Bill Gardner Explains how one of the most universal foundation shapes of design has developed renewed popularity with designers and the consuming public. Learn why the circle is an ideal stand-in for helping to explain complex analogies. Discover how layering and working with multiple units have helped move the aesthetic of design to a simpler place.
- I know you're probably looking at this big circle and wondering what it has to do with logos, unless you're a student at the ArtCenter, and you recognize it immediately as your recently adopted logo. Pretty straight-forward mark here, and its simplicity either makes it totally brilliant or just makes you wonder if that's the best they've got. Or, if you're from Germany, you immediately know that mark as Rot Punkt, the maker of Kuchen carafes, or, if we shift it to cyan, is it the German audio manufacturer, Blaupunkt, blue dot in English.
Or, wait, no, that's USA Today's most recent mar. Well such confusion, and these are just a handful of entities that want to lay claim to the most ubiquitous icon of perfection and impotent symbolism in existence. That's not even to consider what happens if you drop a couple more circles on top, and now you're talkin' Target. There's no denying the universal appeal of the circle, especially if we're discussing logos. And with the shift toward simplicity of elements, the number of circle-centric logos just generated is enormous.
But, outside of it being a favored shape, it's a practically solution and one that deserves consideration. Look at these logos and imagine how the designers behind them came to these solutions. One of the values of a logo is when it can be used to explain what a company does. If you're like me, I find myself reaching for a pen and pad to draw when I explain concepts. One of the visual placeholders I might rely on is a circle, let's say, instead of drawing the actual thing we're discussing.
I don't think most of these marks are selling circles. There are breaking down a process or demonstrating an activity. OpenTable knocks a hole in the tabletop to create the minimonic letter O, and then shifts that hole to left to represent the diner. Asana, the app for tracking teamwork has taken the three identity dots previously sitting in a row, like benchwarmers, and now, they've been inserted in the game. The three dots are huddled around each other and communicating and actually relating as team members might.
This trend is much broader and is inclusive of endless simple iterations of circles on circles on circles. Look at what happens as the designers start to integrate level of transparency to this genre. Simple circles start to take motion or grind to a halt. A player that shifts from one side to another, maybe. The kro ncrv logo demonstrates two parties merging to create a positive area of outcome.
And with Vuka, the same action is taking place, but with an entirely different manifestation. Almost like two colored lenses shifting over each other to create a spectacular center result. Fitbit introduces a new identity that allows many circles to play out the idea of transition from lesser to greater. And for whatever reason, these are't the only folks this year that felt a minor grid of circles best represented the proper essence of their client.
I think that the popularity of this trend is the fact that an analogy, or a simile, or a story can be so easily conveyed in such a simple manner. Economy of line, a proven shape, and just enough information to convey a message, but not so much as to limit the client's own flexibility.
Discover how logo trends get started and how they evolve. See how several, different designers were able to manifest a different successful solution using the same general concept behind a trend. You'll also learn where to look to find sparks for your next identity project that will allow you to launch into the vanguard of identifying trends before others.
- Detecting logo design trends
- Identifying marks and techniques to launch your next design
- Determining which elements captivate consumers
- Leveraging new ways to express dimension
- Shifting the use of shape and line to communicate strength