Logos play an important role in brand recognition.
“In addition to providing a strong, inviting image that the public will associate with your organization, a well-designed logo embodies your brand as it exists at this very moment,” says Juan Pablo Madrid, design director at Online Optimism.
Here’s the breakdown of the top logo design trends to watch in 2019:
Cell phones users have become a major source of internet traffic. Because of this, mobile-friendly design is increasingly important for logos, webpages, apps, and more.
Maya Page, owner of SocialMediately, says “Brands should consider making their logo more horizontal and skinnier, so that it takes up less space, in anticipation of their mobile website. It is important to have a recognizable logo with your full brand name, and you may want to consider incorporating an icon or an easily identifiable image.”
If you already have a logo that works well, consider a variable logo as you prepare to be mobile-friendly.
Gabriel Shaoolian, proven digital agency expert and founder of DesignRush, says, “Variable logo design essentially means that there are variations of a logo for different mediums and brand needs. The shapes shift and adapt on different platforms. However, they follow very strict and similar styles and therefore are still highly recognizable.”
Alex Litzow, lead designer at Sonder, says “Minimalist geometric design has been a favourite in the recent past. The simple clean designs prove to be as close to timeless as a logo can come in this disposable world.”
Aamina Suleman, Senior Digital Marketing Executive and Visual Designer at LogoDesignGuru.com, sees 2019 as a year to challenge the minimalist trend. “Logo design world of 2019 is all about being gallant and experimental. Although many brands are still largely incorporating the minimal design trend with simply a cliché typeface, it’s interesting to watch some companies and organizations design unconventional logos for their respective identities,” she says.
Shaoolian sees the same trend.
“Although minimalism is still alive and well, many brands are gravitating back towards intricate and luxurious logos. Seals, emblems, and other regal logos will likely gain popularity again this year,” he says.
Minimalism may not be the best fit for your company.
Litzow says, “Forcing your brand into Geometric Minimalism purely because it’s the trend is a bad idea. Find a style that matches your brand. Vintage look logos can be just the thing a trendy business needs.”
“Well-executed logo shape designs are very effective because human sequence of cognition shows that we respond to shape first before color, followed by readable wordmarks. This trend is also prominent in tech, manufacturing, financial, and other industries,” says Peter Ella, art director at Nex Gen Dynamics.
When it comes to recent trends in shapes, Ella says “It veers towards a clean, modern, and very minimalistic style.”
If you’re considering updating or changing your logo, it doesn’t have to be a complete style change.
Erik Pitzer, graphic designer with Illumine8 Marketing and PR, says “I like seeing creative ways to use geometric simplicity. Simply adding one wrinkle or rotation to a basic starting grid can produce some clean, eye-catching results.”
This tip can be applied to existing logos. However, if the shape of your logo is part of its icon, it’s best to maintain it.
Brady Waggoner, founder, partner, and creative director of HOOK, says, “Icons should always avoid trends. An icon usually has no words in it. It's job is to replace the word it represents to bridge language barriers. It's the swoosh. It's the arches. It's the Star of David. It's the Cross. The icon should stand the test of time like a flag.”
If you’re rebranding or just starting out with your logo, there are a few other logo shape design trends to keep an eye on this year.
Madrid identifies two: semi-flat logos and geometric shape logos
“Semi-flat logos stand out for their three-dimensional fee. This style is worth considering because they make a strong impact in the digital sphere.
Geometric shape logos are highly expressive. Shapes are an effective way to communicate the feel of a brand and translated it across a variety of mediums,” he says.
If you think that geometric shapes are standard and boring, think again.
Shaoolian says “Geometric shapes have been popular for a few years now. However, this year we will see them take a more "new age" approach. Expect to see Picasso-style color blocks and unique, whimsical icons constructed out of signature shapes.”
Color is very eye-catching, so it’s another important design feature to pay attention to.
Shaoolian says, “Color psychology is an effective tactic to capture consumers and evoke emotion, and this year, brands will place an even stronger emphasis on color. In addition to working with color psychology, companies will likely work with hues that represent something personal to the brand, which will better communicate the identity and core values.”
One great resource on logo colors is Canva's article: "Color Psychology Tricks Used By Top Logo Companies."
Color and shape aren’t the only logo trends to watch, there are also new trends in font and text.
Daniel Levine, a trends expert and keynote speaker, says, “The latest corporate design trend for logos is that unique designs are being replaced with more legible ones with bold san serif typefaces. For example, see the new logos for Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Burberry, Berluti, and Balmain. Some designers are referring to this homogenization as ‘blanding’.”
These trends in font affect the signature part of the logo.
Waggoner says, “A signature is the name next to the icon. Together these make a logo. Signatures can change over time to take advantage of contemporary style when it supports the brand position of the company. The timelessness of the swoosh allows Nike the ability to subtly change the letters of the signature over time.”
Be wary of being too trendy. You don’t want your brand identity to be just a fad.
“I don't endorse adopting any trend unless it's been proven to be timeless. Over the years certain trends have become timeless. Corporate design is essentially efficient. It was a trend but it stuck because it's been proven to be timeless,” Waggoner says.
Your brand will always need to toe the line between timelessness and relevance, so take advice from design professionals on where your logo stands.