What makes a logo special? Do we judge its effectiveness based on utility? Is its value determined by how well-received it is? If you want your logo to feel remarkable and relevant, you need to keep an eye on how logo design trends are evolving.
Predicting which logo design trends will dominate the terrain ahead means appreciating what’s come before them. Now more than ever designers are willing to look at past trends while pushing the boundaries with new styles. In 2019, we’re seeing a fierce appreciation for color, storytelling and design-defying experimentation. The interesting new ways designers are elevating logo design by playing with familiar styles and clever use of color are going to make 2019 an electrifying year in logo design.
9 logo design trends that will be huge in 2019
1. Variable logo design
2. New Age geometry
3. Logos that trick the eye
4. Purposeful color
5. Elevated negative space
6. Shift in minimalism
7. Logos with pedigree
8. Overlapping elements
9. Maximizing details
Designers are working in an era where brands are hyper-aware of the fact that their logo will be viewed on a multiplicity of platforms. We covered a similar trend last year, but brands are no longer just concerned with how well a logo translates across platforms, they’re also asking how it can help them build a stronger personal connection with different groups of customers. How can my logo speak equally well to millennials and families? Enter, variable logos that adjust depending on which group you’re talking to.
In 2019, this trend admonishes any one-size-fits-all approach to logo design. Variable design individualizes the relationship between customer and client because these logos embrace the challenge of adaptability. Specialized iconography, dynamic typography and thoughtful customization help frame genuine connections to an audience’s specific needs.
Sulliwan Studio’s logo for Public Space was designed with major brand flexibility in mind. A series of interchangeable pictograms accompany the logo’s standard typography and can be amended to form new logotypes depending on the customer.
Russia’s Perm Opera Ballet Theatre can update their mark, designed by Elena Kitayeva, for different stage productions and alternate between a variety of images, patterns and color gradients, depending on who they’re speaking to and who they want to attract.
The pliancy of variable logo design is what makes it so desirable. Companies looking to personalize their relationship with consumers are gravitating toward this trend because it provides prime targeted delivery, while at the same time keeping their logo recognizable. In 2019, expect to see logos adapt to their audiences in flexible, creative ways.
Once certain trends become recognizable, we subconsciously limit their potential. Case in point: geometric design styles, which have fallen prey to a distinction for being overtly mathematical, cold and even authoritarian. Although it’s easy to define geometric logos as such, in 2019 there is an upward trend where designers are pushing that ceiling by deliberately pairing their creations with vibrant colors and friendlier compositions to offset its reputation.
The New Age geometry trend is all about giving geometric logos a warmer look. “Mix bold geometric shapes with colorful palettes. Clean and minimal but strong,” suggests 99designer Claudia C., on crafting trendy geometric logos.
The Two Kings House pulls circles, triangles and rectangles together with a regal color palette to form a large, reflected portrait of a King holding a rose. Here 99designer ethereal’s impressive logo redefines our experience with geometric design by taking those commonplace objects then layering them with color and playing with line thickness. An artistic take on geometry like this reconciles the frigidity of modern brands with the yearning for a more personal feel.
The French term “trompe l’oeil” translates to “deceive the eye” and that’s exactly what this logo trend is all about. When you’re accustomed to cycling through ideas day in and day out, playing with visual tricks keeps your enthusiasm for logo design alive. This innovative practice that designers are turning to in order to reenergize their creative juices is also a trend that will dominate logo design in 2019: logo designs that play off tricking the eye—more explicitly, the art of perspective and distortion. Fragmented, warped or visually broken… it’s all good here.
Playing with perspective is a cool way to disrupt what is considered acceptable in logo design. Notice how the examples above create the illusion of three-dimensional objects and play with depth. Specifically, Hampus Jageland’s creation for EdgeBoard, an Australian company specializing in chopping boards. Jageland melts together the E and B in the company name and tricks the eye by angling the letter B to look like it’s on the other side of a 90degree wall. The logo works perfectly because we see perspective in action and it accurately reflects the name of the business by literally showing us an “edge.”
