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Modern Logo Design: What Is It That Your Clients Want?

Modern Logo Design: What Is It That Your Clients Want?

This situation is nothing new: your client wants you to redesign a logo, “something new, something fresh and modern.” Sounds great, but what seemed like an ordinary task quickly transforms into a clairvoyance session when you try to deduce what your client has in mind. Today we’ll take a look at the sad state of modern logo design.

Modern logo design

Good news first: most of the time, modernizing a logo is as simple as it can be. Mostly all you need to do is to “sans-serify” it. Modern means laconic, readable. Forget about extra flourishes: try to be precise. Look at most of the contemporary logos. Yes, it’s stifling for a creative person, but the client is always right. Right?

Sans serif revolution

I asked dozens of people about the modern design trends regarding refreshing logos, and most were vocal in their disregard for what is considered “modern.” I get that: back in the day, being able to stand out was cited as one of the main functions of a brand identity, but now most of the logos resemble each other. And the most noticeable trend? Sans serif. Is it everywhere! You’re in for a bad time if you’re a fan of strokes and spurs on your letters.

When working on a new logo, try to ditch the serif fonts. They’re not in trend: just look at Google, Airbnb, and Burberry. No matter the industry, they are all doing it. And while it does make the logos less recognizable, it actually makes a sort of sense for a global company with a worldwide presence. But now, even the smaller brands want in on the action. Trust us: you won’t be able to change their mind. We all see the big guys and want to imitate them. Sans serif is “cool” now. Let’s all accept it and move on.

Simplicity = bad?

I know a lot of creative people — hell, look where I work! Lots of them mourn “the end of creativity” and even the quirkiness of the early logos. It’s hard to imagine today that a new company will have a multicolored logo in the vein of Google or eBay. I get that. I also get that nostalgia plays a part: when your favorite brand kills off a logo you’ve grown up with, it feels like a betrayal. But let’s look at a modern logo without emotions.

More straightforward, streamlined logos are certainly more readable. They are also easier to translate and localize in different markers, hence why global brands quickly adopted the new guidelines. Don’t forget that there is more than one alphabet, and certain countries require you to localize brand names. It’s much easier to do so with a sans serif font.

Let’s also remember that we live in the era of iPhones when everything has got to be scalable. The simpler your logo, the better it looks on a phone screen.

We all have favorites from bygone times, but our nostalgia clouds our vision. While the new ones aren’t objectively “better” (what makes a logo better, anyway?) in our eyes, they are fresh and modern in the eyes of most people — and clients. You might like the serif Google logo, but let’s be honest: the new one is not worse. In fact, for a tech company, the old one sends the wrong message, as if saying, “we are behind the times.” It’s a matter of psychology. Marketing always is.

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