There is probably no more foundational shape for a designer than the circle. It harkens to a level of perfection that is terribly unforgiving and blessed are we as designers that design software can whack them out perfectly time after time. And another circle knocked out of the first but a little smaller and exactly centered, and there’s your ring. Or a letter O if you’re working with Avante Garde. And it may seem that in producing the ring, that the only real decision to be made is regarding the thickness, light, medium, bold, or black? But as this series of beautiful logos attest, there is so much more. And the much more part is why this group of logos can even be considered a trend since we’ve been busting out rings and calling them logos for generations. It’s the use of gradients or a halftone effect that’s really caused this shape to leap to the top of the popularity heap. Yes, a ring still conveys eternity, unity, perfection or a cycle. It signals completion and is unbroken and the hole in the middle can convey passage or a window or portal. All of those connotations stand true, but with the treatment of the surface to a wash of tone and a new world of symbolism is exposed. It’s not just a cycle, but one from cool to hot, or night to day, or properly shaded the ring takes on dimension. Gradients can wander the ring’s perimeter or spread across the face or even diminish into an inner abyss. And though it’s swell if your name starts with an O, the imbued power of this shape far exceeds mere association as a monogram.