space around them -negative space/shape: the empty space surrounding shapes or solid forms in a work of art -geometric: a shape or form that has smooth, even edges (triangles, squares, ellipses) -organic: a shape or form that is irregular in outline, such as things in nature -design: to plan and make (something) for a specific use or purpose -designer: artists who plan the organization and composition of an artwork, object, place, ad, etc. -logo: a symbol that is used to identify a company and that appears on its products -mission statement: a formal short written statement of the purpose of a company or organization -font: complete character set of a single size and style of a particular typeface


Day 1: Learning Objectives: Students will examine and discuss the purpose of a logo. Students will examine multiple examples of logos with a specific use of positive and negative space and logos that don’t. Students will create a chart highlighting the similarities and differences. Set up: Have ready copies of magazines of different genres, newspapers, and websites, a projector, chart paper, post-its and drawing materials. 1. Teacher will create a chart. Students will brainstorm and identify what a logo is. 2. Compare and discuss logos via PowerPoint that effectively use positive and negative space and those that do not. Ask students to discuss the differences. 3. Divide the class into small groups (no more than four students) and hand out approximately six different logo designs. Ask students to examine successful designs and brainstorm strengths and weaknesses. Have them record their thoughts on post it notes. Each group will create a T-chart to present their favorite logo to the rest of the class. Day 2: Learning Objectives: Students will discuss the design challenge of incorporating positive and negative space in an eye-catching logo. Students will discuss the schools mission and imagery that can symbolize that mission. Students will create four thumbnail sketches for the challenge. Set up: Drawing paper, rulers, pencils, erasers, magazines, newspapers. 1. Discuss with students “What is a Design Challenge?” 2. Teacher presents the challenge of creating a school logo in which positive and negative space is used in a visually ‘eye-catching’ way. 3. Class discussion how successful logos utilize shape, line, contrast, rhythm. 4. Students create four thumbnail sketches for the design challenge. 5. Students share those logos with the class. Day 3: Learning Objectives: Students will select their strongest thumbnail sketch and refine for submittal to the Campus Leadership Team. Set up: Available supplies—fine brushes, black ink, acrylic paint, dark construction paper, white drawing paper, pencils, erasers, rulers. 1. Teacher models and discusses how students should select their strongest sketch to refine for the final logo design. 2. Students will use various art materials to compose their final design. 3. Class then votes three of the best designs to submit to the Campus Leadership Team.


Successful learning can be evident in teacher/student dialogue. It will also be evident in the revision stage of design, as well as during the group critique, and the end product. Differentiate instruction may include: Learning centers, art prints, step-by-step instruction, extended time, rubric guided lesson.

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