In a common thread, designers are retreating this year to a number of themes drawn from past influence. Now these lines are tipping the scale with a girth that's turned the line into a field of its own.
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The new culture of small shoppe business and personal attention are fiercely fighting the truly established bluebloods for the same share of consumer attention. Heritage that's only inches deep is winning through smart design, even when the identity reads ESTB Gradation in logo design is nothing new.
Extreme eye-popping, chroma-screaming applications like Instagram continue, but the trend here is the adoption of subtlety. Dropping a field of color onto a mark that could easily be solid black, blue, or purple. But how about a gentle almost sub-existent transition of hue?
A blue field that ticks a notch or two more purple, or a magenta that drops from a percent intensity to 80? These are the new spectrums that are expanding the thinking in branding and color affiliation. The time when T-Mobile owned magenta or FedEx owned orange and violet, is shifting to Belfast owning yellow creeping to a yellow orange.
These are tight and short-run gradients that might initially give the impression half the logo is just poorly lit. These gradients can indicate a transition or a process and are made practical by a societal shift toward the RGB dominion of digital screens.
Blurple is no longer that color halfway between blue and purple; it is the trek between the two. That cringe associated with a client suggesting they'd like their logo in gold has been replaced by the designer suggesting the same back to the client. The afore mentioned embrace of subtle gradation has led to a swell in the number of marks rendered with their own glint of faux bullion.
While the option of foiling a mark or utilizing metallic inks are both traditional solutions for such a dilemma, neither solution translates to the screen. Our industry has seen the importance of digital imagery rocket past the secondary print materials in the last decade, but note this as an evident shift in who has the car key. Gold still conveys everything it always has, it just has a better agent working for it. Flexibility in rendering is still abundant. If you want a flat gold, go for it.
If you want a sheen, do you want it flat or textured as in the letter B monogram? Or, since you're digital, maybe you want a gentle wash of light across the logo with a lens flare and a ping at the end. Gold, used properly, still carries a 14K level of prestige, elegance, and sophistication like no other color.
It's a color the public expects, the application is not. Smart designers understand that the past and the future are inextricably connected and that if you're clever enough, you'll call your appropriation a discovery. The seminal textile design of Verner Panton in , launched an era of wall art and carpets that swayed, curved, and zagged with concentric stripes of vivid, stepped colors. Saul Bass notably used the same effect many times to smart success in the '70s, including the brilliant Paul Harris Stores logo.
This is an analog gradient that's fresh and vibrant to a new generation of eyes with a hint of retro for a kicker. Aaron Draplin has done as much as anyone to rekindle this genre with a more contemporary aesthetic to its application. The resurgence comes with invigorated thinking and applications that blend the stripes with diverse elements that make for much richer solutions.
Some trend reports are filled with more nuances than others, but they are here for a reason. What may seem like modest variants on a theme to one, look like significant departures to others. Linear Fades carry much of the same attribution and history as Fatty Fades with a significant mutation. Our stepped gradient effect is divided by channels that reflect a marriage and offspring from our stripped theme last year. A discreet variant, but an important one, as this evolves.
Because of the channels, these marks appear much more grounded and don't exhibit the same flood of intense color found in Fatty Fades. Channels may equal the width of the stripes or they may thin down significantly. It's easier to envision this group of logos in a corporate climate, but with the right colors they still radiate a stylish level of optimism.
Note that the simpler the design the more effective these read. Adding channels doubles the complexity of any design so brevity of strokes is essential. Big, fat, burly Kevlar-plated line work is what happens when traditional monoline design starts bulking up for its next role in Logo the movie. Any assumption you'd escape this report without yet another evolution of the monoline aesthetic is wrong. Once, this fine outline started as the antithesis to areas of tone by describing perimeters as opposed to content.
Now these lines are tipping the scale with a girth that's turned the line into a field of its own. Frankly, it's a good look as the faint haze of linework reduced has now been replaced by a bold undeniable mark reminiscent of past works that launched the golden era of logos. Now, instead of squirming that the linework won't stand up to reduction, we might find ourselves concerned the negative space is too fine to do the same.
