Elaborate Logotypes

logo trends
logo trends

A logotype is a logo that’s also a word. Think NASA or Lego, for starters. The trend in logotypes is skewing toward more elaborate versions of these letter-based logos.

A good logotype is sustainable for a long period of time

Intricate lettering styles, decorative typefaces and elements with plenty of swashes, ligatures and tails are popular. Many of these styles borrow from calligraphy and fun crafty DIY elements such as chalkboard patterns, made popular on Pinterest.

While the trend is more focused on elaborate logotypes, an element of simplicity in the style or lettering is key to ensuring logo readability and recognition. A good logotype is sustainable for a long period of time, adaptable to different formats and styles and exclusive to your brand (don’t just copy a cool font from somewhere and make it a logo).

The other thing that makes a logotype look elaborate? Customize a typeface such as Moonfarmer, above. It’s simple and clean, but looks quite complicated.

Here are a few ways to create and own your logotype:

  • Use it with a custom color palette.
  • Pick a typeface or combination of typefaces that aren’t super common.
  • Consider a custom or hand-drawn option (another logo trend).
  • Pair an elaborate typeface with a simple illustration or vice versa to create something that is visually interesting and detailed but simple enough to understand easily.
  • Only use this style if it matches your brand and content.

Hand Drawn or Illustrated Logos

logo trends
logo trends

Hand drawn or illustrated logo options have been used for a long time. But the trend is re-emerging in a cleaner, more polished style. The trick to today’s hand-drawn logo style is that the look is sketch-based, but the design itself is more pixel perfect.

The style is supposed to feel whimsical and fresh. It should convey originality. This type of logo is most popular with small businesses or companies that want to show customers that every part of what they do has a personal touch.

The trick is that while this logo style has a simplistic look, it shouldn’t be too simple. (Some hand-drawn styles can even be quite elaborate.)

If you plan to try a hand drawn logo, keep these things in mind:

  • Consider the mood of the drawing. Does it fit the business/website?
  • Take care that the sketch and lettering are easy to read.
  • You don’t have to actually draw it by hand; you’ll need a vector-based file for wide use.
  • Combine a sketch with a simple typeface.
  • While black and white styles are popular – particularly the chalkboard style – consider color to keep it fresh and modern.

Line Art Logos

logo trends

The popularity of line art logos goes hand in hand with the explosion of minimal design outlines. Line art can be simple and convey a strong message at the same time. It strips out every but of unnecessary information to provide a simple, direct iconic logo.

The line art image needs to be easy to understand at a glance

The toughest parts of logo design with line art can be incorporating type and ensuring that the line art image is discernible to the casual user. The most popular use of this trend includes an art element with a single image – almost in an icon-style format – using a uniform stroke width for the illustration.

Designers can use thick or thin lines, and it is important to consider usage when picking a stroke width. The line art image needs to be easy to understand at a glance.

Tips for a line art logo:

  • Consider the divot. What is the element in the line art? Is it an actual object or made up mark?
  • Pair a typeface with a similar stroke width to the strokes used in the image.
  • Don’t get too elaborate or the image might not render well at smaller sizes.
  • Many of these styles are black or white because of the minimal nature, consider color for a different take.
  • Use a shape that will work in broad applications, such as something more square or circular in nature. Avoid dramatically narrow or long shapes unless you plan to create a secondary logo option.

Logos with Geometric Shapes

logo trends
logo trends

One the opposite end of the logo design spectrum from elaborate logotypes and detailed hand-drawn logos are simple logos with geometric shapes.

Geometric shapes, from circles to polygons, are trendy in almost all types of design. Users are drawn to simple geometry and designers like elements that can express creativity and work for a number of applications.

Logos with geometric shapes tend to fall in one of two categories: Logo elements and text inside a shape that’s used to hold it all together (think the Starbucks circle or Flowchart, above) or logo elements that contain shapes that are held together with color or space, such as dbf, above.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Pair a simple font and shapes.
  • Put the “design” inside a geometric shape such as a circle.
  • Use polygons to create visual emphasis.
  • Include a splash of color to highlight geometric shapes.
  • Go super minimal with geometric outlines and a sans serif combination.

Conclusion

While creating the design for a new logo can be a challenge, looking at trends in logo design can provide a starting point or spark of design inspiration. Be careful when thinking about logos to ensure that your design is uniquely yours. You never want to hear “that logo reminds me of…”

Another key consideration with a new logo (or even just a logo update) is readability. The brand name should always be easy to read at a glance. You want users to be able to identify you and your brand at a distance.

Finally, think about trends and combine them with more timeless elements to develop a logo that will have a modern look and feel, but will be usable for a long time. No company wants to have to rethink the logo with every change in design trends. By adding modern touches and trendy elements, you can have the best of both worlds.