04 Jun Why Are Logos Getting Simpler?
Did you notice as well? That logo designs these days are all getting simplified?
There was a Pringles rebranding some time back, followed closely by Julie’s Biscuits unveiling its new logo.
In these past years, many other organisations and products have been flattening the elements of their logos and simplifying the colour palettes they use. There’s also an increased use of white space and an elimination of complex elements.
For brand designers, it’s a development worth questioning. Why is this happening? Is it a positive change or a negative one?
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Let’s take a look at Julie’s rationale for their new logo.
According to Julie’s sales and marketing director, Martin Ang, the choice to revamp Julie’s appearance is to make her younger and give her a more confident and rejuvenated look.
The brand’s director also highlighted the brand’s intention to appeal to a younger demographic, given that the household confectionery brand from Malaysia is already 35 years old.
The new logo does this by updating Julie’s hairstyle and clothes to a more modern style. She is also depicted as more energetic than her predecessor—with flying hair, an upturned face and a wide smile.
There are fewer lines and details in the portrait of Julie herself as well as in the composition of the logo as a whole. The colour scheme has also been drastically reduced and the font changed to sans-serif.
These changes are made in an effort to be more consumer focused. A simpler logo makes it more digestible for the consumer to process. This does not mean that the brand message and values are compromised, rather the redundant is stripped away and only the core elements are communicated.
Ironically, this idea of keeping it simple has always been a tenet of brand design. The point of a logo is to communicate key aspects of a brand in a simplified form.
So perhaps, the question we should be asking should be why did logos become elaborate to begin with?
To answer that, let’s look at why Mr. Pringles got a makeover.
Kellogg’s intentions for revising Pringles’ logo and can for the first time in 20 years is to better highlight the flavours in every can and “showcase his new range of emotions”.
So what changes did they make?
Mr. Pringles’ well-combed brown moustache has been reduced to a black vector moustache. His hair is replaced with black eyebrows and the outline of his chip-shaped face removed. The Pringles cans are also simplified, the background of each can a distinct, solid colour and the visuals of the chips and its flavour are less extravagant than before.
By flattening Mr. Pringles’ bold features, the consumer’s focus is shifted from the mascot’s outstanding figure to the chips depicted on the cans, which are now the only complex visuals to be found.
The reason for Mr. Pringles’ previous more complex appearance is hinted at in the gradient effect of his moustache.
20 years ago was a period of time where complex effects were a thing. With one click, you could add filters, gradients, transparency, lighting effects, 3D rendering, complicated fonts to a graphic.
As a result, the use of these additional elements spoke of a brand’s modern capabilities and technological prowess.
But today, such effects are ‘retro’ and historical in nature. We are already oversaturated with such effects and overwhelmed with too much visual information.
A simple logo, then, is what cuts through all that noise and is easier to remember.
With increased recognisability, a brand is better able to communicate its chosen brand message.
In the case of Pringles, which is already well-known, the simplification of Mr. Pringles’ appearance allows consumers to then focus on the flavours of the chips they are consuming rather than the brand itself.
We can see simplified logos as the inevitable outcome of logo trends, especially given the original purpose of logos in branding.
Since logos are a brand’s main identifier across the many platforms on which your brand will be marketed, it’s become more important than ever to have a logo that is versatile, yet able to communicate your brand’s core message and values.
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