Small symbols and marks that constantly remind us to drink that soda, to eat our lunch at that fast food place, to surf on that smart phone and pay with a smooth payment service. They are everywhere and are a natural part of our lives. A visual and universal language that we use in tandem with the language we speak.
50 years of constant evolution
All these logotypes and the constant bombardment together with the individual design makes us understand what Coca Cola really is before we even are able to read. For most of us they appear to be unchangeable. But just as everything else they are influenced by fashion and current trends. If you know what to look for, you can see how the development of the society as a whole – both technically and culturally – has affected the design.
The 70s was a decade with a lot of colors and shapes. Previous conventions were broken, and this was also reflected in the design with strong colors and rounded and organic typography. A visual process of simplification was started as one realized the importance of fast recognition as vital key within marketing.
In the 80s the PC-computers made their breakthrough and gave logotypes a computer generated ”techy” feel. The computer’s performance put the standard on the graphic solution.
Different shapes and graphical elements were introduced in the 90s and the logotypes became multifaceted with surfaces and colors in the background to create a feeling of energy and to be more visual.
The new millennium gave us shadows and gradients in the logotypes. The development in technology and computers enabled a better reproduction that pushed the use of various effects. Visually the logotypes became more like graphical illustrations than marks. Skeuomorph was the IT-word – to make a flat design appear to be something real.
But just as with all trends the latest trend is distinguished by being the total opposite to what has been. After years of 3D-effects with shadows and high lights, the pendulum swung again, and today it is all about simplicity and purity. The logotypes are flat and minimalistic to be multi-flexible and work on a wide variety of surfaces and sizes in both digital and analogue media.
There is also a larger focus on typography and symbols and at the same time a return to simple and clean colors without gradients and effects.
Every other brand is now simplifying their logotypes and are removing unnecessary elements and attributes to strengthen their presence. One example is BMW’s updated identity which has left all high lights and other effects for a clean symbol that has more in common with the logotype version from the 60s.
The main reason for the current trend is versatility. As consumers we encounter brands on tv-screens, tablets and mobile phones, but also in adverts and on flyers. And whatever the surface the logotype needs to be clear and applicable.
Because the technology today is actually more optimized for shadows, high lights and other effects than when it was in fashion. Our screens are better, with a higher resolution with a higher colour depth etc.
Looking in the logo crystal ball
What does the future hold then? Well, the pendulum will most likely swing back again and designers will probably design logotypes with shadows and gradients like 10-15 years ago. And it will feel new and fresh once more.
That is what makes logotypes so fascinating and fun. They all have to be small time machines, and continue to be affected and reflected by the present times.
For the foreseeable future simple, clean and clear solutions will dominate. But as time goes by, both technology and fashion develop and new trends, needs and media arises, we simply grow tired of the clean, and the design will change – again. Then it is time to dust off and adapt the identity in order to stay modern and relevant.
Furthermore, the logo does not stand on its own. It is supported with so much more. With the multiple channels and communication landscape and noise you need to be unique in several ways. You need to back it up with graphical elements, a clear color palette, colors, unique footage, typography, messaging and copy etc.
Is your logo alive?
If you as a company forgets to continuously review your logo and identity you will have a harder time holding on to your position and communicate the message and the values of your brand correctly. The risk of falling behind if you hold on to an unmodern brand design is too high.
Lets discuss. Please reach out to Jan Vana our Executive Creative Director and brand design team for a fruitful discussion and advice on how to make a brand identity audit.