By Bill Gardner of logolounge
Trend-watching, until recently, has largely been an exercise in watching connections form between direct associations. Photoshop releases a new filter, and voila – entire raft of logos take on that effect. A particular illustration style is featured in a successful advertising campaign or movie, and in what seems like minutes, the flavor of that art starts to enhance corporate identities.
Periodically, something truly surprising and unexpected pops up. Finding those little treasures are one of the great perks of categorizing 27,000 logos, as LogoLounge and a talented panel of judges just did in preparation for our fourth book. But there’s always that natural undercurrent of influence that touches this design and that, a drift of scent, a faint change in air temperature. It’s there, but almost not.
This year, however, it seems as though there has been a change in the nature of trends themselves. Instead of a hub-to-spoke relationship in which trends fan out from a central source, prevailing tendencies in logo design now seem to send out long underground runners that poke through the dirt in unrelated, unexpected places, anywhere in the world. It’s harder and harder to trace the rhizomatous spread of ideas anymore – which truly is a good thing.
What follows are 15 trends that have indeed popped up all over the world. Overcasting them all are prevailing winds that are worth noting first:
- We saw less emphasis on sustainability or general “greenness” in logo design. There’s plenty of natural imagery, but being “green” doesn’t seem all that unique anymore.
- Colors are becoming more vivid. Desaturation has drained away, and the chroma factor pumped up.
- There’s an overall move toward cleanliness – in type, in line, in color – as if ideas are getting more and more succinct. It may be an indication of the degree of seriousness with which branding is now regarded.
- Less is more common: less calligraphy, less Photoshop tricks, less artificial highlights.
- Found pattern and illustration hang on and on and on. With a bottomless treasure chest of visual history constantly at the ready through retail collections and over the internet, it’s a direction that’s not likely to run its course soon, if ever.
And now, the trends. Please remember that they are gathered here to chart long-term movement or change, not to offer design suggestions. It’s a living history. The key is to study the trends, then evolve forward – as far forward as you can leap – from them.
Imagine what astrophysicists would label a supernova or the eruption and attendant explosion of a star. In a light show reminiscent of the jump to hyperdrive in the original Star Wars, these logos attack the challenge of motion head on. For years we’ve seen marks that have created the impression of motion from a profile perspective using streaks or blurs to signify speed.
These examples drive a field of elements toward or away from the viewer using a variety of methods. The LodgeNet logo (by Jerry Kuyper) advertises the company’s in-room movie service by flying a picture at you with a smart explosive technique. This blast is simple in construction and void of halftone – particularly interesting considering the product is an online commodity that could easily have justified overboard solutions replete with RGB trickery.
1. Jerry Kuyper for LodgeNet 2. Gabi Toth for Halo Consulting 3. Crave Inc. for IQ Beverage Group 4. Mirko Ilic Corp. for Dr. Zoran Djindjic Fund
Consistency of line weight is one of the tenants of good logo design. It builds rhythm and ensures legibility at first glance. Forget this rule for this category. Turn your line weight down to hairline and start drawing. Most of these logos live on two levels: first glance, and then second glance, with reader glasses. Typically, a heavier image with message one serves as a background field. The more profound message two is generally encrypted over the top of or knocked out of the heavier image.
Fine strokes weights may read as no more than pattern initially, but they can also carry the dichotomy of a counter message. A variation on this is the use of linear art en masse to create enough weight to define a message as in the PULSE logo. This yin yang process tends to captivate the viewer and lends a sense of intelligence to a mark that doesn’t require a hammer to impart a subtle message.
1. Louis Fili for The Mermaid Inn 2. Hula + Hula for Cartoon Network Lainamerica 3. Unit for Artists for Peace 4. Point Blank Collection for Pulse
Imagine being asked to design a logo with a long strip of paper as your only tool. These quasi origami style solutions craft out a sense of dimensionality despite staying relatively flat. The material from which these are created range from (but are not limited to) transparent film, metal, and paper. There seems to be a message of cleverness and economy of stroke in many of these.
Sometimes the simplicity of the folds takes on additional meaning when the substrates demonstrate unique properties. Note how the opposite side of the material changes to a different color at every fold in the TURN logo. Or see how transparency enforces the visual overlap of material. In some ways, this technique creates a bit of a puzzle effect. It engages the viewer as it tempts them into tracing out the path of the mark or trying to determine if the folds could really occur as offered.
1. PMKFA for Yes King 2. Gardner Design for Liberty Capital 3. A3 Design for Urban Architectural Group 4. Addis Creson for Turn
What a refreshing outlook this trend presents. Time was that any company involved in international commerce gave some passing consideration to a globe as their logo. It’s a solution that has become terribly challenging to address with an original perspective. These logos at least have the honesty to step back and say, “Hey, we may not be fully global yet, but give us time.” All of these marks rely on a centric pattern that diminishes at the edge and then warps out to wrap the sphere in symbolic expansion.
Cato Purnell Partner’s diverse group of solutions for Dubai Airport succinctly communicates a key message. Commerce, travel, and tourism have made Dubai a true crossroad for international travelers, and this world-class logo has found a unique way to express the point. Using the Islamic sacred symbol of an octagram, or eight-pointed star, the logo starts to envelope the global sphere with its spreading tile mosaic. The dissemination of a culture is no accidental message in this mark.
1. Lippincott for XOHM 2. Cato Purnell Partners for Dubai International 3. Futurebrand BC&H for Transpiratininga 4. FIRON for Novatel
Looking for more logo trends? Look no further. read the entire review here.
*Source: Logo Lounge