The lack of common sense in following logo design trends

logo design trendsWe all know that following a trend also means that your will be, whether intentional or not, forfeiting the “uniqueness” factor which is a requisite that helps in the ultimate goal of branding, differentiation.

It’s a no-brainer that when one follows a trend, there are already a whole lot of people following the same trend. Come to think of it, there has to be a lot of people already following a style, for it to be declared a trend.

The more the merrier, my behind!

Looking, acting or doing like others leads to blending — which is any brand’s biggest nightmare.

Any great logo designer will tell you that uniqueness is an integral part of their aspiration when designing a logo.
The common excuse that logos can get away with looking alike because they’re are not of companies trading in the same industry is utter nonsense!

When consumers see Carrier‘s logo, they shouldn’t have Ford within the same thought, competitors or not.

 A great logo, or rather if a logo is to be great, it also needs to be timeless. In simple English, not affected by the passage of time or changes in fashion.

Please do take a few seconds to digest that.

With that in mind, define what a trend is. No matter how much our definitions may differ, one thing that is likely to be common is the fact that,
trends are short-lived.

Now if you agree with the two points from the previous paragraphs, that a logo needs to be timeless and that trends are short-lived.
Does it really make sense for a logo designer to try achieve “timelessness” by employing a trend to its design?

Yes, there will be times where clients are the ones suggesting a certain look because they believe it’s “the in thing” — but that’s where you stop letting someone in need of a designer, lead the designer — you stand your ground and explain that the problem with that is that, the logo (and corporate identity) will look “so last year, next year” — it will look outdated.

You can get away with trends else where, but not on a logo.
A logo should never, ever be given a lifespan only fit for a poster.

There is also the so called “respected” industry leaders that cash in on collecting, publishing and selling books that showcases “logo design styles that were ‘in’ this year” — come end of each year.

The problem is that the “current” logo design trends are not compiled to help logo designers to stay away from them, they’re sold as an inspiration. Tell me one thing, in trying to inspire someone to be rich, which would be more effective? Showcasing lives of the rich or the suffering of the poor?
The issue I have with a lot of followers (industry) is that they develop a habit of leaving the thinking to their leaders (so called gurus).

Jeff Fisher gave a simple and on point comment regarding logo trends on a post by Jacob Cass that it deserves to be shared. He said,
“When a graphics industry expert proclaims something a current ‘design trend’ it is a ‘breaking news’ message to designers everywhere that the specific ‘trend’ should be avoided from that moment on – rather than followed by a thundering flock of design sheep.”

Logo designers should only browse through logo design trends with one mission, to see what sort of style or looks they should avoid.
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  • Simon Said:

    The perfect logo, which can not exist because nothing can be perfect, would have all the positive elements such as being memorable, unique and convey the “feeling” of the company it belongs to. Designers are tasked with finding this balance, and to not go over the top or stay to simple is the key to a good logo.
    — On June 9th, 2009 at 10:26 am [permarlink]
  • Mokokoma Mokhonoana Said:

    Simon,

    Let me first start by tackling “the perfect logo” — Oxford Dictionary defines perfect as; having all required or desirable elements, qualities or characteristics or anything that is free from flaw.

    So depending on the context, perfection can exist in a logo design.

    While I agree with you that simplicity is key to a good logo design, I think a simple logo that is not memorable is unlikely to realize its full potential.

    Since logos mainly exist to identify and evoke associations to a brand, I think a logo has to be memorable.

    Thank you very much for sharing your views.
    — On June 9th, 2009 at 11:20 am [permarlink]
  • Andrew Sabatier Said:

    Trying to identify logo trends is a waste of time. A brandmark reflects the ideas that drive the brand.

    There may be trends in brands that are then reflected in the brandmark but these trends are unlikely to be identified by studying brandmarks alone. The whole brand needs to be engaged and the idea properly identified to appreciate why a brandmark looks as it does.

    A logo is superficial and decorative, like lipstick on a pig whereas a brandmark leads an entire brand experience, inside and out.
    — On February 24th, 2010 at 12:17 pm [permarlink]
  • Mokokoma Mokhonoana Said:

    Andrew Sabatier,

    I think the root of the problem is that very few graphic designers, newbies and experienced alike, have a thorough knowledge and understanding of branding.

    It is one topic that’s not touched at all, even in its basic form, in most graphic design institutions.

    The sad part being that graphic design in a way exists to serve branding.

    Graphic designers have been obsessed with the technicality and the beauty of their artworks that they forget the brand idea, brand image or brand message to be sold or communicated.
    — On February 24th, 2010 at 1:11 pm [permarlink]
  • Andrew Sabatier Said:

    Mokokoma Mokhonoana,

    Without branding graphic design is useless. Every aspect of design should be concerned with what meaning is being directed. Making things look good will only get designers so far.

    Brands are a way to direct meaning effectively. It doesn’t matter whether you’re designing a flyer, an annual report or advertising campaign, in each instance an identity is being defined. A brand is the total experience of a particular identity.

    Ultimately everything is subject to branding, not just graphic design. Graphic design can only assist in articulating a brand.
    — On February 24th, 2010 at 4:32 pm [permarlink]
  • Mokokoma Mokhonoana Said:

    Andrew Sabatier,

    I share the same sentiments, graphic design is just one portion of the numerous disciplines that exist to help articulate a brand.
    — On February 24th, 2010 at 8:53 pm [permarlink]
  • Phanuel Said:

    I disagree with Andrew graphic design doesn’t need brands. Design is as important as a building of a company.
    — On March 1st, 2010 at 3:10 pm [permarlink]
  • Mokokoma Mokhonoana Said:

    Phanuel,

    Like I said, I share the same points of view as Andrew. Luckily, I’ve just published this writing which I think explains the correlation between graphic design and branding.

    I also tried to articulate how graphic design that isn’t backed by a branding strategy is futile in todays’ overcrowded markets.

    — On March 2nd, 2010 at 10:09 am [permarlink]

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