What is Happening to Logo Design?

Throughout the past week, several brands have proudly launched their re-designed logo and new identity. Only thing is; most of them are really not that pretty and seem poorly made.

As this is not just a case for the past month, but more of a global tendency lately, I began to wonder…

What the hell is happening to logo design?

It seems as if logos are getting more and more random, while still loosing more and more of their “soul”. It seems as if everything must be completely flat and silhouette, regardless of the impact it might have on the heart and soul of the design.

The technologies on both online and offline media, are getting better and better, yet many identities are getting more and more boring.

I get it… Less is more, and I love this philosophy. There is a difference however, between minimalistic and boring.

Take the new Instagram icon for example

Now I’m not saying the old icon was not in desperate need of a rebrand, but the new icon, looks mostly like a generic, off-scaled pictogram. Here, please be aware of the difference between an icon and a pictogram. In the presentation video they even explains the thoughts behind the new icon with individualism and creativity.

Just because something is colorful, it doesn’t mean it’s instantly creative.

In my opinion, Instagram has lost a lot of their unique-ness with this new design while also weakening the brand.

DC Comics also got a face-lift

I’m still trying to figure out what parts of the new logo design for DC Comics, that I actually like. I reckon their ideas behind the new logo — taking it back to the roots and all — but to make a long story short; I just don’t like it and I know a lot of people feels the same way.

I’m also having a hard time understanding why they did this. DC Comics is about to take a huge step into the world of motion picture and I simply cannot imagine a cooler logo-intro with the new logo, than the one they had before. Also the old logo really encouraged creativity with all of it’s different “faces” and styles.

The new logo however, looks boring and out of age.

It doesn’t matter how much you try to argue for the design, if people just don’t like it.

And to be honest… How many people — besides designers — really go through every presentation, press release and brand guide, to fully understand the logo?

Which brings me on to my next case:

The random design of Uber

Speaking of random, meet the Uber logo:
New Uber logo 2016
New Uber icon 2016

First of all. I really like the design and look-and-feel of the new identity. It looks very modern and it feels good to look at.

However… I can’t seem to pinpoint any real creativity and I’m not at any point led towards an answer to the question:

What the hell does this company do?

Of course, a lot of people already know what Uber does, but what about the people who doesn’t? And shouldn’t the identity of a brand always reflect — to some extent — explain what the company does or offer?

Spend an hour or two reading through the material associated with the release of the new Uber identity and the process will slowly start to make some kind of sense, but really… How many people knows that the pattern varies and represents each country? How many people will notice the unique-ness of the typeface? And how many people didn’t have to spend time looking for Uber on your smartphone after the re-design?

The new Uber identity is a first class example that there is a difference between art and design and how important it is to know it.

WIRED wrote pretty interesting article about The Inside Story of Uber’s Radical Rebranding that I recommend reading as well.

Make your identity make sense

If I have a point to all this, it must be to make your design and identity make sense, to designers as well as the general public.

  • Don’t make it flat just because everybody else is.
  • Don’t use gradients and colors to compensate for a boring design.
  • Maintain an easy-to-understand symbolics.
  • Remember, it’s called logo-design for a reason, not logo-art.
  • A logo should be unique and recognizable.

Finally, I’m gonna leave you with the re-design of the Guinness logo, which in my opinion is a fantastic, new logo.

I’m sure there must be somebody out there with something to add to this, so let’s make a discussion out of it.