David Consuegra: The Design of Trademarks and its Relation to Pre-columbian Art. Patricia Córdoba

One of David Consuegra’s most prominent legacies was the design of trademarks and symbols. The ample work he did in this field shows how he managed to integrate and abstract graphic elements of pre-columbian art into the design of trademarks. One of his interests in studying this kind of art was to try to give a graphic identity to Colombian graphic design.


Consuegra’s interests in trademark design stem from his studies at Yale University in 1963. In the beginning of the 1960s he was also in contact with the renowned American trademark designer Paul Rand. Consuegra’s book De Marcas y Símbolos (1976) compiles a large amount of work he himself did in this field, and it also constitutes a significant theoretical and practical manual on the design of corporate identity in general.


In his book ABC de marcas mundiales (1988), David made a sound study of the use of letters as images in the design of trademarks. The examples illustrate how taking as a point of reference the initial letters of the name of a company or a product, the designer creates an image that aims to reflect an idea or action that evokes the essence of any given product or business.


David Consuegra’s studies on pre-columbian art and design were recorded in his seminal book Ornamentación calada en la orfebrería indígena precolombina (Muisca y Tolima, 1968), which was originally commissioned for the inauguration of the new premises of Museum of Gold in Bogotá. David was interested in exploiting the geometric nature of pre-columbian ornamentation, and he recognized in it a graphic quality that could be applied to his graphic design work. Indeed, Consuegra identified a timeless quality in the simplicity and geometric nature of pre-columbian design, and this in turn, informed some of his trademark designs.


The studies he did in this field also led him to question to what extent it was possible to combine graphic elements of a historic past in the design of modern trademarks and symbols. David’s intention was not necessarily to create a ‘Colombian graphic style’, but he saw the potential of integrating pre-columbian art in contemporary local graphic design. His practical and theoretical work provides an interesting alternative to the approach of trademark design, and his interests in this field are themes that still have resonance in contemporary Colombian graphic design.