In 2021, we introduced you to Bill Gardner (a.k.a. the Logo Guru), founder of LogoLounge and Gardner Design. In June, Gardner unveiled the 20th edition of his Logo Trend Report along with his LogoLounge Book 13, which he produces every other year
Just so happens they are both releasing at about the same time. The report is on trends and is journalistic in nature, and the book is a 200+ page book and beautifully full of 3,000 highly organized ‘best of’ logos and a variety of case studies,” explains Gardner. “Every single one of the 3,000 is a treasure. It really is hard to knock a book down to that number when you have 35,000 submissions and the quality of the submissions is stellar to start with.”
Trend-wise for 2022, wordmarks and typography have played a more important role in logo design. There has also been an emphasis on shifting from what Gardner calls the “banal” sans-serif solutions of
the last several years.
“Take a look at the reverse stress trend that jolts the viewer to attention with the unexpected shift of weight from sides to top and bottom,” he explains in designer-speak. “[These] little nuances build ownership in wordmarks, like super traps that have taken the arcane ink traps from the past and glamorized them as a graphic as opposed to a functional component.”
Another trend is the use of organic components, which continue to shift forward in line. Gardner points to the rooters trend, which makes order out of the chaos that nature presents.
“A root structure or system of veins and arteries discovers simplified pathways but is often used as a surface for a shape that is a profile or a letterform,” he says. “Using the surface of an image this way builds extra acreage to an element to deliver your message. The same possibility exists with trellis, which uses botanicals to achieve the same effect.”
If you’re working on a logo design for 2023, bear in mind the few trends that Gardner saw a little too much of in culling through the 35,000 submissions: roosters, hot dogs, and Spartan helmets. He’s at a loss to explain why these have been so popular.
Still, he has his favorites, such as the uvula and pinched trends. Uvula takes a single drop and caresses it visually to show that the drop is still connected to the source. Gardner says the pinched marks probably have more legs and provide a fresh way for designers to turn a corner on images, lines, or letters. He calls it “a smart and beautiful way to handle concentric radius lines.”
Perhaps due to the pandemic time we live in, design has seen some more personal sensibilities, evidenced by more acceptance of pink tones as brand colors as well as hand-drawn elements and variable weight lines in play. Gardner says these are all warmer and often applied to more human or artisan projects. On the other hand, he has noticed some austere solutions for larger entities that signal their survival with bravado.
“We all react to our environment, but brands are not homogeneous, and neither are their solutions,” Gardner says.
If you’re due for a logo redesign or refresh in 2023, keep in mind that industry, product, longevity, and brand history are paramount to any trend. And while a trend is usually confirmation that something that resonates has been discovered, the trick is determining if the trend can be used before it becomes cliché or can be modified so that it is an evolution of the cliché and will stand on its own.
“As designers, we try to find a way to take advantage of these clichés or what resonates with the public,” Gardner says, “but present it in a new way that is unexpected or avoids using a cliché in a clichéd manner.”
As Gardner taught us when we spoke with him a year ago, smart readers of the Logo Trend Report understand that trends have trajectories, and they attempt to envision what might come next. They also understand that maintaining brand consistency—while less fun—is more important than trying to draw attention by continually redressing it.
“It’s easier for a brand to confuse than inform when that happens,” Gardner says. “Once a brand has established new or ongoing standards, they can stay ahead of others with smaller steps. The person who leads a parade is only steps ahead of those behind them. If you get too far ahead, your followers
lose sight of you and wander off in other directions.”