What are the current trends?
The most obvious trend in logo design in the last couple of years has been the move towards extreme simplification and heavily reductive design. One only needs look to Instagram or BT’s rumoured new logo to see that companies are much more likely to choose an arrangement of very simple geometric shapes over anything more complex or thought provoking. We will briefly discuss some of the rebranding projects that have happened in the last couple of years and discuss the pros and cons.
Instagram chose to push away from their more illustrative logo of yesteryear with what can only be described as two circles inside a Squircle. Instagram has risen from a niche photo sharing app to being one of the foremost social media platforms out there. Moving from a much more niche market of amateur photographers, Instagram needed a brand mark that was inoffensive to the widest demographic whilst still maintaining brand recognition. Whilst there is reason for the shift, the general consensus, and that of ours at 47ink, is that they pushed too far into simplicity, creating what is ultimately an extremely bland and uninspired logo.
Like Instagram, Google also took the rebranding plunge in late 2015 with a much more geometric and simplified logomark. There was some mild uproar but the change was embraced for the most part. The old logo was starting to look tired and whilst some may have said that the old style serifs were what set the brand apart, I believe that the new mark is much more in keeping with what you would expect from such a tech behemoth. No doubt that the change was also intended to save Google a lot of bother as the new mark is much more legible at small sizes, as well as being infinitely more versatile.
Another trend that is starting to take hold is the digging up of nostalgic designs and polishing them off. The Co-Operative Group repositioned there brand back to the ‘clover’ logo of 1968. This was a welcome move, the previous logo was bland and unoriginal, whilst the new mark is immediately recognisable and extremely versatile. This type of compact logomark also lends itself really well to other elements of branding such as packaging and store signage.
In a world of simplification and reductive design it is so refreshing to see some people swimming up stream. Whilst the new mark is greatly simplified from it’s predecessor, it contains just enough subtlety and hidden meaning to grant a tip of the hat. The mark is very well constructed and thought out, the lion’s head has a perfectly round silhouette, subtly representing a football, whilst the pentagonal shapes that make up the face reinforce this connection. The mark is strong and easily recognised whilst pertaining to all the rules that a logo must adhere to in todays modern world. Easily viewed at small sizes and very versatile in shape.
Whilst most seem to be following the simplification trend, Guinness seem to be headed in the opposite direction. Often this can be asking for trouble, especially in the design world, but when one does it with the level of craft and precision that has been achieved by Guinness then you can’t help but stand back and simply doff one’s hat. Chapeau!
In this current marketing climate the lines between a clean simple logo and a simple circle have become extremely blurred. Have you ever heard the saying that a camel is a horse designed by committee? Just imagining how many different directors and investors all had a say in the Instagram refresh, it is no wonder that the resulting output is so anodyne. Great design really struggles under this limitation, and if we are not careful, soon we will all be sitting in a room surrounded by camels.