99designer Reza Ernada’s Healerr logo perfectly demonstrates how distortion tricks the eye, where doing something as simple as altering kerning or overemphasizing elements is key. He warps the thickness of each letter to create a phased effect with his typography and pairs that with an illustration of a healer drawn with irregular lines.
Avanti-Avanti Studio crafted a brand identity for the Ciutat Flamenco Festival using a similar technique. By warping certain letters in the logo, they’ve set this festival apart from countless others thanks to its unique frequency effect. Clever applications of perspective and distortion like these will make 2019 a refreshingly surprising year in logo design.
Storytelling through color is an inventive method for designers to help brands shape authentic relationships. It doesn’t take an expert in color theory to understand that a color like red evokes passion, vigor and desire. Where this trend can get complicated, however, is when a brand’s message relies heavily on color selection to express its identity. That make or break moment depends on whether the right palette is in play.
Picking the right colors helps brands communicate more effectively. Rather than using random colors simply to attract attention, in 2019 the meaning of logo color is paramount. We’re seeing logo designers focus more strongly on using color in a purposeful way, placing color more intentionally than ever and conveying meaning with each careful decision.
99designer Bruno Vasconcelos’s lively logo for greeting card aficionado House of Gumdrops weaponizes color to not only communicate the company name but also to appeal to it’s mostly-female demographic. “To create these designs, I was inspired by the shapes and colors of gumdrops,” he explains. “I used their convex shape to redesign the font, making it more original. I complemented that by using primary colors with a modern twist.”
Franklin Fella is an exceptional study in color delegating a brand’s ethos. “The colors were chosen boldly to make the brand stand out with its own unique and happy palette. I wanted it to represent the joy of the relationship between parent and child,” says 99designer Rossie Moss. His choice to use bright orange dots on the boy’s cheeks tells us the child is smiling and happy. Would blue have been as effective here? No way.
Lindon Leader’s design for FedEx is arguably the world’s most celebrated negative space logo. The ingenious arrow hidden between the E and X is not only clever, it’s a logical representation of what the delivery service is known for—delivering packages!
But even without a history that includes FedEx, negative space is an engrossing design trend that designers are pushing to its limits in 2019. When you take something away from a design, you are, as a result, pushing that area into a more assertive role in your presentation. These designs are created best by those who are believers in dispensing with everything until the point is reached beyond which the design breaks down entirely. Logos created in those moments leverage negative space in voraciously dexterous ways and are elevating the category.
The illustration for Kabooter cleverly mixes a delivery driver on his scooter with the silhouette of a dove. 99designer Mich explains how to take negative space to the next level to achieve this trend: “The key is focusing on the slightest details of any object, that is where you make something unique.”
Consider how the fish is presented in the negative space of the letter S in SeafoodSouq. The proportions of the animal are distinct from the shape of the S but wrap comfortably around the spine of the letter to create a strong, unconventional design. Designers who follow this trend successfully are using negative space in unexpected ways.
Amongst the most familiar design trends is perhaps the most salient: minimalism. At this point, it’s reasonable to question whether minimalism is a trend or a necessity. We are several decades removed from when the minimalist movement first impacted the design scape in the early 1970s, but the interest in it remains unsatiated. As designers continue to master the art of stripping design to its core compulsions, they’re evolving the trend by narrowing in on more abstract concepts.
This shift to abstract concepts enhances the effect of minimalist logo designs and makes them more effective. “Minimalism is less a style than a weapon; clearing away noise so a message shines through, clean and naked,” says 99designer Ian Douglas. “It gives just enough to create an anchor, without weighing down the imagination.”
99designer robbyprada’s piece for Paper Mill Trading shows us how to effectively cut through the noise. Each component of the logo focuses on very basic principles: a simple circle and monochromatic color scheme pairs logically with a trio of bare branch trees.
