A new crop of logo design trends is popping up in 2014. Vintage hand types, action lines, hexagons and letter stacks are replacing yesteryear’s gradients, holding circles and ellipses. By definition, a trend favors what’s currently popular but also recognizes that a change in direction is just a matter of time. So what’s a designer to do when tackling a new logo design challenge? Follow or ignore what’s currently fashionable? And what does it take to craft a logo that withstands shifts in trends?
Logos and symbols endure with companies that endure. Designer Michael Bierut describes a logo or mark as simply a vessel to hold things that need to be filled in over time. Successful logos thrive on ongoing associations with the brand. Bierut provides Nike as an example. “The power you associate with the Nike swoosh has to do with all the associations that Nike has helped you make with it…the commercials and sponsorships.” He then compares logo development to a newborn: “In that delivery room when that baby is being born, people are trying to run that newborn for president, but it’s just a baby that doesn’t know anything, nor do we even know what it will look like when it grows up.”
Similarly, as designers, we all want to create marks that are beautiful and timeless, but logo development is an evolving process that reflects a brand’s growth, change and positioning in the marketplace. Some enduring marks, like Twinings Tea and BMW, have lasted for decades with surprisingly few changes. In contrast, Apple and Starbucks have made tweaks as their brands have continued to develop.
Ultimately, the client and the creative brief direct the path that logo creation should take. As designers, our role is to take this input and apply skills and imagination to craft a logo that expresses the brand with verve and originality. What makes this process work? Less is more, so strive for a simple design. Work in black and white first and don’t let color influence your initial designs. And, sure, it’s good to be aware of trends, but they don’t have to direct our creative direction. Sometimes that holding shape or gradient could be the perfect solution—and the beginning of one of those iconic logos that will thrive well into the future.
Ready to claim an iconic logo for your brand? Chat with Lynn Kaniper at firstname.lastname@example.org or 609.466.9187, Ext. 117, and we’ll make it happen.