Logo Design Trends 2008

_ Branding and Identity Design Resources

Organic 3D

_corporate identity design

Here’s something new for 2008: we will be seeing 3d effects in logo design that will reach different places and stimulate different viewers who are craving for a new, fresh look! Polish those lenses and see 3D escalate to a higher level!

Let’s take an example. You’re seeing the Silverlight logo for the first time. Your eyes are trying to absorb every feature and then-you suddenly react. What’s your first reaction? A breathless “WOW”? Do you find yourself saying “aha”? Does the Silverlight logo design trigger a feeling in you, arousing a desire to actually want to see the product that’s behind that logo? That reaction was what the creators of this corporate logo were aiming for.

The logo designer starts with a very basic shape that is applied to a simple transparency effect. This can lead to a more complicated process, but one thing you must remember is that the end result should look as organic as possible. Take your distortion tool for a good spin!

We welcome this type of logo design because it stands out and it tells us that it’s not “run of the mill.” You see, the 3d bubbles and transparency effects – which were overused – were getting really boring. There is just one downside: ”eye catching ” logos were appearing on the scene and becoming more sophisticated but they are not necessarily the easiest to print.

n fact, the capability to print the logo exactly as it looks on screen is a frequent request that stands at the basis of corporate logo creation. Is it possible that the constant technological development that now allows us to accurately reproduce a design on different surfaces will generate changes in the classic laws of logo design?

Technology organizations that produce and market groundbreaking products and services use this type of company logo design. By using the “organic 3d” effect, logo creators avoid that cold image look which is so typical of other companies’ logos in the technology field. This type of logo is not only eye catching, but is also friendly. And here’s a bonus: the lighting effect is fantastic!

Waves - The New Swooshes

That’s it – no more swooshes! After years of being number one, swooshes have now been replaced by the so-called waves. Do you see these waves in the above logos? Top graphic designers use them to inject more flexibility and flow into the design. To highlight the idea of movement, logo designers execute a fade technique from one color to another for this type of logo design. It does not matter if a single wave is used or is incorporated into the design; the round shapes give it flexibility so that the viewer gets a sense of movement and of communication. “Waves” are a good strategy to suggest the feelings of movement, transfer, quickness and connection. They are not easy to use, but if you master the technique, you can produce and optimize the effect.

“Waves” are now IN – they have replaced swooshes, swirls and other curves you find in logo designs everywhere. Could waves be the new swooshes? Will they dominate the scene in a few years? Long time ago we thought swooshes were trendy. Then they rose in popularity so much they become a big NO NO. And today, waves are hugging the limelight. Will this be the new trend? We shall see!

"Web 2.0" Logos

Designers often hear the term “web 2.0” from their customers who ask for this specific type of logo. The term Web 2.0 actually refers to certain technologies (Ajax, Ruby, etc). The thing is, can we really say that there’s a new trend in graphic design, the web 2.0 design?

It seems to be the case these days. A web2.0 logo is now synonymous to a modern and trendy logo, and this is why we find an impressive number of tutorials on the Net that allow designers to transform existing logos into web 2.0 logos. What characteristics do web 2.0 logos have? They have bright colors, color levels, cute, icons, 3D effects, shiny surfaces, shadows and reflexions. The fonts are simple and most of them rounded. In some cases the color levels, shines and 3D effects are also applied to the lettering.

These effects must be used very carefully, because we have seen countless cases where the logo designer uses these elements to make a logo look good but neglects to give the concept the necessary attention it deserves.

Some of these logos are beautiful. They catch your eye instantly and give you the feeling of sophistication and technology. But is the web 2.0 logo design trend strictly related to the current popularity of web 2.0 technology? Will this trend fade when something else replaces web 2.0 technology?

Interestingly enough, we are sure that this type of logo can also be called the “apple type logo”. We are all familiar with the Apple logo; in fact we were astonished when in 1998, Apple gave up the “rainbow logo” and launched the “glass Apple logo “. This logo has turned out to be one of the most famous brands in the world, and it “stirred up the crowd” without any doubt when it was first launched. The fresh, innovative 3D technical image was one influential factor, but its bright and warm qualities contributed to the evolution of logo design and the way a brand should be perceived.

Today we are flooded with 2.0 web logos that unfortunately have become too common. We’ll have to wait and see whether they are here to stay or are just a passing trend. What do you think?

