Flying cars, force fields, tractor beams, and carbonite freezing were some cutting-edge technologies depicted in the Star Wars series. While we may still be far from the future portrayed in the sci-fi fantasy action adventure in terms of technology, we are taking more than baby steps towards the world predicted in the film.
The world is changing fast, and as we stand at the crossroads of digital transformation and logo makeovers, it’s time we look back at what we are leaving behind in the hope of gaining in the future.
Let me begin by pointing out that the future of logo design and the graphic design industry is bright. While many traditional graphic design styles will fade, there will be many that will blend in with future technologies.
The future of graphic design
“In 10–15 years, the separation between technologically-driven graphic design and graphic nostalgia will broaden,” says Pj Richardson, creative director of Laundry. “Books, posters and signage will still exist with unusual new twists.”Source: Future of Everything
The future of logo design will depend on how graphic design evolves in the coming few years. As businesses shift from print media and rely more and more on digital media, the metamorphosis of the graphic design industry can already be noticed.
So, what does the future hold for the graphic design industry? Let us explore.
Death of the print media
Let me begin with the most controversial topic of the current decade—the death of the print media. While some believe that the print media will die a natural death due to the rise of digital technology, some still believe in the credibility and longevity of the print media. That said, with all the fake news and misinformation on the internet, print media has a long way to go.
The accelerated speed of technological progress will enable the graphic design industry to become immersive. In simple words, graphic design, in the next few years, will be digital while paper will take its exit.
The future is exciting when you think about what augmented reality (AR) could bring to the table. Let us understand the power of AR with an example:
You are a designer creating a hip layout for a store. No, you don’t sit on your chair putting your ideas on paper; instead, you carry your VR to the location and use it to construct new designs virtually. The possibilities are limitless when you think of AR.
AR will enable graphic designers to create multiple designs with real-life experience. From logos to fashion, AR can transform the world in unimaginable ways.
Created by Google, Material Design is a design language that combines the various elements of visual designs, along with new technical innovations. The immersive graphic interface enables graphic designers to optimize a user’s experience. Material Design can simulate real-life experiences by creating motions experienced in the real world.
After decades of evolution, we have finally introduced codes or algorithms that help machines become smarter. Machine learning (ML) is fast making its presence felt today.
Is my job safe as a designer? Will I be replaced by algorithms? Did a program just create 50 versions of a design that would take me a couple of weeks or more to design?
While your fear is valid, ML is only going to help you create amazing designs. Adobe has created Adobe Sensei, an ML tool that will enable graphic designers to perform better.
While the threat posed by ML and AI is real, software giants such as Adobe are creating tools that will allow humans and machines to work together.
We are in an age of transition and transformation, with the other side promising a brighter future. However, the future will depend upon the kind of actions we take today. The future of logo design may be nothing like we expect, or it may be even better than we can imagine!
Logo design: popular terms of the future
While some design terms are widely used today and will retain their prominence in the future, there are newer words evolving you should watch out for.
Blanding: The term describes the trend of favoring simple and sleek designs, which are impactful over their decorated counterparts. Brands are moving away from complex designs with intricate fonts, colors, and shapes.
Simple logos use minimum design elements to communicate the key personalities of a brand as precisely as possible. While designers use a mix of fonts, colors, and shapes to create relevant and simple-looking logos, the design never appears cluttered.
One of the earliest examples of blanding is BBC’s 1997 rebrand. Designed by Martin Lambie Nairn, the 1997 version of the logo is simple, slick, and relevant. While the rising popularity of blanding cannot be pinpointed at the moment, design gurus believe that these types of logos fit a loud and noisy world.
Lock-up: With so much happening within an organization as far as creating and maintaining its visual identity is concerned, it makes perfect sense to have proper brand guidelines in place. Having a brand style guide helps everyone within an organization maintain consistency when it comes to communicating details about the brand. A logo lock-up is an essential part of a brand style guide.
A lock-up version of a logo is the final form where all the design elements are locked in their proper places. A lock-up should never be altered in any way because it helps a brand maintain consistency.
