Changing Logos With Changing Times

Changing Logos With Changing TimesA logo is an essential element of a company’s overall brand. Corporations spend thousands—no, make that millions on logo design and branding efforts.  However, as years go by, businesses update their logos so that they will complement current trends. Let’s analyze what causes a company to revamp its logo and look at some logo trends throughout the years.

What’s with the Change?

Logo designs change for a few different reasons.  A logo update may signify that a company is changing its services or industry perspective. Customers then recognize that the company has a new identity and thus should be seen in a different light. On a larger scale, logo redesign may be in response to the progress of society as a whole. This is because logos act as a reflection of cultural concerns. For example, as western society became more environmentally conscientious, British Petroleum (BP) updated its logo in 2000 with a green and yellow Helios symbol. The change was praised my marketing experts because it associated a “green” mentality with the company. Ironically, the logo was later scrutinized in 2010 when BP became responsible for perhaps that world’s worst oil spill. Although the logo backfired for BP, the company was being culturally responsive when it initially designed its symbol. This awareness often drives other corporate logo redesigns.

Logos through the Years

Because logos generally reflect the likes and dislikes of their target audience, they often characterize the graphic design trends of the decade. Logos of the 1970s were decorated with the bright, clashing colors and balloon words that were common during the decade. The 1980s brought graphics with neon colors, jagged typography and hair-raising styles. Then, there was a logo experimentation period during the 90s when Photoshop was developed.

Of course, there is no one rule for any of these past logo trends. However, throughout the years there has been an overarching trend toward simplicity. Experts believe that logos make the best impression when there is minimal interpretation required. We are seeing a trend toward streamlined logo designs in our new technology-centered era. With the rapid shifts in technology and social media, consumers don’t want to be left behind. Brands are designing logos that reflect progressive strides. Apple’s logo evolution is a textbook example of streamlined logo design. In 2007, Apple updated its logo to a light silver bitten apple with a shiny swoosh through it. The logo is simple yet extremely recognizable. “Apple is no longer selling products, they are selling brands,” wrote branding expert Naomi Klein in her book No Logo. People have embraced the bitten apple overtime as a symbol of innovation.

A logo functions as the “face” of a brand. It is a recognition tool for the public to associate particular products or services with the company that produces them. To appeal to the audience, logos must be updated to reflect cultural trends that dominate cultural attitude.