BY BILL GARDNER, PRESIDENT OF GARDNER DESIGN AND FOUNDER OF LOGOLOUNGE.COM
I can’t believe it, but this is the 15th LogoLounge Trend Report, and nothing yet everything has changed in the last decade and a half.
Certainly, the depth of this report has grown more robust as this exhaustive review included the literal evaluation of just better than 25,000 logos submitted over the last year to LogoLounge.com. In addition, we continue to review all major brand identity shifts of note introduced worldwide. If it happened during the last 12 months, it hit our Trend Report radar.
This year’s trends weren’t so much a revelation as a continuation and evolution of things we noticed last year – which isn’t a bad thing. There are three design baselines I noticed this year:
1. Last year, simplicity ruled the roost, and it still does. We’re still coming out of that period, and it’d be fair to say that the pendulum has barely moved. Simple shapes, lines, type, and forms either converged or played solo to create solid, lasting marks that are easily interpreted. If anything, we’re starting to see a bit of an upswing with more attention given to those really simple elements that we were looking at last year.
2. Stripes have appeared in massive abundance. They are being used in concentric circles, letterforms, and patterns to indicate movement, like chevrons, zig zags, and waves.
3. Geometry is really coming in to play. Geometric shapes and forms that create multidimensional logos, often using monolines, were prevalent.
As you start to think about trend longevity, it has to be a really relevant, useful tool for designers to continue to use it for a decade. Transparency and monoline are a couple of trends that have had long lives because they continue to evolve. Every time I think they’re dead, they continue to sprout; they put out new roots, and something else blooms. And that’s cool because it shows me that designers aren’t being complacent. They’re trying to find new ways to push it forward, and that’s what’s supposed to happen. For instance, Michael Bierut and Pentagram transformed the MasterCard logo by going back to a pure transparent overlay and getting rid of the striped element in the middle. By laying one circle over the other, you see the intensity build up. To me, this is a trend that I could’ve just as easily reported on ten years ago, but now it is more complex, bringing new relevance.
We also follow what is happening in other areas of design like fashion, consumables, or motion graphics in film, commercials, television shows, and other mediums. It’s not uncommon for concepts from those areas to carry over into identity design. For instance, Apple is currently running a commercial for Apple Stickers. It’s basically a quasi-set of emojis that are unique to Apple. They’ve hired a whole series of designers and illustrators to create these Apple Stickers. As you look at them, you can see how they’ll translate to identity design. In that same commercial, you’ll notice the Apple logo being animated with a rainbow series of high-chroma colors that are bursting out of the middle of the apple. We’ll likely see that soon translating to logo design.
Another thing that’s happening is logos that are trading in rotating fields like polka dots, wavy lines, checkers, stripes, and other patterns. Designers are placing these as still images or occasionally using animation to move images in and out of the inside of a mark. It’s not a new idea, but it’s coming back with traction.
This is the first year that we started to see logos that were utilizing drones as a design element. It’s kind of interesting, but likely short-lived. I imagine, for better or worse, we’ll see more of this as drones become more mainstream, just as game controllers became a design artifact for a brief period.
Other things that caught my attention, but weren’t ready for the trend label: Orbiting rings with little balls on them. Think atomic satellite rings; Highly geometric animals, constructed of circles and squares and other simple geometry; Monoline logos that appear over a splash of pastel color; Exertion marks. Four or five little strokes coming off the top to show stress or effort; Steps, which is kind of a continuum of the “Ombré” trend from last year, except using stepped values of color rather than elements; Fat lines, a lot of the really thin monoline stuff that we had seen going on previously are putting on some heft, and employing fewer lines.
And, of course, I have to mention the things that annoyed me: octopuses, narwhals, turtles, hummingbirds, avocadoes, and hops for beer. Hops have become this ubiquitous symbol for craft brewing, and there’s so much of it going on – it’s overkill.
The design keywords that were trending this year are also interesting. For instance, the word magic increased by over 1,000% this year over last, inferring mystical elements in the logo design; symmetrical increased 600%; and carrot increased by 500%, for logos that seemed to represent healthy food /lifestyles. Words that increased by more than 400% included luxury, coin, foot, nose, watch, crossfit, trainer, realtor, rope, eat, jewelry, layers, and more. It’s a wide wacky world in logo design, and anything goes!
Like any report, this is just a synopsis of what we’re seeing in logo design. You should use this information to build on and push design forward to the next level. It’s about evolving forward, not repeating where we’ve been.
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15 Trends From The LogoLounge Report