The idea of lock-up versions has become very popular and is going to remain so in the future because of responsive web design. The lock-up version ensures that the logo appears consistent across devices and platforms.
Minimalism: The concept of minimalism in logo design has been around for some time. Top brands have adopted minimal logos because of their effectiveness. It is not difficult to see why brands are choosing minimal logos over their decorative counterparts. Not only is a minimal logo easy to remember, but it is incredibly simple to replicate the design.
While creating a minimal logo may appear simple to an average Joe, it takes several days and iterations for an accomplished designer to create a memorable emblem. Many brands do not subscribe to the idea of a minimal logo, but a stripped-down version of a decorated emblem can be more effective.
Themed alterations: Another popular term that you need to watch out for is themed alteration. While Google has been putting the concept to good use for well over a decade, it definitely is the thing of the future. So, what really is a themed alteration? Have you seen the Google logo change during holidays or special occasions like Halloween or Thanksgiving? Google tends to alter its logo tied to specific themes.
Not only does it keep the logo fresh, but it also helps establish a deeper connection with the audience. Themed alteration will be the next big thing in the future.
Logomotion: The next logical step in the evolution of a logo for a society obsessed with videos is logomotion design. Like themed alterations, Logomotion designs have been around for some time now. However, the future of logomotion will be something to watch out for. But, what is logomotion? Emblems that have moving or animated components are known as logomotion designs.
Imagine a logo with a sun that lights up slowly before going dark again or an emblem with a flower that blooms beautifully. The concept of logomotion designs makes all these possible. While logomotion may not be apt for print, it could very well be the future of logo design. As the world moves rapidly towards digitization, logomotion may be the perfect way to connect with people.
Variable: While responsive logos allow you to adapt to different platforms, variable logos enable you to communicate across various customer segments. Variable logos are extremely flexible because they are tailor-made for different groups of audiences. MTV logos, for example, have been using variable logos for well over 3 decades. Apart from minimalism and logomotion, variable logos will play an important role in the future.
Source: 3 Cats Labs
Does that mean everything old will become obsolete?
The short answer is no. The confusing answer, yes and no! Here’s what I mean by no, and yes and no.
Like everything in the world, graphic design has changed and evolved over time. While some styles and techniques have disappeared, some adopted and are with us today. Going by that theory, not everything old will disappear; however, some will not find its usefulness in the modern world.
For example, between the 50s and the 90s, graphic designers had to do almost everything manually. However, with computers changing our lives, things have become a lot simpler. Today, graphic designers can accomplish complex designs in a matter of a few hours, which would have taken weeks fifty years ago.
In the future, graphic designers will create an unimaginable design with many versions of the same in just under a few minutes!
Retro graphic design styles, such as psychedelic and retro 80s will be back in avatars in the future. Talking of which, here are 6 Google logo redesigns that have users on Reddit talking.
NASA, Google, and Apple are among the few logo redesigns created by Kapwing. The result of the logo redesigns has divided Reddit users on their opinion. However, the designs are nothing short of marvelous. Apart from their original versions, Kapwing has reimagined the iconic logos in Art Nouveau, Bauhaus, Psychedelic, Pop Art, Retro 80s, and 3D. McDonald’s Psychedelic avatar, Instagram’s 3D version, and NASA in Bauhaus style appear stylish and innovative.
Narkov24, a Reddit user wrote, “I love how we’re just so used to Google’s doodles that no matter the redesign, it never looks wrong or weird.”
“Pop art NASA and Bauhaus Insta + WWF might be better than the originals” mentioned another user
Image Source: Kapwing
Old graphic design styles that will enter the future
The future is built on the foundation laid by the past. If you wish to make any kind of progress in the future, embracing the past may bring you favorable results. Here are six graphic design styles that will enter the future. Let’s take a look at each one.
Inspired by natural forms such as flowers, plants, and trees, Art Nouveau is a dynamic art form. The style reached the peak of its popularity between 1890 and 1910. The dynamic design style has been revisited by artists many times during the last century. The artform again rose to prominence in the 60s when psychedelic designs had taken over the world. Art Nouveau elements were added to psychedelic designs to create a greater hallucinogenic effect.
