Logos are one of those things that it is very easy to overlook the importance of. Of course, any business owner worth their salt will be able to tell you, in no uncertain terms, exactly why a good logo is so vital for any business, large or small.
A good logo is something most of us can’t help but admire. Many of them will often elicit a smile, a laugh, or a nudge to our companion.
However, some of the best logo designs out there adopt a ‘less is more’ approach. These logos embrace simplicity and minimalism, often appearing basic and underwhelming until closer inspection reveals a flourish of design. Whether a logo is ornate, or more simplistic, its ultimate purpose remains the same.
Why Logos Matter?
It often helps to think of a logo as being like an autograph or signature for a business. Just as people have a unique way of writing their names that identifies them as an individual, the logo of a business is a means of identifying the business just by looking at it. Seems like an obvious point, right?
But you will come to realise that, outside of the graphic design community, there are plenty of things about logos that appear to be much more obvious than they are. A good logo can do more than identify its owner to an audience; they can:
- convey some of the brands’ key principles.
- help to boost sales by making the brand appear to be more upmarket.
- attract potential customers who would otherwise have passed straight by.
- invoke particular ideas, emotions, and concepts.
- denote a change or re-branding of a business.
Online logos are a completely new ball-game. They are often even more prominently displayed than a business logo in the real world. Digital logos are much easier to change than a logo that is physically made and attached to a building. This gives logo designers a little more wiggle room in terms of making alterations and changes to any logos they produce. It is cheaper and easier to redo a logo that only exists digitally than it is to have physical signs and merchandise remade.
The following logo design trends are the ones that seem to be having the biggest impact on the way businesses approach the logo design for their websites and online services this year.
Responsive, Contextual Logos
The digital space is a world unto itself when compared with the real world. From the perspective of a business designing a logo, and the business displaying it, the relationship between the logo itself, the place it is displayed, and what exactly that logo can ‘do’ are all very different. The notion of the interactive logo in the real world is not unheard of, and can be a very effective way of drawing viewers in.
But with the internet to work with, it is trivial to add some form of interactive element to your logo, even if this is something as simple as having the logo move when a viewer hovers their mouse cursor over it. You can use this as a means of demonstrating that your business has a more fun and laid-back side to it, or of providing the viewer with some kind of Easter egg. These fun little touches can be surprisingly effective at helping your business to stay firmly in the minds of customers when they are looking for a business in your field.
Architecture, much like logos, has two primary focuses that are constantly vying for importance; form and function. The form of a logo or a building refers simply to how to looks. These are the aesthetic qualities of the piece under consideration. Function, on the other hand, refers to how well suited the building is at providing the service expected.
For example, let’s say you have designed an absolutely stunning dining room. The way that the walls, floor, and ceiling have all been decorated gives visitors the true feeling that they are in the midst of one of M. C. Esher’s dreams! Alas, one designer took the concept a bit too far and in order to get a seat at a table, guests have to navigate a set of impossible stairs. In this case, we would say that form has won out over function.
With respect to a website logo, something similar is true when you have a logo that is undeniably pleasing to look at, but which makes it hard to decipher. Adopting form over function means that, while your logo might be drawing the viewers eye, it isn’t leading to them actually visiting your website. Worse still, if your business name isn’t easy to read, how can word of mouth spread!?
If your online business is connected to, named after, or operates out of a building that is well known in the local area, be sure to capitalise on this with your logo.
The internet makes something possible with regards to logos that would otherwise be very difficult to achieve, namely interaction. There are some logo and business card designs in the real world that allow for some form of interaction, but this is a far more realistic process when you are dealing with a website.
The number of ways that you can make a logo interactive are essentially endless, the only limit is your imagination! An interactive logo on your website could simply rearrange itself when you move your mouse over it. Or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, it could automatically adjust itself according to the section of the website you visit. However you decide to implement it, an interactive logo is much more memorable, which makes your business memorable too.
As time goes on, it is likely that the biggest trend we will see grow is that towards interactive logos. It is now trivially easy for businesses to create logos that will respond according to our physical location (using our phone’s GPS), and will respond to our other interests and hobbies (as determined by data on our smartphones). This trend will also no doubt be pushed by the burgeoning field of augmented reality (AR), which means that when a consumer views a logo though their smartphone, they will see it come to life or change in some way.
The logos we see around us in our day to day lives are inspired from a variety of different places. Whether a logo is on our computer screen, or on a sign outside a shop, even the simplest of logos are created with purpose. As we develop new and exciting ways of bringing these logos to life, we can expect the online and offline worlds to merge. Soon, even offline logos will begin to embrace the principles of their offline counterparts.