Have you ever been in a situation where you have a great idea for a concept, you have put in the work, but the final results look weird and not what you had intended?

Before you throw away your idea, know that some designs will appear in a certain way whether or not we did it on purpose.

When designing a logo, carefully consider the merits of these principles first.

1. Thickness Is An Illusion

We have relied on the grid for so long that we sometimes fail to notice the little details that occur in our design.

Horizontal lines appear thicker than vertical

This is especially true in typography designs. Type designers always consider this when designing each letter.

In the illustration below, these two letters each have a different horizontal thickness at the top.

Horizontal Is Thicker Than Vertical

If you noticed, the upper part of the first image appears thicker than the other. The upper part of the image on the left has a thickness of 50px while the image on the right has 48px.

This is caused by the imbalance of the visual field, meaning that the human eye naturally perceives things to be vertically elongated.

It also applies to curves

In this next illustration, the image on the left has equal stroke thickness while the image on the right has its upper and lower sections thinned.

Horizontal Thickness On Curves

It is best to not take the stroke thinning too far, or else it defeats its purpose.

2. Your Perception Of Alignment Is Flawed

I know that most of us tend to rely on grids when designing, but the saying “learn the rules so you can break them” has never been so true.

The human eye is not perfect

Below are two play button icons, we can see that the first image is centred by the grid but the second image looks optically better.

Play Button Icon Grids

The reason for this is that the negative space that surrounds the image is not equal.

Negative space or white space – is the area of the layout that is left empty.

That is why we moved the play symbol located inside the circle a little to the right to compensate for the extra negative space.

Overshoot your curves

This is a well-known technique in type design and is common knowledge for people who design their own fonts.

The letters o, u, and e in the image below are extended a little to compensate for its negative space. By doing that, it appears aligned to the other letters.

Overshoot Your Curves

The Google favicon

In this image, you can see that the Google logo redesign last 2015 was not a perfect circle. It is designed in a way that the human eye can perceive it as a perfect circle, so they had to purposely break the grid to achieve that.

Google Favicon Grid

3. The Concept Of Light And Dark

This is another illusion where type designers are already familiar with.

Light colours will always appear thicker on dark backgrounds by the naked eye. Conversely, darker colours will appear more slender on light backgrounds.

This is known as the Irradiation Illusion by the German scientist Hermann von Helmholtz in the 1860s.

White Looks Thicker on Black

The solution is to simply use lighter stroked elements and increase the spacing when the background is dark.

Bonus: How Do I Make Sure That It's Balanced?

You don’t. There really is no strict rule for this because design is subjective.

These are just tiny little details that will aid you whenever you encounter these kinds of situations.

It all depends on your present judgement as a designer. Pretty soon you will learn to see what works and what doesn’t.

Check out this post if you want to know more ways to know how you can improve your designs.


Objects always appear thicker horizontally than vertically.

Your perception of alignment is really depending on the negative space.

You need to overshoot your curves to compensate for the negative spaces surrounding them.

Light-coloured elements always appear thicker on dark backgrounds. Dark-coloured elements appear thinner on light backgrounds.

By considering these things in your next project, you will be able to create designs that will be more aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

There are more techniques than the ones I have mentioned, they mostly belong in the realm of Gestalt Principles, so feel free to check it out if you want to dig deeper into this topic.

This doesn’t just apply to logo design but to mostly everything.

Which of these have you already implemented into your projects?