Developed in 1919, the Bauhaus design style influenced various fields such as graphics, theater, typography, furniture, and architecture. The Bauhaus design style focuses on using varied geometric shapes with minimal color palettes. The style is known for modernism and simplicity. Design gurus believe that the retro design style will find its way into the future, albeit in a new avatar.
The mind-bending hallucinogenic effect is what psychedelic art is known to create. The youth countercultures in the 1960s were discovering a whole new world through music by artists like Jim Morrison, the Beatles, and Pink Floyd. Psychedelic art was the visual representation of the songs. The art form took off and remained at the center of the graphic design world for almost two decades. Psychedelic design style will also rule in the future because of its intensity.
The pop-art movement emerged in the US and the UK in the mid-1950s. The movement aimed at challenging the traditions of fine art. The movement used imagery from pop culture, which included comic books and advertising. Pop art and minimalism both aim to use simple design elements as opposed to complex artistic components used in traditional fine arts.
From hair metal bands to The Terminator to art deco, the 80s were all about insane patterns and vibrant colors. Led by Italian photographer and designer Ettore Sottsass, the distinct style of the 80s started with the Memphis design movement and influenced some of the best designers we know today. The retro 80s will continue to inspire generations of artists in the future.
Interesting read – 80s design patterns: what graphic design style was popular in this decade?
Another style that will enter the future is Art Deco. The geometric style, which became famous during the period between 1920 and 1930, was a stylistic reaction to Art Nouveau. The style draws inspiration from ancient Egyptian, African, and Roman art. The style influenced design, visual arts, and architecture.
Apart from old styles making it into the future, the technologies that await us there are truly exciting.
Is it time to let your old logo go?
Logos are the face of your company, which is why you must invest your time in creating an attractive logo. While designing a good logo is crucial, knowing when to let your old logo go also plays an important role.
Now, the important question: should you go for a complete overhaul or a partial refresh? Well, there are ways to figure out if you should go for a partial redesign or a complete overhaul. If you decide to overhaul your logo, think of the following questions:
- How will it impact my customers, stakeholders, and potential buyers?
- Is the change necessary?
- Does the logo highlight the brand’s key personalities?
Answering the above questions will enable you to decide which direction you should head. Sometimes simple changes can make a huge difference. The following changes can make your logo more impactful.
- Refining the fonts
- Using a fresh color palette
- Clearing the clutter to make the design flatter
- Introducing a new symbol
Assess your logo
Apart from asking the above set of questions, assessing your brand emblem will provide you with insights into the relevance of the logo. Ask yourself these questions when evaluating your logo.
Who is my audience?
Audiences change and evolve with time. Millennials are the largest generation in the US at the moment. The technology-driven generation demands convenience at their fingertips. Now compare them with the audience forty years ago, and you will know the difference. Your logo should reflect the current audience while retaining its originality.
How has your brand’s focus changed over the years?
Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher, said, “Change is the only constant in life.” Everything changes over time, and those that don’t adapt: fade away. In simple words, your company’s success lies in changing your focus with time so that you can meet various changing expectations. Human resource challenges, environmental changes, competition, and stakeholder expectations are amongst the few variables that could drive your company towards positive growth. Now take all these variables and compare those with your existing logo: does it highlight the changes?
Does your logo represent the key personalities of your brand?
A good logo highlights and communicates the key personalities of your brand. The logo you use now could have been great when you started, but does it highlight the evolution of your brand? Be it the logo design, packaging design, or even your website design, the visual aspects of your brand should be aligned with the evolved brand personality.
The bottom line
While it is true that we have to leave behind so many things that define the current generation, we will be carrying a whole lot from the past into the future. From AI to augmented reality to logo motion, the future of logo design looks truly bright.
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Besides having grown up in the design Industry, Christiaan has advised some of the world’s largest companies on their branding & packaging designs. Has been the resident judge for design awards, and has spoken at numerous global design & marketing events. Christiaan founded the London office of the award-winning Cartils agency, and has founded the DesignBro.com platform.