I find logos fascinating. There, said it.
My dissertation for my degree was the grand sounding “The Science of Semiotics” and examined what made a symbol have meaning, or more importantly, what made some symbols better than others.
I used the Olympic event symbols (or pictograms as they should be called) as a basis. In a nutshell, the 1972 event pictograms were revolutionary. You’ve all seen them, even if you didn’t realise where they came from. They were uniform in style and line weight, they created a sense of ‘collection’ that unified the Olympics. Any extraneous detail was removed in the pursuit of pictographic Zen. Otl Aicher, their designer won awards and fame.
Counter this against the previous Olympic pictograms in Mexico City, 1968. The arms had fingers, horses had reins, footballs had patches and nets had, well, netting. They were retrospectively regarded as inferior to the Munich pictograms. But I argued that their meaning was more intact. It was easy to test by simply showing people the icons and asking them what they thought they meant. Sure enough, the Mexico symbols had a more accurate recall.
I felt sorry for the Mexico pictograms. They got a bum wrap. However, the purity and the detail one could infuse into these tiny squares has been a passion ever since. Luckily, now I have iPhone app icons to keep me entertained. Your app icon design could make or break your app.
Logo design is no different. It has a lot of weight on its shoulders. A logo has to work it’s little ass off to ‘represent’ the company or concept it is attached to. I’ve designed countless logos over the years and I’m constantly amazed how many brilliant, innovative and fresh logos are created each year. Luckily, like most things, there are trends and the standard 4-year logo refresh cycle is driven by, and helps drive them. So what is ‘trendy’ in logo design these days? Well, I’m glad you asked… I’ll let the good people over at Logo Lounge show you their 2011 Logo Lounge Trends Report. Definitely worth a read, even if only to see if you can spot any of the trends in the real world.