Another stellar example for this shift in minimalism is 99designer Iva Ron’s logo for Pulpo Gallery, a dramatic avant-garde take on an octopus. “This piece is broken into two main pieces, black ink and tentacles, simplified to exaggerate their complimentary characteristics,” Iva says. “This contrast is meant to be questioned by the perceiver. Why did I recognize an animal here? Could it be something else?”
This is a designer aggrandizing a minimalist concept through his own abstract interpretation, raising our expectations for minimalist design in the process.
Did you know Stella Artois has been using the same logo with very minimal changes since the early 14th century? The practice of creating a logo that will serve as a timeless element of a brand’s story is nothing new to designers. In fact, it’s a request they frequently hear in conversations with their clients—and it will only grow in popularity this year.
In 2019 we’ll see brands making decisions that favor authenticity over notoriety and hoping their identity withstands the test of time as well as Stella Artois. This pursuit of trustworthiness means brands are pushing for classic designs that appear to carry an impressive lineage despite being newly created. Logos that include vintage textures, artisanal touches, precise line work and even a specialized crest are the focus.
“I aimed for an authentic, vintage look and wanted the logo to be simple, to correspond with trends like stick and poke tattoos and nature illustrations,” says 99designer extrafin, on his logo designed for Cobra Lily. “I used a selection of digital brushes for an added organic feel.” The result is a logo that clearly communicates a connection to history and conveys trust and experience.
This year we will see more creatives embrace the overlapping elements trend, where designers utilize opacity and stimulating shapes to construct eye-catching pictorial marks, wordmarks and more. This trend will also pull from other trends on this year’s list; expect to see overlapping designs making use of geometry, meaningful color, and negative space.
Major brands have already started using this trend in their branding and now designers are finally starting to make full use of its possibilities. PayPal famously introduced the trend in 2014, revealing their redesigned logo featuring two overlapping P’s that perfectly signifies the company’s devotion to its 250M+ users.
It’s taken a bit of time since PayPal’s reveal for others to fully embrace this trend but we’re seeing a huge uptick in enthusiasm for it in 2019, featuring bright colors and bold shapes.
160over90’s overlapping logo for Woodmere Art Museum pulls double duty as a modern lettermark representing the letters WAM and as an abstract architectural design depicting the peaks and valleys of a building. Rosie Manning’s Truman logo is another phenomenal take on this trend that fascinates us. Experimenting with opacity and cautious kerning was significant to the success of her creation.
Logos are traditionally small canvases where designers must stretch their imagination to paint an impressive picture of who a brand is and what they stand for. When you factor in the need to be responsive across multiple applications, it could appear to be a near impossible task to create a logo with meaningful attention to detail.
What we will find in 2019, however, are designers doing just that. So many upcoming trends highlight minimalism as its brainchild so we’re captivated to see its rival at work here. More is more and the magic happens in all those attentive details.
Steelyworks’s logo for Mumford and Sons revolutionizes the silhouette of a Pegasus into a thought-provoking, highly-detailed art piece with a continuous monoline that runs from its crest and down to its heels. Fans who see this on social media and printed on merchandise will ascribe the magical presence of the mythical stallion with the songs they love from the band.
99designer Deb explains how she makes this hyper-detailed, complex trend work for her: “I have an architecture degree that helps with balance and illustration concepts, especially regarding monuments, scales and synthesis.” This trend requires skill and lots of attention to detail, but the result is worth the effort.
99designer Greeninblue‘s illustration for Red Shoe Stories embellishes the traditional characteristics of a rooster, such as its large feathers and perky comb, with clusters of hand-drawn dashes and an exaggerated silhouette. The design is made memorable because of her artistic touches—right down to the iconic red boots—and it’s the incredible detail of the logo that successfully establishes an identity that’s easily recognizable and uniquely eye-catching.
Ready for logo design in 2019?
What we can expect this coming year will be one of the most exciting periods yet in terms of logo design. Trends are not only co-existing, they’re forming symbiotic relationships. Don’t be surprised to find abstract minimalism blending into variable design or negative space plunging into overlapping elements. Designers are finding more and more intriguing ways to experiment with logos and we’re excited to see what makes a lasting impact in 2019!