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