Loading up these marks with fields of color may be gilding the lily, which is why many of them don't even try. The lines on these marks still maintain a consistent weight that continues to convey a measured, technical aesthetic. Finding the weight that creates a balanced contrast allows these to read well at a distance or when squeezed down for micro application. We tend to take our letterforms pretty seriously, and I'm not just referring to designers.
Ask any type maven and they can regale you with just how much leeway the public is willing to allow when crafting a font. Embellish a letterform, and you're just improving; but remove a stroke here or there, and you'll be issued a cease and desist notice without apology.
The designers of the marks in this trend are just flat flaunting their disrespect, and in doing so have captured the attention of the consumer.
A judiciously excised aspect of a word or letterform may create no issue with legibility. We folk are a pretty clever lot when playing fill in the blank. But what we edit out can be either a vacuous stylistic gesture or a clever treatment to reinforce a message or help provide context for a brand.
The latter is certainly preferred. With Slate's new wordmark, the A is no less legible, and it helps convey the journalistic editing and overlapping of content that's a part of their process. When crafted with wit and prudence, these solutions earn honors in disruption Picture a cycle of rebrand austerity that found many of the most beloved brands racing for the anonymity of soulless sans serifs.
Such a flood of willing participants in this still bleeding, but waning trend, that an action of descent speaks louder than sans. Maybe it was a crop of nascent designers prepping to binge the freshly hyped Stranger Things , and looked at the title graphic, mouth agape, at the entrancing serifs hanging from each and every letter.
A throwback for sure, but the cultural impact of this show can't be denied. It may well have led to the largest mass migration of designers in history, as they scrolled through their font files and were reunited with long-lost serifs. The rebrand of Chobani at the leadership of Leland Maschmeyer, brought warmth, humanity and unapologetic charm to a product previously lingering behind a futuristic sans serif. In logo design, many of the trend-countering serif, signal a return to a period when a little fat and curve on the bones was a good thing.
The resurgence also welcomes back lowercase solutions to the tent that was starting to feel pretty empty. Nature abhors a vacuum and designers do too. Logo design is such a succinct practice exactly because a mark has to completely speak for itself.
There's no room to attach a preamble or an explanation as a sidecar on a symbol. Yet the last year has been notable for the refresh and creation of numerous brands punctuated into an alternate state of meaning. Linguaphiles may be simultaneously cringing and cheering their support, depending on the application, but planting a fleck or a speck at the end of a name is much more than a stylish affliction.
These periods, commas, colons, and more are opening a previously unconsidered dialogue with consumers. Though Redbox is not a sentence, it is determined to drop the mic with a period, capping out any additional discussion.
That is all there is to say. The publication Darling , sets the stage for what's to come with the perfect use of a comma. Like the opening of a letter, the publication both greets the reader and prepares them for what's to follow. Punctuation is a trend that has its place, but there's reason to fear it could lose good standing with rampant misuse.
As we acknowledge that each design represents hours and hours of thought and struggle from designers around the world, we are as humbled and awed as ever by their dedication to the craft and grateful for the important role they play in helping us create these reports. So thank you to all of the designers who have and will contribute to the Trend Reports then, now, and for years to come. A special thanks to that group of designers we lean on for their personal observations and guidance included here within.
For an even deeper look at this year's trends, visit our learning course on LinkedIn Learning formerly Lynda. The site also offers articles and news written expressly for logo designers and much more. Bill can be contacted at bill logolounge. More than , logos have been submitted to the site since , growing it to the largest online treasury of professionally designed logos.
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TUMBLED Much as a tide and time can dull the sharpest corner of stone or random shard of glass, designers are tossing the occasional mark into the wash for one last tumble before presenting to clients.
OUTLINE It's easy to muse that master sports logo designers may lose credentials and peer respect if they ever released a mark without encasing it in a wide gray outline. GOLD That cringe associated with a client suggesting they'd like their logo in gold has been replaced by the designer suggesting the same back to the client.
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