Transparency in logo design

We’ll say this right away: transparency has always been fashionable. Designers often use transparency, thanks to the notion of elegance that it communicates. Transparency allows the combination of different design elements offering the viewer a special image. With the help of transparency you can create perspectives, suggest the ideas of growth, development, combination and connection.

Some famous designers are of the opinion that only inexperienced logo designers use transparency and color levels. We disagree. Transparency enables you to create some unique effects that definitely catch the attention of the viewer.

Transparency makes the design brighter, and the subtle transition from one element of the design to another provides the illusion of a bright spot. Take a close look at the DarienLibrary logo. What better suggestion would you make regarding the existence of additional elements without the help of transparency?

"Underground" Typography - Minimal Fonts

Examine the logos above. Have you seen similar ones before? These are logos that we have often found on the sites of Typographic Artists over the last few years. Who would have thought, however, that they would become mainstream by the year 2007?

These logos are based on minimal fonts that are achieved by using as few elements as possible such as basic shapes (e.g. a circle arch for the Wends logo). This technique is based on simple shapes, exact proportions, and a boundless love for minimalist design. This type of logo design will suit some people and companies perfectly but it continues to create confusion among conservatives.

Here’s a question: can this type of design lead to the development of a good logo? Most people would be inclined to say no, especially if the classic principles of logo design – Legibility and Readability – need to be considered. It’s true that logos based on the so- called Minimal Fonts do not provide immediate conveyance of the message. However, most agree that they do manage to catch the viewer’s attention, provoking a sentiment or desire to “figure out” what the message is.

Those who are looking at such logos will immediately want to find out the name of the company and to grasp the meaning of these logos. Furthermore, there is the element of shock when viewers see something new and very different from what is usually seen on the web.

You could even say that this type of logo often proves to be more efficient than a logo that merely conforms to classic rules. This statement is relevant to a discussion on the emerging new rule: the more a design is different to what is happening in the industry at a given moment, the better and more efficient a logo is. Logo designs based on minimal fonts require a long-term experience in graphic design and typography; they are also not yet suited for all kinds of customers. We see an increasing number of them being used on album covers of good electronic music, on web sites that target the indie audience, or on web sites of “cult” graphic design studios.

It is our opinion that this is so far the coolest trend for 2008. We hope to see more logos that are created using this particular trend.

New Rainbow / Color Scale

We’ve seen a thousand rainbows in our lifetime. Yet, each time we see one, we can’t help but stare admiringly at the sky even for just a few seconds. We feel that sentiment of wanting to “chase rainbows” as the lyrics of a song go.

Classic rainbow-colored semicircles have been widely used in the last decade but alas, have quickly become passé. However, the fascination with the full color scale continues. Lately, we have been seeing a lot of “rainbow colors” that are being manipulated in a variety of ways. Most designers will use transparency in order to highlight the visual effects and to enable the fusion of colors, thus obtaining an impressive shift from one color to another. Techniques like vivid colors, shifting from shades of red to blue facilitated by an entire spectrum of color, and especially the usage of a dark background to highlight each color lead to outstanding logos that will always be attractive to the human eye.

These logos convey the concepts of sophistication, technology and freshness. With a nearly infinite number of possibilities for combining colors, the visual effect is invariably special. What is really spectacular is that although the classical rainbow representation has come to an end, the message still remains the same: there are no boundaries – nothing is impossible. This trend proves that using classic elements will generate novelty and will also bring about up-to-date and striking directions.

Sci-Fi Fonts

In logo design the font frequently serves to strengthen the message as conveyed by the image. But what about the typographic logos? In this particular case, choosing the right font is crucial. Many of these logos can be memorable. With the development of the number of personal computers per capita, we are now witnessing the rise of a new category of logos , using what the industry refers to as Sci-Fi fonts.

Whether they are the creation of famous designers such as RayLarabie and Wim Crouwel or are projects produced in the typography classes of some diligent students, we have seen an ever-increasing number of these fonts over the last few years.

In the beginning of 2000 and later, we remember graphic design teachers recommending infrequent usage of these fonts. Their reason was that it was just a passing trend. What happened was the opposite. It seems they’re digging their feet in.

The frequent use of sci-fi fonts, with straight edges and simple shapes has imposed itself as a new trend in logo design. We’ve seen various designers “play” with these fonts in their logos: they either change the font shape or create a new one in programs such as FontLab.

