Reducing the Logo Footprint

About flat and minimal logos

Dheeraj Nanduri
Feb 15, 2018 · 5 min read

Logo redesigns have shocked us many a time. Some had us falling deeper in love with the brand and some have just been tacky at the beginning but later grew onto us. The above, Instagram logo, is the best example for the latter.

Instagram Logo needed a change. Yes. It did. Just have a look at the old logo on the left. It was stunning piece of art, no doubt, but it was not cut out to be a logo for a company in the long-run.

Why?

  • Hard to print : Printing the older Instagram logo can be a nightmare. Imagine the amount of ink that would be used in printing it. Can also lead to a lot ink usage, which in the end, will pollute the environment — The plastic from the discarded ink cartridges for starters.
  • High loading time : The older Instagram logo would take a considerably longer time to load on a webpage or anywhere than the one on the right. Logos these days have another very important design consideration — time taken to load on a webpage.

These things can be very problematic in the long-run and expansion. Good job, Instagram team.

Some companies, like Nike, Apple, and Adidas, had incorporated this a long time ago in their branding. They had their version changes but were always on the side of simplicity and minimalism.

Nike logos have always had a small footprint
The first Canon logo was like the first Instagram logo but they moved on pretty fast

Majority of the brands these days have moved to flat logos and new ones want nothing but them — That’s also partly because they’re the latest fad in design.

So, what are flat logos?

Flat logos are characterised by their 2D-representation, cleaner, crisper and lack of realism in representation.

Flat logos are smaller in file size — thereby reducing the load time, and they are far simpler to print. Also, scalability between different media and screen sizes is a big asset.

Take a look at how some already-minimal logos embracing the flat design concept.

The logo redesigns have also led to some amazing design language development in the UX (User Experience) design industry. Some of the best examples include the usage of dots and a monogram by Google, the flowing ribbon for Netflix and the loop of the Microsoft Office logo when any Office product loads. Now these elements could have been incorporated with their older logos but would not have looked as simple or as clean as they are now.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

— Leonardo Da Vinci.

How do flat and minimal logos help improve brand identity?

  • Simple to design — Puts less stress on the designers; faster results
  • Can appear distinct in marketing collateral — Eg. Flat colours stand out on photos
  • Distinguishable when spread rightly — Eg. Colors — The blue of the Twitter logo, the green of the Whatsapp logo etc.,

How to go about designing flat logos?

Keep it geometrical.

I have added some lines to demonstrate this better

Geometrically perfect logos have a certain aesthetic appeal to them. The real world isn’t made of perfect cuts and shapes and when we see something like this, they strike us immediately. Also, they fit in shapes better. Example, a circular logo will fit beautifully in a square background.

A beautiful example of a redesign to a geometrical logo

This also implies, keeping lesser number of curves and cuts and more of geometrical cuts in the design.

This doesn’t essentially mean for us to use Golden Ratio to design. They can be geometrically perfect without it as well.

Ensure that it can form a family.

(L to R) Instagram, Layout, Boomerang, Hyperlapse

Scalability needn’t be only looked at from the perspective of size but also from the direction of transferability of design language to other things in the same family. A uniform design language can be very powerful and easily distinguishable.

The Adobe logo design language

The Adobe language is so beautifully simple that any two letters in a similar arrangement to the above, even if not an Adobe product, can make it look like one.

Colours — Less and Solid.

Simple colors which are flat and light are simply easier on the eyes. Some colours can become synonymous with the brand over time. The orange of the Nike logo is a beautiful example.

Instagram logo doesn’t rank quite high on this particular parameter. But, they have decided to implement a different design language consisting of gradients.

Now, one of the things to keep in mind is that this might just be a phase in design before something else comes up. It is good. Great, in fact. But, if you don’t feel that your brand needs to change from it, there’s no need to. It’s more important to have a good logo than anything else.

Look at these guys.

Also, on a personal note, some logos look better when they are not flat. I would hate to see a flat Mercedes Benz or a Lamborghini logo.

What do you think of flat logo designs? Are they here to stay forever?

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