Many of you are probably clamoring over to your favorite design blog to read up about the newest logo design trends of 2018. We’re here to tell you about the logo trends to avoid.
We believe that following the most popular design trends will ultimately leave your company’s logo feeling dated and stale. By knowing what to avoid, you’ll be better equipped to arm your business with a fantastic and creative logo.
Why does it matter? Because first impressions are everything.
Studies show that it only takes seven seconds for a customer to create their first impression of your business. With such a limited amount of time to keep potential customers interested in your products or services, it’s no wonder that businesses obsessively labor over logo design trends. Your logo is the gateway to your brand; it should tell your customers what to expect from your company.
Avoiding poor logo design is a lot like choosing an appropriate wardrobe. While a Hawaiian shirt might be acceptable for lounging around on the beach, you wouldn’t dress casually in the boardroom. On the other hand, you wouldn’t wear a suit and tie to the beach. Keeping up with logo design trends is one way to make sure your business doesn’t look out-of-touch.
How can you protect yourself against old logo design trends?
Choosing a poor logo design is easy if you don’t know what to look for. Therefore investing in an experienced logo designer is one of the best investments your business can make to avoid following old logo design trends.
In this article, we’ll help you avoid overused and outdated logo design trends. We'll be pointing out stereotypical and exhausted logo design trends of the past decade, according to experienced designers.
If you know what should be avoided, you can guide your designer accordingly and make sure he/she is on track. Here are some logo choices to avoid when considering your company’s next logo design.
Number 1 - Font type Helvetica
(Image credit: designcontest)
Simple, minimalist and elegant. These are the words most often used to describe Helvetica. This sans-serif font has become a fixture in the world of design. Once a symbol of a modern and clean design aesthetic, the once-revered font choice has become the top typographical trope of the new millennium. Sorry Comic Sans, your reign of terror is over.
Developed by Max Miedinger in 1957, Helvetica saw a rise in popularity during the minimalistic rage of the mid-aughts, mostly due to Apple’s stranglehold over the world of design at the time. Helvetica has become the stereotypical choice for older companies trying to streamline and modernize their design. It is also a common choice of start-ups trying to showcase an air of maturity. Large corporations such as McDonalds, BMW, Gap, Motorola and Panasonic have used the logo to try and convey an Ives-esque design zen.
According to Web Designer Depot Helvetica has “become so overused that it has lost its distinction”. They make an excellent point.
If you want your brand’s logo to stand out from the crowd, using a commonly used font will result in the opposite effect.
Number 2 - Swooshy human figures
(Image credit: StockLogos.com)
Taken at face value, using a human figure in your company’s logo seems like a fine idea. It conveys a certain level of familiarity, humanity and friendliness. Unfortunately, it also suggests unoriginality. Take a glance through your town’s phone book and you’re bound to find at least two or three local businesses that use the standard swoosh person. You’ll know him when you see him - he’ll be the one-legged gender-neutral fellow with his arms held high above his perfectly curved torso.
99designs rightfully calls the swoosh man completely “devoid of originality”. A company that uses a faceless human figure in their branding suggests to the customer a lack of emotion and personality. Add in the fact that the swoosh man is used as the figurehead for so many companies, and you have yourself one boring design choice.
Number 3 - Arc over text
(Image credit: Design Shack)
Just because it works for Amazon, doesn’t mean it will work for you. The use of the arc in modern logo design has become the definition of unoriginality. The purpose of the arc is to convey movement and forward thinking, but what it really relays to the customer is laziness and a lack of inspiration. The generic usage of the arc makes it seem like a safe choice for some business owners. Safe isn’t necessarily synonymous with effective.
Design Shack says that it is impossible to maintain “any semblance of a unique identity” when you include a standard arc in your logo design. Any designer worth her weight in gold would never throw a design element as flat and standard as the curved arc over your company’s name and call it a decent design.
Number 4 - Chat bubbles
During the social media boom, it seemed that every tech company was integrating chat bubbles into their logo design. Start-up companies just couldn’t get enough of them. To a certain extent, and for a select number of companies, the chat bubble isn’t a terrible design choice. It is versatile enough to be used creatively and conveys an aura of open dialog and collaboration.
Unfortunately, there were so many new social media companies trying to find their way amidst the chaos, that most of them never got noticed. Out of all of the social media sites that are still left standing, how many of them feature a chat bubble in their company logo? As Design Shack says, the chat bubble “isn’t an easy element to leverage without a result that looks like everything else on the market”.
Number 5 - Your own face
(Image credit: Zunda Group)
I can’t tell you how often we see a personal logo include a picture or rendering of their own smug mug. If there is anything that makes our eyes roll, it’s the sight of an ego the size of Texas. You are not selling yourself, you are selling your product. Unless your logo is featured on a Diner place mat, there is no reason for your face to be on your logo, period. Even Oprah doesn’t use her likeness on her company’s logo design.
Using your face in your company’s branding material is like handing your customers a note that says “Hello, I’m arrogant.”
Until your silhouette is as famous as Alfred Hitchcock’s, keep your logo and your face separate. As far as SitePoint is concerned, it’s better to “visually allude to products and services offered instead of substituting imagery of the people offering them”.
Number 6 - Arrows and Native American imagery
(Image credit: Your Logo Is Not Hardcore)
A few years back, we noticed Native American traditional art popping up everywhere, and not just in logo design. We saw our friends get tattoos of stylized arrows up their arms. We watched as Native American patterns started creeping into clothing design. It wasn’t long until Native American-style archery arrows were integrated into logo design.
This is a perfect example of companies jumping on a trend while the iron was hot, only to discover that now their brand looks the same as dozens of competing companies.
This arrow aesthetic has become so common that designer Ean MacKaye has devoted a Tumblr to the design phenomenon. It was a pretty neat design when it was being used in moderation. Now, it has become such a ubiquitous symbol that the design will forever be associated with hipster coffee shops.
What’s the Bottom Line?
It is true that cliched design might seem like the safe road for your company. But the only thing you’ll achieve will be to prove to your customer that you are uninspired and not worthy of their attention.
We understand that right now, everything in your body might be telling you to keep it safe and simple. It’s important to let your designer be creative.
Those of you who don’t feel safe putting all your eggs in one basket might want to consider trying out a logo design contest. Contest sites allow designers to fight for the role as your company’s logo mastermind. Since the contest sites work almost exclusively with experienced designers, you can rest assured that they already know which logo design trends to avoid and which design elements to embrace.
Logo design contests are an option you might want to consider during your brand's brainstorming phase. The company's collaboration with a logo designer input is a very important part of the logo design process. The more information you provide the designer during these beginning stages, the better the final result will be.
Just remember, your company’s logo is the most visible part for your company. When customers think about your business, there should be a creative logo that subconsciously pops into their minds every single time. As designer Neville Brody once said, “Digital design is like painting, except the paint never dries”. Your digital brand, no matter how new or how old, will always be a part of your image. Even if you have already made a bad design choice, it is never too late to revitalize your company’s brand. The paint never dries, and neither should your ambition.
We hope this article helps you during your logo design process! If you enjoyed this post, please share it!