We demand a lot from logos.
A brand’s logo must be simple, yet still convey the ethos of the brand in a way that resonates with consumers. They have to be timeless and distinct, but still modern and consistent with contemporary graphic design trends.
It’s a lot to ask of a single symbol. As any designer will tell you, designing a logo that meets these varied expectations is no easy task.
Your logo’s main goal is to serve as a visual mark of your brand while transmitting your company’s message. Yet, the question remains: What makes a good logo? A great logo should embody your brand and be instantly recognizable. For example, if I say Nike, you can visualize the Swoosh logo instantly.
Because your logo is a key part of your brand, it’s crucial that it shines above the rest. Below are some key principles to keep in mind regarding what makes a great logo:
- Simple: Great logos feature unique elements without too much detail.
- Versatile: Your logo needs to look good across all platforms and devices.
- Appropriate: The font, colors and design of your logo should be a true representation of your brand.
- Unique: You want your logo to shine in a sea of competitors.
Should you follow trends when refreshing a logo or creating a new one? Your logo is the bedrock of your brand identity, but many other elements in your branding effort support it. It can be expensive and time-consuming to redesign a logo once it is established. A well-designed logo should last 10-15 years without an update. But when you do need a refresh, consider these trends before starting the design process.
Strive to create a logo that customers will understand, relate to and, most of all, remember. Try to keep colors similar to your original logo when refreshing its design. This will provide a smoother transition for your rebranding efforts. Your new logo should work in black and white as well as color and remain effective when used in a variety of sizes both in print and digitally.
“Design is the silent ambassador for your brand.” — Paul Rand
Whether for brand recognition, instant communicability or simply visual appeal, logos impact our daily lives in numerous ways.
When browsing the grocery store for food and drink, your eyes naturally settle on the logos on various brands’ product packages. The logo is what stands out to you and helps you make a faster selection, because it already communicates brand identity.
This trend seems to be telling of the general forecast for 2017, when the phrase “less is more” has never been more fitting. Logo design is moving toward a cleaner presentation, and it appears that this trend is only going to continue. For example, look at what Mastercard did with its much-vaunted, 20-year logo not too long ago.
For the past couple of decades, this brand used a combination mark with the text “MasterCard” appearing inside its signature red and yellow circles. Where the circles interlocked, there were horizontal red and yellow lines.
After the company’s rebrand last summer, its logo was still recognizable, yet markedly different. The company succeeded at this by moving to a much cleaner look that separated the wordmark from the symbolic aspect of the logo (the red and yellow circles).
Instead of having “MasterCard” rest inside the circles, the new logo now features the wordmark “mastercard” beneath the iconic treatment above. The interlocking lines are now replaced with overlapping circles.
The brand also revisited its typeface, changing the font to one that is rounder, presenting the name in lowercase, as well as removing the drop shadow.
The end result is a more concise, cleaner look that minimizes the brand’s identity going forward. Mastercard said that the redesign was inspired by a desire to brand itself consistently across all digital devices.
Fonts provide an emotional connection for your logo. Typography is moving toward simple and clean choices. Sans serif fonts are part of the long-term trend. They communicate that a product or service is modern, uncomplicated and easy to understand, and sans serif letters are easier to read on the web.
Late in 2015, Google changed its wordmark from a serif font to sans serif. The redesign is significant because it represents a change to a long-standing logo. The Google mark had been in use for 17 years before the redesign.
A serif font has its place and may be the right choice, depending on the goals of the brand. Serif fonts are easier to read in print. Some of the shapes of serifs are organic, and some are blocky. Slab or blocky serifs convey strength. More organic serifs convey tradition and reliability. The design style definitely gives off an edgier look that can be very appealing in certain categories.
These days, our lives are so geared toward technology that a handwritten note seems to be a thing of the past. Creating a logo that looks hand-drawn can invoke a variety of impressions, including: quirky playfulness, freshness and a casual feel — something that typed letters struggle to achieve. Warning: Make sure your logo remains legible. Handwriting is about signature and personality. Basically, this can be effective for any brand aiming to add more personality into its logo, and it tends to work well for restaurants and retail.
Script is trendy right now. Decorative fonts can also be tempting, because many of them have a great deal of personality and often provide a retro feel.
“Good design doesn’t date. Bad design does.”— Paul Rand
Trends in Iconography
Adding an icon in a logo is like putting a face to a name. Dropbox, Twitter and Apple are great examples. Icons help differentiate your brand from the competition. They can evoke emotion while adding a memorable element to your identity.
An interesting trend consideration is emojis. These little icons are becoming more and more a part of our daily communications. They are a great way to end a text and convey a complex emotion with one little mark. Case in point: the recent rebrand for Hershey. Their new logo includes a graphic of their iconic candy Kisses. However, their mark resembles the poo emoji! Social media made the connection, and hilarity ensued.
Your new or refreshed logo will not stand on its own. It will be part of your brand strategy. Other brand elements include your supporting fonts, color palette, imagery, brand story and voice. Your brand will become part of the online world, where approval and engagement are paramount. Be sure to develop an authentic brand identity that will build connections, be memorable and stand out from the crowd.
“A logo derives meaning from the quality of the thing it symbolizes, not the other way around.” — Paul Rand
When thinking about creating your logo, consider trends to make your brand look up-to-date, but not so trendy that it becomes outdated quickly. A well-planned, thoughtful logo design should make a lasting impression that stands out for many years! And, if you need a little help, we’ve got the people for that, contact us today!