How Logo Trends Have Changed Over this Decade

During this last decade, logo trends have evolved along with design trends, fashion or Millenials. There have been some exciting styles that didn’t last much and others that we wish never occurred. 

But before jumping into logo trends, year by year, there are a few things we need to take into account when talking about logos and branding imagery. We are talking about the definition, types, or elements, for instance.

First things first, what is a logo? or what is not?

What is a logo?

A logo is not just a symbol that represents a brand. And it’s neither a business name put nicely on a card. It’s much more than that. A logo has to represent the business core values at their best. It has to set it apart from the competitors and it also has to represent what the brand is all about, so future customers identify easily.

As you see, there’s a lot to cover in a tiny symbol. What do you want to evoke? What story are you trying to tell your customers? Think about all of that. Does the color matter? Would you choose a calming color or a strong one? Of course, this is a huge step when building up your branding imagery. Brands have to be careful what they choose. It all depends on what the company does and what story you want to tell. Wanna know more about color psychology? Check our post and become a master of colors.

Lastly, we can divide logos into some categories. To name a few we have: Lettermarks, wordmarks, symbols or icons, abstract marks, mascots or illustrated characters, combination marks, and emblems or badges.

That being said. Let’s see how designers have done it these past years. 

2010: Earthy color palette

Throughout this year we found ourselves surrounded by earthy and brown color schemes. These colors come from natural things like soil, wood, leaves, trees, or sun. You could think that they were trying to show an eco-friendly brand or company but not in all of the cases. We find tech and communication brands using that color together with a pixel or a 3D style

The psychology of color also tells us that brown palettes evoke protective, durable or safe feelings on us. Feelings every company would be proud to induce.

2011: Youthful style

2011 was the year of youthful and kind of childish logos, designers weren’t afraid of making it kawaii. That resulted in the personification of some logos and their products. We also saw the beginnings of a circular-concentric fever that will definitely gain more attention in the following years. Subtle gradients and mosaics were also calling the attention of designers and brands. Geometrical shapes have different meanings, during this year we also saw a lot of square shapes which tell us about business stability. 

2012: Round and round

Yes. That’s it. In 2012 designers were obsessed with all kinds of circular shapes. Moon shapes, oval shapes or waves, these forms together with gradients created a 3D effect on the consumer. Using bold colors was also very common, as you see in the compilation below bright blue, green, or even pink. These bright colors breathed creativity and energy, catching our eye more than any other color.

Watercolor and gradients were also very recurring styles. Some designers gave potato-chip-style a chance (no, we are not joking). Well, in fact, it’s called a hyperbolic paraboloid, but it’s commonly known as Pringles shape, again, making everything look circular.

2013: Nature 

Designers found themselves embracing nature elements and their meaning. As an example, we have mountain silhouettes, trees or branches. The firms that use these elements identify themselves as eco-friendly or green.

Introducing molecules in the design meant a greater level of precision and delicacy. This nature-trend led designers to softer and pastel color schemes. Apart from this, the GPS pin logo gained popularity and set a precedent for the next years. If we had to sum up 2013 in three words would be nature, classic and minimalist.

2014: Letter Stacks

Hexagons, dazzle fonts, and geometric wire lines were the pattern for 2014. Simplicity and minimalist design trends that remind what a logo should look like. Designers left unnecessary elements to achieve a proper minimalist style with the help of negative space, typography and monochromatic colors. Lines and waves were seen as the first step to future actions like animation or motion. Waves that in most cases, like in the Wi-Fi icon symbolize connectivity and trustworthiness.

2015: Animals and movement

Throughout this year we kept seeing simple shapes like trapezoids, triangles, circles or hexagons. However, these shapes will be featured in flat-style with gradients and contours of the same color palettes to add a depth and movement effect to the logo. These techniques came along with the use of different typography blocks and monolines shapes. Another aspect to bear in mind in 2015 was the presence of animals and transparency in logo design. Identifying your brand with an animal can be risky but if done well could be a way to recognize it easily for customers.  

2016: Black & White 

2016 brought us many things in terms of design trends. Designers tried new styles like pixels or hexahedrons but remained a bit cautious with colors still. Apart from stains, burst or low-poly styles we also witnessed many overlapping logos. This tendency tries to add some more depth to the icon itself.

Besides, designers began to play around with organic shapes inside silhouettes and drop shadows to add more relevance to the element and make it stand out. They also started with seamless gradients, a trend that will be bright as well in the following years.

2017: Minimalism

Transparent overlays came to stay in 2017, a great example of this was the rebranding of Mastercard. This technique created an effect of cleanness and transparency on the logo design, helping business and insurance brands to speak up through their logos.

Another logo trend we saw in 2017 was the use of wrapped lines to highlight a certain letter or element, in the image below you can see that the letter T is in the spotlight. Playing around with lines and shapes to create subtly a logo to remember. Fades were also a great logo trend in 2017, designers left colors to vanish creating a nice effect of transition and change.

2018: Serif

2018 was the year of serif fonts in lettermarks. This classic font is great for a brand that wants to convey a message of trust and transparency. Serif fonts add sophistication to their logo while sans serif fonts create a modern and clean feel to the logo. The use of lowercase letters and punctuation were very common, as well. Dots, commas and other punctuation marks were the protagonists. Regarding shapes, we use a lot of circular shapes with subtle gradients and thick outlines.

2019: Line and dots art

Last year was a pretty good year for icon design. We witnessed line art and highlighted effects to grab attention, as well as, subtle shading to create a deeper logo. Elements like wings, doors or windows were important in the compositions too. 

As Logolounge mention in its report: 

“The stone, the wand, and the cloak incarnate from the Deathly Hallows. If these logo talismans have nearly as strong a tale to tell, they will serve their masters impeccably.” 

That’s right! More than 10 years after the release of Harry Potter’s last book, designers brought Harry Potter elements to the logo scene.

And now what?

We’ve come to the end of this decade’s logo trends overview. Some trends came to stay and others have evolved to something better. Overall, we have seen that designers continue to master the art of minimalism as a logo needs to remain simple but meaningful. Designers stretch their imagination to find the perfect story to tell in such a small design.

We are excited to see what the future holds in terms of logo design. In the meantime, have a look at these logo-related articles you cannot miss.

– Best Practices For Logo Design And Creation

15 Logo Design Tips from the Experts that Will Serve You Well

A Step By Step Guide To Creating A Logo

And you? What do you think about these trends? Is there a trend you’ve seen this year so far? Can you predict some trends for the second half of 2020? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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