Logo design is one of the most dynamic fields of art and design. Practitioners of the art are always under pressure to deliver visually impactful designs on a more minuscule scale than in other related pursuits. This has given rise to a number of trends driven by technology, changing consumer preferences and evolution of media. Crucially, how well a logo designer manages to keep in touch with these changes is what separates winners from the also-rans. That is why this definitive guide to the emerging trends in logo designs this year is so timely. It will provide you with all the lowdown you need to begin incorporating the hottest trends in your logo design pursuit.
You might be asking yourself: since when was brand identity not required to be authentic? Of course, never. But the authenticity required in modern logo design transcends the basic interpretation of the term from a semantics point of view. It speaks to a primordial need for brands to retain an attachment to the values, passions, and aspirations which underlie their formation and appeal to loyal customers.
Authentic logos are therefore more than just iconic representations of a company brand on electronic screens. Authenticity goes beyond brands being themselves to their being honest about who they are. It is about retaining a rustic appeal while remaining relevant and appealing in an age of cut-and-paste approach to solving issues.
Authenticity is also about cutting your losses and carving a comfortable niche. There is no need to be like everyone else and follow the same well-beaten path. This is especially true of brands joining the fray in an industry dominated by big money brands. Authenticity stemming from the logo design will help create an immediate impact with millennials who are still the tour-de-force driving sales and brand loyalty across the whole gamut of services and product categories.
2. Free Hand Design
Hand drawn, handmade and handwritten logos are attaining a bigger prominence this year. Expect even more expressive designs as the year proceeds apace. Brands are using this approach to connect with their customers at an intimate level.
On the face of it, it would seem a tall order to translate a hand-drawn design to the incredibly versatile digital media platform. However, with the emergence and evolution of smart digital scanners, light pens and intuitive vector tracing technology, this is no longer much of a problem for the intrepid designer looking to incorporate the authenticity of artful concepts to their logo work.
There is no better way to convey a personal touch, authenticity, and warmth to a design than to incorporate hand-drawn elements. The logos work very well in such service industries as food and drink, restaurants, hospitality, and skills coaching. Handwritten typography is especially unique as it offers you a product that cannot be copied or fraudulently replicated.
3. Variable Logos
The very idea of a logo that changes was anathema to both designers and marketing executives barely a decade ago. But that is no longer the case. With many brands intent on capturing the imagination of a largely distraction-prone populace, visual impacts which deliver on certain mediums of to different demographics are now more appealing than ever. This has given a huge amount of impetus to the concept of variable logos.
As the year proceeds, you will notice an even bolder approach to the idea of variable logo design. The need to retain the same look-and-feel or font is no longer a cardinal rule. You will witness imaginatively designed logos which morph from concept to concept: badge to handwritten, figurative to outlined. The overarching idea is that no matter how variable a logo looks on different platforms, the basic visual language in which it was first conceptualized must be discernible, and prominently so, across the different interpretations.
It is worth noting that variable logo design is substantially different from responsive logo design. The latter is a concept that has been around for quite a while. Responsive concepts are inherently capable of changing depending on the medium of display. In other words, these logos are created to change visually depending on the platform but they are the same concept. Variable logos are far much bolder, versatile and impactful than responsive ones.
Also referred to as the “textbox” approach to logo design, simplification is a counterintuitive approach to logo design that is however gaining plenty of traction in the present age. Simple, textbook-like logos are making a comeback and this trend is certain to ramp up the further we move on into the year. However, as shall become clear presently, simplicity goes far beyond confining text in a bland rectangle in the name of brand identity. Indeed, as Leonardo da Vinci sagely said, “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”.
Simplicity and modularity are the design concepts that are paving the way for textbox logos. The design gurus behind this new approach eschew ornamentation and favor an uncompromising and simpler visual aesthetics. These logos are almost always represented by a simple shape with prominent sans-serif typography.
It should be noted that simplification is a subset of the more wider ranging idea of minimalism. Moreover, simplified logos are anything but static. They have much more versatile usage than more overt ideas and can be easily layered on photographs and videos without proving disruptive for instance. They can also fluidly change color and layout, become see-through or inverted without losing their instant recognizability.
5. Negative Space
In art and design, negative space is the space left in the background behind and around the subject of an image or graphic. For instance, when the uppercase H is represented on a surface, the negative space comprises the two rectangular shapes above and below the letter’s middle bar.
The push behind exploiting and leveraging the negative space in graphics and typography is derived from the need to incorporate visually impactful concepts which are thought-provoking and authentic at the same time. It is about taking away something from a visual idea and, in effect, elevating the empty space left behind into a more assertive role in your presentation. This may sound like a nigh impossible effect to achieve but when brilliantly executed, the idea of negative space is visually arresting as it is memorable. If you are in doubt, just take a careful look at how the FedEx logo manages to leverage the idea of negative space to encapsulate what the parcel delivery company is all about.
Leveraging the negative space in logo design bespeaks more about ensuring the negative space represents a visually appealing, interesting and impactful message rather than making it the subject of the entire graphic representation. It is about retaining a balance and perspective in the entirety of the representation rather than robbing the subject of the graphic of its intended meaning.
In the final analysis, logo design is undergoing a spectacular revolution this year. If you are to keep pace with the changes, you need to incorporate authenticity, natural handmade concepts, inbuilt versatility, simplified modularism and effective exploitation of the negative space in graphics and typography. Here is to a year of inspirational and winning logo designs.