Graphic designers have evolved an amazing trade. With so much information readily available it’s possible for high school students and even younger artists to buckle down and study the digital arts. From this we’ve seen a massive collection of astounding logos and trends in recent years.
More commonly it has become popular to portray minimalist trends in logos by slimming down content. These include solid-color backgrounds, basic text effects, vector shapes, and low-res icons. Pixel designs have also become popular amongst the techie crowd.
Below I’ve examined some of the new-age trends emerging with logo design. Hopefully these ideas can inspire a new generation of designers to pick up the trade. Most of these effects can be recreated in Adobe Photoshop, or Illustrator if you’re more comfortable. Spend some time browsing logo galleries for more in-depth inspiration.
We often find the same style of fonts used throughout most of the web. Or if not the exact same type, generally many web fonts fit into the web 2.0 family. Rounded corners, drop shadows, and loosely based on Arial or Helvetica to some extreme.
Well not all logos are sticking to this trend anymore. The example in Angelo’s logo below is the perfect demonstration of unique web fonts. Portrayed in a handwritten style and using red as a powerful background to contrast white lettering.
We can see a similar effect in the logo design of Imagine. Created by UPSIDEsign, you may notice the text features a band of a white glow circling the perimeter. This stands out well from the gradient effect in the background layer behind it.
You’ll notice the font style is very unique as well. The “I” in Imagine is actually more like the number 1. And similarly you may confuse the “g” as a number 8. These subtle design effects really help your logos stand out among the masses.
Vectors and Small Shapes
Lettering and typography aren’t the only focal point in many logos. If you’re looking to get into graphics and custom art design I recommend practicing on logos first. There are many benefits, namely it isn’t too constraining to finish a logo project. You are also free to practice on a much more open canvas than compared to, say, a web design layout or icon set.
The ItalyOnClick logo is a perfect example of what I mean. They’ve used a classic circle emblem next to their text which holds a telescope-like effect. Inside you’re peering at a vector landscape holding some water, a ship, and a beach front property. This technique does take a lot of work to master, but in the end will leave your audience awestruck.
If you’re also wondering how to apply such a logo to your site, the designer has launched the project live. Check out the logo in action at http://italyonclick.it/. It works well to define a common brand and mood for the website, conveniently written in Italian.
We can see a similar appearance on the Blogging Wizard logo. This features some terrific serif-style font with alternating colors between words. Above a repeating set of stars demonstrates a symbol of wizardry, mentioned in the site name.
We may use these effects to instill a sense of wonder and magic in a viewers’ mind. These brands, Walt Disney as a prime example, tend to lean towards a younger target audience. The elated brilliance and colorful atmosphere is a natural attention grabber and mood elevator.
Figurative Play on Words
The addition of clever puns into your logo work will never cease to amuse the masses. These tricks have been passed down for decades, and with the digital revolution under way it’s empowering to see many young artists launching their own brands.
The Candy Fruit logo above demonstrates bright colors and a lovely feeling. The use of pink in both the text, graphic, and background seem to instigate this mutual feeling of love and attraction. You may also notice the lettering fruit has been set bold to stand out as a separate word.
The clever pun here is they’ve designed each color burst in such a way to form an apple with one bite missing. The top shape is representing a leaf, with softer colors like pink and blue underneath. This assumes a sweet sensation, like the branding is sweet and fruity!
Above I’ve included a logo titled “Time Machine”. The graphic is pretty self-explanatory, but does play a lot on their wording. Notice the smaller details like the alarm clock running an electric current above the face. The wings added onto its back signify special properties. Perhaps the clock is able to fly through time itself?
A similar logo Design Machine features grunge and calligraphic text mixed in. The graphics include colored gears, apparently a play on the machine terminology. Almost an oxymoron statement, as generally machines are grey and rusted. It’s ironic as just the word design manifests ideas of brilliant colors and beauty.
Remix the Classics
There’s no reason to throw aside the classic route of logo design. These are founded in the roots of our current day society and can be spotted in all modern logos. To share a few lesser known examples, the golfing design below couldn’t be any simpler.
Andy Combe Golf is written in thin capital lettering, very professional by any means. The centerpiece to tie it all together is a bit of green grass holding the 18th hole flag in place. Any golfer would pick this up right away, so their branding directly targets a specific audience.
You will notice this with any great niche company logo. And many of these ideas are recurrences of past companies both failed and still running.
Veggies on the Way is a unique take at food transport. We can see a flatbed truck hauling a giant carrot, presumably in the direction of their drawn arrow. The truck appears almost as a farm vehicle to bring the design back grassroots.
I really like the repetition in coloring from both the graphic and logo text. Veggies holds a similar orange color as the carrot, while the arrow is also shaded in a similar hue to the green truck. This type of synchronicity will tie a design project together.
A couple more examples, namely the Beddit design which features one lone sheep jumping a hurdle. This folk tale shared for generations is used to help children fall asleep easier by counting sheep. The whole graphic is focused inside a dream bubble, with the small clouds appearing to originate from the logo text.
One fantastic concept which has stood out to me is Energizer. It was created with some web 2.0 glossy text effects, and floats on a light orange background. The whole logo seems to glow with electricity.
I really enjoy how their graphic encompasses an incandescent light bulb. This is supposed to tie into the big “E” at the beginning of the word Energize. This effect isn’t easy to pull off, but is really neat when done properly.
It’s hard to tell if either of these were built specifically for an app. However when you look at logos individually it’s possible to drive your imagination in a certain direction. Both of these designs build upon a strong branding image, which makes it very likely they would succeed in any app environment. They also feature small graphics with standardized colors, another trait of prowess in the mobile industry.
These new age trends are just some of the features based in digital logos today. The Logopond Gallery features some more amazing artists and very insightful designs. If you’re looking for a place to build inspiration, this is the community!
Try building upon the trends discussed here and combine them with your own design ideas. Truly great designers are able to put together many pieces of the puzzle. But it does require some patience and expertise. Check out our top design trends for 2010 if you’re interested in delving a bit further. For those of you with great logo designs and portfolios feel free to share your ideas in the discussions area below.