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Top 10 Logo Design Lessons Learned This Year
October 11, 2018
A logo is more than a sticker attached to the company’s name to make it look better – it is the face of the business and, most importantly, a symbol of the era in which it was created. All outlets, whether retail or media (but especially media) face intense public scrutiny when they try to rebrand, which is why a logo revamp can either boost the company’s popularity or send their stocks into the gutter. Either way, since 2018 is almost over, we have decided to take a look at this year’s logo changes and see what we can learn from them. Here are the top 10 logo design lessons learned this year.
2018 was a big year for The Guardian, especially from a marketing standpoint. This year, The Guardian and its sister magazine, The Observer, saw a masthead redesign on the 12 of January. Along with the logo redesign, The Guardian launched a new downsized newspaper format and a website. The logo design shifted from a blue color scheme to a black wordmark with a bolder typeface. This was the first logo change since 2005.
There are two reasons for the revamp. First, they wanted to establish a more consistent identity across all mediums. Second, the new changes were meant to draw in a new generation of readers – the young millennials who are just starting to enter the workforce and take an interest in political and social issues.
Lesson: The Guardian is the type of publication that always stuck to its British heritage, and the new typeface choice reflects that. Furthermore, a stacked text logo is ideal for company names composed of two words because it leaves less empty space when placed in a square and is easier to read across different platforms (desktop, mobile, tablet, and so on and so forth).
The Guardian was not the only newspaper who has gone through a rebrand in 2018. The Chicago Sun-Times revealed their massive redesign project back in March. With the help of New York-based advertising agency Ogilvy, the publication branded itself as ‘’the hardest working paper in America’’, taking from the city’s hard-working, no-nonsense reputation.
The new logo adopted a sans-serif font. The word ‘’Chicago’’ gets the same treatment as the rest of the newspaper’s name, as a way to say that the publication is synonymous with the city’s cultural identity.
Lesson: When the name of your company is longer than average, simplicity always wins. The new logo is easier to read on all platforms and looks good in downsized versions on social media.
On January 10, Diet Coke revealed its new logo, five brand new flavors, as well as the can redesigns. It marked the company’s biggest rebrand in 36 years. The total revamp was probably triggered due to less people drinking Diet Coke – and, similar to The Guardian and other big companies, out of an attempt to attract young millennials to their products.
The project was developed in collaboration with Anomaly, an advertising agency based in New York City. The new marketing campaign brought along with it fresh celebrity endorses – whereas in the past Taylor Swift endorsed Diet Coke, this time, the company hired Karan Soni, an actor fans might recognize from the movie Deadpool.
Lesson: As always, simplicity is key to attracting customers from the younger generations. The new logo has some similarities to the old one, but it looks fresh and on par with the times.
Since Mad Magazine has had the same logo since the 1950’s, you can probably guess how much of a big deal the revamp was. For this new iteration, the company took inspiration from their original 1950s logo and slightly tweaked it, adding sharp corners to the letters. Adding to the magazine’s reputation and admiration for nonconformity and absurdity, the letters feature small imperfections in terms of the sizing and positions of the holes in the letters A and D.
Lesson: No matter how big the rebrand, always make sure that the changes are both on par with the times, but also stick to the roots of the company. In Mad’s case, the brand’s universal association with quirkiness and absurd humor is reflected in the new logo.
Another company that decided to update its old logo in 2018 is Rotten Tomatoes. It features a new color, as well as a repositioning of the tomato and ‘’splat’’ icons.
Lesson: The lesson here is obvious – choose something that makes sense for your brand. In this case, it would have been silly to switch to a non-tomato specific color. And as a side note, the drop-shadow makes the logo both bolder and easier to read on a multitude of platforms.
6. Advertising Age (Ad Age)
At the end of 2017, Advertising Age finally decided to officially shorten its name to ‘’Ad Age’’. This change was long overdue, since essentially everybody referred to the publication as such. As for the logo, they took inspiration from the 1930s design, which boasted a similar typeface with a quirky ‘’g’’ letter.
Lesson: Less is more and always adapt to the times. In this case, Ad Age made the inspired decision to match their logo to how everybody has been referring to the publication since it was first founded almost 90 years ago. Furthermore, a shorter name is more memorable and easier to use across multiple mediums – print, online, business cards and so on and so forth.
Slate debuted in 2018 with a brand-new logo revamp. Unlike the previous version, it features a sliced ‘’A’’ and a much darker shade of maroon. According to Jason Santa Maria, the website was ‘’sorely in need of a visual update to bring up our look up to the level of our stories’’.
Lesson: Try your best to add some personality to the brand. The bolder typeface, as well as the slashed ‘’A’’ letter, help establish the publication’s (occasionally criticized) reputation for contrarian views and debating both sides before reaching a conclusion.
Podcast giant This American Life revealed a new logo in January. They ditched the blocky, chopped-up text in favor for a more simplified look that features two colors (red and white) and a symbol – the American flag in the shape of a speech bubble. If we were to choose a logo that best reflected our changing times, it has to be this one. The chat bubble symbol represents the advent of social media in the lives of everyday people, as well as the impact that it had on our lives.
Lesson: As always, when the company has a longer name, one of the best approaches is to choose a logo symbol that best represents the brand and its identity, while making it social media friendly at the same time.
Brooklyn based funding platform Kickstarter has been going through a rough patch in the last few years due to controversies related to some of the projects funded through their service. As a result, Kickstarter was in a dire need of a rebrand – reason for which the company decided to change its logo.
The new logo was created in collaboration with the talented designers from Order. The new design, which features a new wordmark and two typefaces – Cooper Light and Maison Neue – are quite reflective of the company’s current place in the gaming industry. Kickstarter is not the small, quirky firm that glassy-eyed gamers turned to for funding the revival of their favorite series. Nowadays, they are an established company with set objectives and great ambitions, and the new logo reflects that.
Lesson: Companies who are already established in a particular industry do not need fancy logos. By boasting a ‘’played down’’ design, Kickstarter demonstrates a self-awareness that most companies lack.
Finally, another well-known company that decided to overhaul its logo is Glamour. The May 2018 issue featured a logo with a new, black and white typeface (looks like they have finally ditched the pink) and a drop shadow.
Lesson: Even though Glamour’s revamp has received a mixed reception, it shows that the magazine wants to leave its glitzy past behind and adapt to the times.
This concludes our article about 2018’s most famous logo revamps. The logo is more than a mere image attached to the name – it is a symbol of the brand that could make or break its reputation. That is why logo redesigns are so tricky to pull off because they have to make sense and match the brand’s spirit – and these redesigns were successful because they did just that.
Written by Samuel Caverly
Samuel Caverly is Senior Editor of Logo Realm
, a place where you will find information regarding logos, their history, and interesting details. He has an MS in Advertising from Boston University and after graduation, he has worked as a freelance graphic designer.