Every brand aspires to create THAT logo – the Nike Swoosh, the Pepsi circle, the Starbucks thingy that you can recognize on a highway sign, a mile away. But what is it that makes a logo remarkable and memorable? Logo design trends are evolving as designers become more willing to find inspiration in past trends while they stretch the limits with new styles of color, design, and storytelling.
A remarkable logo doesn’t just happen. There are multiple design elements that go into creating a well-received and relevant logo. Let’s look at some of the strategies that designers are using to make 2019 an exciting year in logo design.
Negative space is an interesting design trend and designers are using it in unexpected ways. Removing something from a design results in that area being forced to take a more emphatic role in the design. The goal of the designer is to pull elements away to the point where one more step would break down the design completely.
One of the most well-known logos that utilizes negative space is one from FedEx. If you are saying to yourself, “what?”
Look at the negative space between the E and the x in the word Ex…do you see the arrow? You’ll see it every time, now!
When the Big10 athletic conference added Penn State as the eleventh member, they used negative space to acknowledge the change in their numbers without losing their iconic conference name. Do you see the negative space 11?
It doesn’t take a color theory expert to pair a color like yellow with the concept of happiness or the color green with nature and calm. Gone are the days of choosing bold colors simply to attract attention. The right combination of colors can help a brand more effectively communicate and designers take into account the generally agreed upon relationship between colors and the energy and emotions they each elicit.
Color communicates important information to the viewer. The purposeful use of colors can convey meaning that speaks directly to the target audience. So, whether your brand needs an elegant black and white combination or your environmental foundation merits a green color scheme, be sure to include the “why” behind color choices in your conversation with your logo designer.
The color combination of TR’s Front Row Sports Bar & Grill in Waukegan, Illinois isn’t necessarily aimed at viewers’ emotions, but rather their stomachs! The orange and red combination not only provide a punch of color, but they also represent a slice of the delicious pizza that TR’s is known for.
To overcome the cold, authoritarian reputation of geometric designs, designers are pairing those geometric creations with vivid colors and more approachable configurations. These warmer versions of geometric design create clean, minimal, and yet strong logos.
And believe it or not, these shapes project messaging in a manner similar to colors. Lines indicate motion or traveling while a four-sided shape represents stability or a solid foundation.
In the logo above, we see the use of bold colors and shapes to separate portions of the brand name and represent a slice of pizza. The triangular arrows across the top of the design feel like they are leading us into the restaurant. (Or, perhaps, they are a subtle nod to the darts games available!)
Elements that Overlap
Overlapping elements within a design can make use of a combination of color, geometry and negative space. Different levels of opacity and transparency can be used to create eye-catching logos with these overlapping elements.
The Lake Villa, Illinois based real estate investment group, Rehab Artists, features a logo that overlaps the two words in their brand name. The designer used a unique combination of a more formal font for the word “Artists” and a scaffold-looking font for the word “Rehab”. The scaffold type font is a nod to the group's work of purchasing, renovating, and then flipping real estate properties.
Minimalism is a decades-old concept but in today’s evolving digital landscape, some might argue it is more a necessity than a trend. Consumers are overwhelmed with the racket of copious digital content. Designers are using minimalistic design concepts to shut down some of the noise with clean, simple, and, sometimes, abstract logo designs. The goal here is to strip down a design to its core elements to present an uncompromised, aesthetic visual.
The logo for our own organization, Strategy Driven Marketing, is a simple design with a classic combination of black and white coloring. The logo uses negative space to break up what would otherwise be standard lettering. Some overlap between the D and the M also adds a bit of interest to this straightforward visual representation of our brand.
Attention to Detail
Traditionally, many logo designs avoided too much detail given the minimal space often used to display them and the need to be responsive in multiple applications. There has been a shift in this thinking and designers are now working to integrate meaningful attention to detail in direct contrast to the minimalism others are embracing.
Notice this example of attention to detail in both the eyelashes and eyebrows in the logo. While the same image could have been created with fewer pen strokes, the meticulous placement of each lash line and the pure number of lashes drawn communicate well the results clients can expect from the services offered.
This shift in thinking not only applies to larger, more noticeable aspects of a logo, but also to details only a graphic designer would notice. For instance, attention to the kerning of text (appropriate space for the letters to breathe), proper shadowing, specific fonts and more will make the difference between an okay logo and a remarkable one.
Responsive and Variable
Brands and designers are both aware that all of their content, logos included, are likely to be viewed via multiple platforms and device types. The needs of digital impact how logos are designed. Responsive logos that are completely scalable for the modern web are becoming increasingly important. Take the concept of responsivity a few steps further and you get to variable logos that adjust depending on the audience.
Variable logo design provides a more individualized relationship between the brand and its customers. Standard typography can be paired with a series of interchangeable images. For example, a theatre company might change the background of a logo to display the current production while keeping intact whatever text represents their brand. There might be three versions of a logo where one is the full brand name, the second a shorter version of the name and the third and abbreviation of the brand name. The goal is to keep the logo recognizable while adapting to a specific segment of the target audience in flexible and creative ways.
The Chicago based Mario Tricoci Hair Salons and Day Spas uses variable logos depending on whether their brand is being featured on a website, gift card, or branded clothing.
A timeless logo will reflect the attitude and style of a brand. While design trends can inform our work, we should avoid latching on to vogues that will be outdated in a year. Your brand logo is a mental shortcut to your products or services and presents something unique and specific to consumers. So, let your logo communicate how serious, fun, or dependable your business is and let it distinguish your brand from the competition.
The graphic design team at Strategy Driven Marketing specializes in logo design, branding guidelines, business cards, and any other branded materials our clients dream up. We’d love to help you nail down a logo design that captures the essence and personality of your brand. Contact us today to get started!