Creating a unique, timeless logo these days is tough. Making sure something hasn’t been done before and isn’t just following a trend is quite often a daunting and frustrating task, but the process can be personally rewarding.
These logos may not mean much to a designer until they begin to build a brand. Take a look at Ogilvy’s logo, the signature of David Ogilvy; at first glance you know its personal (obvs, it’s his signature).
When you look back at the history of the Ogilvy brand, now a revolutionary advertising firm, you can tell that the logo represents more than just a signature; it represents a tribute to the man whom many would eventually call the father of modern advertising. Taking this into consideration, do you have the time, patience and commitment to design a logo based on what you feel the brand represents—or will you choose to follow a trend?
Today’s logo trends seem to be built more on the idea of minimalism. Logos have to be increasingly simple without being boring. This is especially true for digital brands. Take what Apple has done with their iOS8 system and Yosemite Desktop Operating system for instance: they’ve adopted a flatter UI and trimmed the fat of excess information as well as “old timey” gradients and shadows.
The nature of design, however, is to push the boundaries of a medium and look at things from a different perspective; once there is nothing left to change we revert back to what we were trying to escape. Logo Lounge, a website that discusses logos and trends culminating in yearly reports, introduces this concept as a need for balance. In their 2014 Logo Trends Report, they present the idea of a pendulum, swinging “between people’s wants and needs” and technology’s ability to meet them. They feel that this new Minimal trend is a direct response to the popularity of mobile platforms, designing to create imaginary space in a 6 Inch Box (thanks, iPhone 6 Plus).
Here’s where the pendulum comes into play:
“As with all things, it’s about balance. When anything pushes people too far one way, the natural reaction is to push back…Designers need a chance to decompress and take a deep breath in a place that provides shelter from information’s frantic pace. Everyone needs to step outside and bask in sunlight, not screen light. And so the pendulum starts to swing back”.
When new trends appear out of the woodwork, what’s the designer’s response when they believe the Minimal is starting to get repetitive and machine-made? They begin to crave a more artisanal feel; work that is personalized and tailored to a brand by human hands. Just look at modern logos featuring handmade type, like our friends at Ogilvy.
So, designer or client, what drives your vision when creating a brand’s identity: The instant satisfaction that comes from following a new design trend or investing in an original concept that will develop meaning over time? The former gives you the chance to shine bright and fade just as quickly while the latter may be a trend that the followers attempt to emulate.