Let’s take a look at the example of Compaq. Compaq chose this type of font for its company logo redesign project in 2007. It clearly conveys the company’s new slogan: “See why Compaq gets people talking”. See how that slogan is conveyed in the shape of the Q? See the Talk Box? That’s an example of a logo that clearly conveys the core message by means of wording only. After all, less is more, isn’t it?


No matter which logo design collection you browse through, you will notice that they have all been “invaded” by leaves over the last few years. Leaves here and there, leaves everywhere! You sit and wonder why. Could this be the result of a common concern for the environment and the harmful effects of pollution? Is it because green is trendy? Or are humans aching for nature because they sit all day in their office cubicles facing their computer screens making them crave for the natural outdoors?

Leaves have become synonymous with creativity, originality, and innovative thinking. We also find leaves in company logos even if the companies are not engaged in the business of nature or the environment. But the key notion here is that the use of leaves somehow “tames” the message conveyed.

Lots of web 2.0 sites feature leaves making spring-green the preferred web 2.0 color. We’re not talking about the classic image of the leaves themselves but about their stylization, especially under the form of rectangles with rounded edges – this is a modern representation in accordance with modern design trends.

These logos are usually simple and leave the viewer with a pleasant image. Another benefit is that these company logos are very catchy. The thing we have to be wary of is the overwhelming invasion of leaves – they are now overused. Tutorials have already appeared, showing how to create a leaf logo. Will this trend last or will it lead to the need for raking the leaves and sending them off to the dump site? What do you think?

The "Ugly" 80's

Take a look at the logo designs above. What’s your first reaction? They bowl you over and leave you speechless – and somewhat confused don’t they?

These logos don’t have beautiful shapes, shadows, mirrored reflections, warm colors, or icons that signify something; they look like the result of some kid playing around mindlessly. So why would anyone wish to have such a logo?

The explanation is simple: this type of logo design is very different and will definitely stand out by sheer reason of being totally different. But if we look back to the 80’s which was a period of strange geometric shapes and neon colors – these types of logos came about and earned the reputation of spearheading the invasion of “cute logos”.

The emergence of this trend can also be attributed to a mighty comeback of the 80’s in fashion ,interior and industrial design. Some consider these logos to be modern and futuristic; others think of them as plain ugly. But let’s not be too harsh in our criticism because the mere fact that they are so talked about is noteworthy enough.

There are numerous articles that picked apart the London 2012 logo. Although many agree that the 80’s have not demonstrated excellence in graphic design and people severely criticized this trend, we should nevertheless consider the advantages that this type of logo has to offer: first, it stands out and gets noticed; second, it’s totally different than anything we’ve seen before; and third, it’s never boring.

In fact, we’ll even venture out to say that it’s outrageous, exciting and rude. Each of the colors symbolizes an explosion of energy, action and sound in accordance to our living present. The message is quickly and brutally conveyed and it doesn’t require thinking on the part of the viewer. In other words, an alluring and attractive no-brainer!

We’ll add that this trend has revolutionized logo design and fueled the process of creativity by imposing new rules and redefining what’s beautiful. Of course, there are still risks involved regarding this type of approach, the highest risk being the inability, on the part of the viewer, to understand the message. Companies that cannot afford an expensive publicity budget like the one for Wacom or London 2012 are particularly susceptible to this risk. So designers, pay attention! “It’s pure attitude, designed to intrude and degrade.” (Tony Spaeth)

The New Crest

New Crest logos have been around in the last few years. The year 2008 though will sound out the trumpets – New Crests go Mainstream!! With the clever combination of medieval symbolism and urban culture graphic elements, the New Crest logos appealed to the youth when they first appeared. Eventually, they were also adopted and embraced by the extreme sports and boarding communities everywhere. At the same time they were used by well known graphic designers for big clients like MTV etc.

Maybe it’s the contrast between the old and new – novelty fonts against medieval lions as an example; another example would be the ancient decorations versus modern objects.

Collage is the main process behind these emblems, blending the right elements to strike the right chord. And if you think about it, isn’t this what graphic design is all about anyway?

We tend to like new crests and think it’s a good experiment to try with the right client in 2008 and the years to come. One word of caution: new crest logos are not for beginners. Designers need to get some experience under their belt first before taking a crack at these logos. It takes a trained eye and oodles of creativity and imagination to take new crest logos into new highs!