This year has seen a lot of big happenings in the logo design field. Yes, it’s been a crazy year, with no shortage of topics to buzz about. The best way to sum it up is that the year was simultaneously amazing and disappointing. We saw a lot of great design happen, and there were glimpses of a world starting to recognize the value of great logo branding. But we also saw companies unveil logos that look like a committee created it, and got frustrated during the revision process, ultimately finalizing on ineffective, unattractive design.
1. Google Freshens Up
One trend we saw a lot of was simplification. Many companies realized that a good way to refresh their image was to remove the gradients, drop shadows and other unnecessary elements from their logo.
Google cut the fat out, and came out with a simple, clean look for their logo and application bar. Experienced designers cheered, and the Bevel/Emboss function took Drop Shadow’s hand and slunk into a hidden background layer.
They obviously learned from the positive response to last year’s Chrome upgrade. The logo looks so much better with fewer gradients and effects.
What a refreshing change from their earlier logo! Business world, take heed!
2. Appalachian State Forgets What A Logo Is
Sluggishly waking from their post-turkey stupor, App State revealed its new logo the day after Thanksgiving. Yes, that’s the new logo on the bottom. It took many people a while to realize they weren’t kidding, because just look at it. He is named “Victory Yosef”.
With a straight face, Mountaineers director of athletics Charlie Cobb announced “The excitement that Victory Yosef has generated among our students, alumni and fans since we introduced it as a throwback logo last fall has been overwhelming. Due to its popularity, it only made sense to make Victory Yosef a permanent part of our branding. We hope that it endures as a recognizable mark of Appalachian athletics for years to come.”
The former logo, a beautiful, iconic mountain man, had been used for 14 years. It’s style is fairly common, but it communicates quickly the idea with interesting shading and highlights. Now the athletes get to wear a child’s drawing of Popeye Abe Lincoln on their helmets.
3. Yahoo Insults The Entire Graphic Design Industry
Too many people think graphic design is not a specialized profession, but something anyone can do, because the tools to make decent-looking Web pages, fliers, business cards, etc. are readily available. But is design the act of putting something on a page?
After months of teases and false alarms, Yahoo! finally unveiled the overworked and distorted nightmare that is their new logo. Were we taught in school not to distort a beautiful typeface like Optima, because a lot of thought was put into its’ architecture? Yes.
Does the CEO, Marissa Mayer, think that anyone can do design? Yes, and that’s a common misconception that we urgently need to fight. According to her blog, she “rolled up her sleeves, and dove into the trenches with (her) logo design team” and spent the “majority of Saturday and Sunday” designing the logo “from start to finish”. There’s so many things wrong with this post, it brings tears to my eyes.
This debacle represents the worst aspects of someone who doesn’t understand or accept that typography and graphic design in general are professions that benefit from years or decades of training. She shows a love for design, while implying that she is equally qualified to participate in it without mastering the process. Which annoyed a lot of professionals that have.
4. Philips Re-Invents The Logo Reveal
The marketing team at Philips really know the value of the slow reveal; it created a teaser social media campaign that allowed anyone to “claim” any of the 50,000 pixels in an image of the new logo by signing in with Facebook or Twitter and specific hashtag.
In this way, the shape and colors of the new identity were gradually revealed. On November 13, they officially launched their brand after engaging thousands of people and making sure their logo was talked about in all the right circles.
The reworked enclosure-style logo is cleaner, and works better at small sizes. It’s formerly thin lines are now stronger and the top is subtly rounded and friendlier. Even a novice can appreciate it’s clean lines and easy readability.
5. The National Reconnaissance Office Goes With The Octopus
Should the agency that operates America’s spy satellites be a little more subtle? Especially in this age of concern of individual privacy and paranoia? “Nothing is beyond our reach.” Ha!
After unleashing this terrifying logo for one of their spy satellites, a spokewoman explained: “NROL-39 is represented by the octopus, a versatile, adaptable, and highly intelligent creature. Emblematically, enemies of the United States can be reached no matter where they choose to hide.”
OK, great that we’re striking fear in the hearts of our nation’s enemies, but it also gives us a little glimpse into the agency’s mindset, that apparently is that they can strangle, devour or make little octopus babies with every soul on earth.
6. Farmers Strips Down
How many discussions have we had with clients about the concept of “less is more”? Keep this image somewhere safe, so you can quickly illustrate your point.
They lost the tagline and found new respect in the design world by letting the text breathe while still retaining it’s essence; a sunrise and shield.
“The new logo captures our belief that by helping customers make more informed insurance decisions, we can provide them with greater knowledge, confidence and security,” says Mike Linton, farmers’ chief marketing officer. “The new logo is part of the Farmers transformation to an organization that not only serves our customers better, but also helps empower them.”
Yes, it gained an ink color. The logo makes up for that in white space and simplicity. Well done, Lippincott design agency, and well done, Farmers.
7. Miami Dolphins Now Swimming Without Head Protection
Much like Stephen Colbert’s painting of himself in front of a painting of himself, the original logo for the Miami Football helmets featured a dolphin who himself wears a helmet. Whenever I saw it, I wished it had a smaller dolphin on the dolphin’s helmet.
For the first time in 4 logo versions, the dolphin’s head was let loose, allowing the dolphin to swim naturally and show off its artistic curves. Instead of making the dolphin jumping out of the water, the animal is in a “more powerful and ascending position”, according to Claudia Lezcano, the Dolphins’ chief marketing officer. She stated. “We wanted to have a look toward the future but be anchored in our iconic past.”
When you look back on 2013, what stands out in your mind? Did you create something that makes you burst with pride? Did any of your design views change? Hopefully 2014 will be a year of growth and development for all of us.