Carrie Rengers

‘King of logos’ appreciates the respect, could do without the names

In addition to creating logos for clients, Bill Gardner spends a few months of every year doing what you might call extracurricular logo work.
In addition to creating logos for clients, Bill Gardner spends a few months of every year doing what you might call extracurricular logo work. File photo

After 15 years of doing logo trend reports for Graphic Design USA, a trade publication for the design and print industry, Bill Gardner says it’s the rare logo story “that I don’t end up getting a call for.”

“It’s kind of fun,” he says.

However, he’s had more fun with one recent story than most.

Fortune did a June 16 story headlined “How Logos Became the Most Important Quarter-Inch in Business.” Gardner says he spent an hour and a half on an initial conversation with the reporter and then some more time later.

Gardner says he appreciates being in a publication like Fortune, especially with the company he keeps.

“All the other people they’re talking to are on a coast or in a high-rise in a larger metropolitan city.”

He says he’s been called the “king of logos,” the “logo maven” and the “logo god.”

Wichita helps keep him level-headed, though.

“In Wichita, they just call me ‘that guy.’ 

Gardner says he actually doesn’t want the monikers, because people often then think ‘Oh, he just draws logos.’ ”

With his annual logo trend report, Gardner says, he plays “the world’s largest version of match game” by comparing logos and looking for trends and identifying symbolism.

He says what “started as just a report in a magazine” has grown to be reproduced multiple places, and he teaches a course on it through LinkedIn Learning.

“It’s just grown and grown into something larger and larger,” Gardner says. “It’s come to the point where it absorbs about two to three months of my time in the spring dealing with it.”

Gardner says the attention helps build a reputation for his company and for his LogoLounge website, a resource for the design industry that has more than a quarter-million “highly searchable” logos.

At the end of February, Gardner had a call for entries for his 10th LogoLounge book, and there were 40,000 logos submitted.

“That is the largest competition in identity or just design of any kind with that level of submission.”

Gardner says all of his logo work – the kind he does for clients and all of what you might call the extracurricular logo-related work – helps bring in more clients and better ones at that.

“Keep in mind, gee, we’re in marketing.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers

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