The evolution of logo design

Logo design is currently undergoing a process known as 'de-branding,' or ‘de-cluttering.'


It's essentially removing anything unnecessary and redundant, resulting in a lightweight version of your logo. Consider it like a Formula 1 car, where anything that adds weight is removed.

Let's take a trip back in time about 15 years. As computers became more powerful, we were able to finally add graduations, drop shadows, bevels and a great deal of complexity to our logos and designs. It was a matter of if we can do it now, so we will!


The circled logos show that graduations, detail and bevels were commonly used in logo design.


As a result, 3D logos became the in-thing, and they could be found everywhere.

If you only look at car companies, you'll notice that the bulk of their logos had a 3D look.


Bevelled 3D logos have now changed to flat 2D logos.


The Apple iPhone's iOS6 also included this new design style. The camera was designed to resemble a real camera lens, with app icons that resembled the 'real life' version. The concept was that the end user still struggled to relate to actual items in the digital world, therefore designers tried to bridge the gap by making icons more lifelike - a technique known as ‘Skeuomorphic Design’. It was especially noticeable on the iPhone screen.

All of that changed on September 18th, 2013, when Apple released iOS7. Lifelike icons were phased out in favour of 2D, flat linear, simple icons and designs. Apple took a risky approach, but it revolutionised the way we all create. It sent shockwaves through the design industry, and designers began to remove 'fashionable' bevels, graduations and other elements from their designs and logos in favour of a cleaner, simpler style.

Apple iOS7 radically changed the look of app icons used. Picture Apple


This has evolved as mobile phones have progressed and have become more essential as a medium for displaying graphics. Many global firms have simplified their logos to reflect the latest trend of 'Mobile first' design. On a mobile device, a simple, flat 2D logo will load faster and resize easier than a 3D bevel version, making it easier to view and use.


A selection of companies that have simplified their logos.

The ‘Little black dress logo’, or that of the major fashion brands has seen them change their iconic, individual logos for something that is ‘mobile ready’. The issue is that they've lost their distinctiveness, since they've become largely sans serif using a blocky font.

A re-brand is not something to be taken lightly, as the cost of a global brand may run into the millions of pounds and every touchpoint must be altered to maintain consistency.


To see a video on YouTube of Paul Tompsett talking through the changes look at this video.

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