While the debate between flat and 3D logos continues to rage on amongst Marketers, UX Teams, and Graphic Designers; we wanted to take a step back and examine why brands have started moving in this direction.

google chromes logo evolution image
The new Chrome logo side-by-side with previous variations. Image by Elvin Hu via Twitter

Brands are everywhere

We frequently preach that a logo is not a brand. However, the logo is the face of your brand. If you are a large to midsize company think about all the places your logo could possibly be - from the web, to mobile apps, to products, to television, and billboards. The last thing you want is your face, or logo, to look slightly different across different channels.

Keep it simple

In order to maintain flexibility and brand consistency, brands have opted for simpler designs that are easily transferable across all mediums. There are a few different techniques a brand can take to do this, simplifying a logo does not necessarily mean reducing color, it could also mean a reducing details. In 2018 Burberry removed the equestrian from their logo after almost 100 years.

burberry's logo evolution
Burberry Logo over the years | via logomyway

While iconic, the Burberry equestrian could have been difficult to work with in the digital age. Let’s explore some of the key issues brands encounter with a more detailed logo.

  • Size - One of the smallest versions of your logo will be on the web as a favicon. A favicon, short for favorite icon, is the small logo located on the tab or your webpage. The standard size for a favicon is 16 x 16 pixels. If you are using a very detailed logo or a logo with any type of text it becomes nearly illegible at a 16 x 16pixel size. However a bold simplified icon is easily identifiable in a sea of open tabs.
  • Flexibility - Working within multiple channels means a varying amount of image sizes, formats, and file types even on the most basic level.The more detailed a logo is the harder it becomes to stay nimble in your design. Suddenly a simple 3 second gif of your logo takes hours to animate because designers are bogged down by multi-layered files. Flattened logos are not only a trend but a result of the high turn content marketers are expected to produce to stay relevant.
  • Color - One of the most traditional ways we have seen logos change is the flattening of colors. This means removing shadows and extensive gradients to create a flatter, more modern design. Originally this was done because flatter designs were less heavy and performed better on mobile devices. Flatter designs are also better for any type of print, fewer gradients and shadows call for less ink coverage, reducing overall cost. For example when slack redesigned their logo in 2019 they went from a 11 color logo to a 4 color logo. Slack attributed the logo change to the following reasons, “It was extremely easy to get wrong. It was 11 different colors—and if placed on any color other than white, or at the wrong angle (instead of the precisely prescribed 18º rotation), or with the colors tweaked wrong, it looked terrible.”

Slacks logo redesign
New Slack Logo | Via Slack
Slacks logo redesign
Old Slack Logo | Via Slack

flat design logo examples
Brands that have embraces flat design

Some critics of the flat design trend say that many logos starting to look similar and have been stripped of their unique edge.

While that is a fair argument, I think it strengthens the point that a brand is not a logo; a logo is a part of a brand story and there are many more elements to your brand besides a logo.

Is your logo in need of a refresh?

Changing your logo is not a simple task but as Google has proven, sometimes incremental change is the best strategy. Here are some questions to consider if you are on the fence about updating your logo

  • When was the last time your logo was updated?
  • Is your logo easily legible on print & digital formats?
  • How does your logo compare to those in your industry? Does it fit in or stand out?

Still not sure? Reach out to us today for a full brand consultation!

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