The History of the Polish Logo
by Jon Dowling·
As you may be aware by now, we are quite partial to a logo book or two here at Counter-Print. As part of our job, we enjoy uncovering the more obscure titles in this genre for the site and there is one particular logo book that I’ve been meaning to write an article on for some time.
‘Symbol to Logo’ by Partryk Hardziej and Rene Wawrzkiewicz captures the brilliance of Polish marks between 1945–1969 and 2000–2015. Why these dates? Well, the marks in ‘Symbol to Logo’, are collected from two exhibitions of the same name, which took place fifty years apart. Both exhibitions came to fruition at significant historic moments in world history: the first – almost 25 years after the end of World War II and the second 26 years after the fall of Communism in Europe.
This book was designed to accompany the second exhibition, which presented the unknown history of logo design in Communist Poland and served as a reminder of forgotten stars of Polish design and their works. The aim was to show how the design of logos and visual identification had changed since the post-war years to the present day – from hand-drawn graphic symbols to digitally-rendered logos; from artistic graphic symbols to logos designed for commercial brands; and, finally, from individual symbols to complex visual identities.
The book does a great job of documenting this discovery, by outlining the history of Polish graphic design and the influence a totalitarian political system where aggressive propaganda played a central role, shaped the visual landscape. We are introduced to the key designers of marks from this country, with biographies and brief histories behind certain logos. As such, the book works on many levels and is a very satisfying edition to this ever-growing genre.