Brand – Oct, 2023

Logo Design: the small screen evolution

More and more organisations have found their home online with inevitable consequences to brand identity design and logo design. Small screen sizes, responsive design and animation effects all feed into the pressure exerted on logos and their design.

The fairly rapid advancement of digital technology has seen a the transformation over the last decade. The digital age has impacted the way we conceptualise logo marques and integrate into brand identities. In this exploration, I’ll try and identify the changes that have shaped logo design over the past ten years and examine the profound influence of the digital era. However, it is also worth bearing in mind, much of the considerations and concerns designers are dealing with at the moment in terms of logo design are not very dissimilar to the thinking we have always had ever since the first motifs were created as a shortcut to a brand. Legibility, readability, recognition, versatility, reproducibility etc etc.

Designers have always understood logos have to work in black and white even if their ultimate manifestation will be in colour. The most successful marques use colour as an enhancement for greater recognition but require form as the main principle of the design. Not so long fax machines were ubiquitous. Reproduction quality was awful and of course they were  only ever in mono. Logo design absolutely had to consider this technology for some clients and in many ways this was far trickier than designing for digital now. Other considerations were such things as embroidery; school and sports badges for example. Technology again has become much better in this manufacturing process. It may be the case we as consumers are far less forgiving of badly rendered marques and motifs.

The Shift Towards Simplicity in Logo Design:

In the digital landscape, logos must be adaptable and instantly recognisable even on small screens. Consequently, intricate and ornate logos have given way to more streamlined, minimalistic designs. This shift is evident in the redesigns of major brands like recently Johnson + Johnson and many of the large fashion brands. Interesting though, Burberry simplified their logo in 2018 but reverted back to a more a more ornate version recently. Is this likely to become more common with a drive towards more distinctiveness.

Responsive Design:

With the proliferation of devices and screen sizes, responsive design has become a pivotal consideration in logo creation. Logos need to adapt to various resolutions and contexts seamlessly. Digital design tools have made it easier to create scalable vector logos that retain their integrity across a wide range of applications, from websites to mobile apps to billboards.

Animation and Motion Graphics:

In the digital era, logos are no longer static images. Animation and motion graphics have become integral to branding strategies. Logos come to life through subtle animations or dynamic transitions in digital environments. Animated logos offer a unique opportunity for brands to engage and connect with their audience in a more dynamic and memorable way.

Custom Typography:

Digital tools have empowered designers to experiment with custom typography more than ever before. Brands are increasingly opting for unique, handcrafted fonts to distinguish themselves in a crowded digital landscape. Typography plays a vital role in conveying brand personality, and digital design tools allow for greater freedom in creating and implementing custom typefaces.

Versatility and Adaptability:

Digital design tools have made it easier to create logos that work across a broad spectrum of mediums and applications. A modern logo must look impeccable on a website, a mobile app, a social media profile, and even on merchandise. The ability to quickly adapt a logo for different contexts has become a primary concern for designers, which is where digital tools excel.

User-Generated Content:

The digital age has ushered in an era of user-generated content and social media. Consumers frequently share and interact with brands online. This has led to the need for logos that can be easily recognisable even when produced by users on various platforms. Logos must be simple and distinctive enough for consumers to recreate them accurately, contributing to brand recognition.

Minimalistic Colour Schemes:

Digital platforms favuor minimalistic colour schemes that are both aesthetically pleasing and accessible. Brands have been simplifying their colour palettes to ensure that logos are versatile and remain effective on screens with different colour capabilities.

8. Social Media Icons:

A logo’s presence on social media platforms is now as critical as its use on a website or physical products. Consequently, logos often have to be adapted to fit within the constraints of social media profile pictures, where square or circular dimensions are common. Digital tools have made it easier for designers to create variations of logos specifically tailored for social media use.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality:

As virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have gained prominence, logos have had to evolve to fit these immersive digital experiences. In these environments, logos can appear as interactive elements or even serve as navigation markers, necessitating a reimagining of their design and functionality.

Take away

The past decade has been marked by a fundamental transformation in logo design, driven by the digital age. Digital tools have empowered designers to create logos that are simpler, more versatile, responsive, and adaptable to the demands of the digital landscape. Logos have become dynamic, interactive, and capable of evolving with the ever-changing ways in which consumers engage with brands online. As the digital realm continues to advance, logo design will undoubtedly evolve further, shaped by technology, changing consumer behaviours, and the dynamic nature of the digital ecosystem. It will be fascinating to observe how logos continue to adapt and thrive in this digital age. But is should also remembered, this only part of the ever evolving technology and let’s face fashion and taste.

Posted by Jack Owen