Linda Lam, PCI’s Director of Design, predicts logo trends we’ll say “hello” and “goodbye” to in the New Year.
Designers say “hello” and “goodbye” to trends on an almost constant basis. In logo design, I’ve seen countless trends fall in and out of favor throughout my career — some that I’ve embraced and said “hello” to wholeheartedly, and others that I couldn’t wait to see leave. Trends serve an important function; they can inspire new ideas and help creatives evolve their design approach to grab attention from new and ever-changing audiences. However, when exploring new trends, the basic principles of effective logo design can’t be compromised or lost in the excitement of what’s currently in style.
The purpose of a logo is to ensure that a brand’s identity will withstand the test of time. To that end, an effective logo is simple, versatile, distinctive, and memorable. It aims to represent its brand well into the future, independent of trends that will inevitably come and go.
With that in mind, here are some logo trends that I expect (and hope!) to say “hello” to in 2017, followed by a list of trends that I anticipate saying “goodbye” to in the New Year.
Say "Hello" To:
In 2017, I hope and expect logos to trend towards minimalism, in a “less is more” approach that emphasizes practicality, purpose, and authenticity to the brand.
See some clever examples of minimalist logos on Dribbble.
This isn’t a new trend in logo design, but it’s an important one that’s certainly not going away in 2017: playing with positive and negative (or black and white) space. Creating a logo that takes advantage of the positive and negative space seems like a simple concept but it’s harder to execute than you would expect. This approach forces designers to think dimensionally and to seek out ways in which they they make logo “perform” more. The World Wildlife Fund's panda logo below is an example of using negative space well, and there's a great write-up on the evolution of WWF panda on Logo Design Love.
For more examples, Creative Bloq has a list of logos that make great use of negative space.
Another trend I anticipate seeing more of in 2017 is handwritten logos. This trend made its mark periodically in the last couple of years and will likely have a stronger presence in 2017. Hand-drawn logos have an authenticity and personality to them that might not always be a perfect match for every project (a government institution, for example, may opt for a more imposing or structured style), but can make a strong impact when done well. Check out these examples on the Neat Designs blog to see what I mean.
Similar to the handwritten trend, I also anticipate that we will see single weight, hand-drawn line art designs featured prominently in 2017. Whether they’re iconic/symbolic, type-based, or a blend of the two, line art designs are simple, modern, and versatile. Check some examples out on Design Bolts.
Now that we’ve explored some logo design trends to embrace in 2017, let’s move on to what I think we’ll do away with.
Wave "Goodbye" To:
Gradients can make a logo design look dated, while “flat” logo designs evoke a more fresh and modern feel. We probably won’t say goodbye to gradients for good, but we will likely see them less moving forward. See the difference below with the 2003 version of the Pepsi logo (gradient) compared to their current, non-gradient logo revamp:
If you must use gradients, here are some good rules of thumb.
We’ve seen a lot of polygons in corporate branding over the past few years and I expect to see them on the wane in 2017.
Additionally, the following three trends were popular in previous years, but I expect to see them fade with 2017’s focus on minimalism and clean, uncluttered design:
Half and Half
Or, splitting colors into two for dimensional effect, like this:
Transparency Effects and Overlap
In sum, an effective logo is unique, memorable, and stands out regardless of trend. My approach has always been to design logos that are authentic, purposeful, and with the least amount of clutter possible. Trends have their place and can spark new ideas, but should never cloud the main goal of creating a thoughtful and timeless design.
Have questions about branding, identity, and logo design? Post your question in the comments section below or reach out to us on Twitter. Here’s to trendsetting in 2017!