Ambiguity of Positive and Negative Space: Girl Scouts

girl scouts.jpg

The Girl Scouts logo is an excellent example of the utilization of positive and negative space in logo design.  The original logo was designed by Saul Bass in 1978, and it was revised in 2010 by the The Original Champions of Design.  See an in-depth explanation of the improvements on the Girl Scouts logo as well as the company’s typeface here.

Both the original and revised logos show two distinct images that are significant to the Girl Scouts organization: three girls, and the trefoil motif.  The positive space in the logo and the overall shape itself represents the trefoil.  This symbol is included in the logo because it has three leaves, which represent the three parts of the Girl Scout law that reads “To serve God and my country, to help people at all times, and to live by the Girl Scout law.”  Within the trefoil there are profile views of three girls, each slightly different (especially in the newer version of the logo).  This is an important part of the logo because the Girl Scouts organization supports all girls of every background and community in the development of leadership skills and believing in themselves.

When I first look at this logo I see the profile of the girl on the left, but as my eye travels around the image I notice the other girls and trefoil created by the interaction of positive and negative space.  Therefore, the ambiguity of positive and negative space within the Girl Scouts logo is very effective.

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