Animation / Branding / Graphic Design / Logo Design

Tech-led logos – 2020 logo animation trends

One of the things that tends to cause to most concern during the branding process is the logo. Businesses recognise that the logo they have designed for their branding is the one thing that will dictate everything else – the colours, the fonts, the style…

Getting that one element right, even if the final design is a simple one, takes a lot of thought and effort on the part of the designer.

In the past, and in fact today, the logo for any type of business needs to become the most recognisable part of the business branding, and should tell the customer what the company is about without relying on the name or taglines.

Some of the most effective logos, from the big corporates, to the small local business, use clever design techniques and images that are instantly recognised with little more that simple shapes, colours, and images.

I suppose that, unlike in the past, today’s logo design needs to work even harder, because not only does it need to tell the customer who you are across your printed material, but even more so, it needs to translate digitally as well, and that can be a whole different task due to the fast-paced nature of the tech we use, and how we use it.

What I’d like to explore in this article is not just the simplicity of the ‘flat’ logo we’ve all been used to, but the way in which the technology we use, and the differences in print-to-screen, which have changed and evolved logo design. I’d like to look a little bit at some of the trends that are emerging right now in order for businesses to stand out, and take full advantage in new technology, and appeal to a new generation of customers, who largely read from a screen or smart device.

The Perfect Logo

A well-designed logo should always be uncomplicated. I find that in having something that looks relatively simple, it becomes almost like a symbol, a single image that the customer remembers and doesn’t have to spend too much time thinking about.

If you consider some of the bigger companies, such as Nike, or Audi, who use just a simple shape, but are know the world over. Designs like that don’t need to have a defining colour, words or slogans in order for us to recognise what they mean. Yet if you were to seek out the designer of those logos, as simple as they seem to us, I’d be willing to bet that hours and hours were spent on getting them to look how they do today.

Unless you’re a well know company, though, I would necessarily suggest using something quite that simple – although it’s not a bad idea to think about having some kind of simple structure or shape by which you can be identified as part of your logo design.

Looking at some of my own designs as examples, I’ve tried hard to use shapes and symbols within the logo images, or as part of the font, in order to tell the story behind the brand. I think that’s important to do, because you have to consider who you will be appealing to, and your logo is a big part of that.

And that is always where you start – with the logo at its most basic. Because in its basic form, it needs to be able to make sense on both printed material and on screen.

Animation is the biggest new trend

Something that I’ve been looking at more and more recently is the use of animation in logo design. I think that’s it’s becoming a necessity to stand out using movement as part of our logo design, particularly where we’re using social media as part of our content creation plan. The eye tends to pause when we see movement in an image, and so where there is such busy traffic such as social platforms where people are scrolling through such a large amount of content, having animation can be a good way to pause them and encourage them to read the post.

Whether or not you already have an existing logo, use of animation can greatly enhance your images and make them more memorable, and are a useful tool in getting your content noticed above the competition.

You could look at something as simple as having a moving gradient, or a light effect over the logo, or something more elaborate like fade-ins, moving characters, rotation/sliding, or video effects. The huge advances in technology means that we are able to add a huge number of animated images – much of what you can imagine can be done on-screen.

During 2020, it’s thought that many businesses will embrace animation as part of their designs, and could fast become mainstream.

By adding detail to the animation, the viewer tends to spend longer watching it, therefore making the experience more memorable, and too your brand.

Branding / Graphic Design / Logo Design / Rebranding

Your logo – the face of your brand.

Often, your logo is the first image people see. It’s the one piece of your branding that people make their first judgement on, and can be the difference in attracting customers, or not.

While it is only one element of your overall branding, it’s a really important one to get right. Because aside from the message it sends out to your customers, it also sets the precedent for the rest of your branding, your image, and even your voice.

Your logo, in a way, is the very personality of a business. It’s the image that people will most remember, the one they will expect to see when they visit you, on- and offline.

Creating a logo – a designer’s view

When people approach me and my team at The Severn Agency to create their company logo, they expect it to be a quick process, because ideally, they want something simple and unfussy – but it’s a process that takes more time than they realise to get right.

The process starts with a conversation. I want to get a feel for what the company represents; and that means getting to know the people behind the brand, how they see the business or product range, and the type of audience they want to attract.

From those conversations, we start to collate ideas in the form of a mood board, collecting examples of colours, styles, symbols – and we ask them to do the same. Sometimes the client doesn’t want to do that, they just want us to get on with the job – and that’s ok, but it’s always really useful to have a visual idea of what’s in the client’s mind.

In my opinion, the most effective logos are those with a symbol which includes the name, or the name as text with a treatment added, not just an icon with the name typed next to it – I always try to do them like this but it isn’t always possible.

My five favourite logo creations

It’s always hard to choose favourites. Every project is different, and as a designer, you tend to put a lot of yourself into them. But saying that, there are always the ones that you remember. The ones that bring a smile when you remember working on them, and that you feel proud to have created. And these are the ones that do that for me.

Iron and Rose: The client asked me if I could make it look like a seal or stamp, something to give it a sense authority. The central icon represents the rose but we added the small rivet onto the flower head to suggest it’s made from cast iron. The deep red/purple comes from the colour of the wine…

Glouglou: It’s a strange word which we thought sounded squashy or liquid. We hand drew it so it looked more flexible, and made the letters all individual. Originally it was just going to be the lettering, but at the last minute the client asked for some sort of symbol to be included. It was difficult to get something to fit into the shape, so we played with the sizes to create a gap into which we could add something. The shape doesn’t really stand for anything definite; the viewer can interpret it as whatever they want it to be: a tap, a flower or just a splat or spill of liquid.

Concrete Futures: This was one was at the start of the year for an exhibition stand at Futurebuild. The letter shapes show a cut through representing a rising bar, moving forward, onwards and upwards, etc.

Cafe Concrete: A project for the same client as above – this one was for an event, a series of lectures promoting the use of concrete in architecture. The logo is a strong cast block which is, unusually, used as large as possible every time.

Ashmolean Museum: The three blocks come from the curve of a ridged column at the entrance to the museum – as the column curves towards you, perspective makes the ridge wider as it comes forwards. The type and layout of the logo gives it a Romanesque look to match their building, they didn’t go for it anyway…

All of these logo designs are simple concepts, yet portray the essence and personality of the brand. It’s important when people see the logo, they get a sense of what the company does, who they are, and that then spills out into the rest of their branding.

Branding / Graphic Design / Logo Design / Rebranding

Branding – it’s more than just a logo

Some people think that when they start a business, they just need a simple logo, a half decent website, and customers will come in droves. However, there’s so much more to it than that – these days, competition between businesses is sharp, and in order to stand out, and to succeed, your branding needs to be strong.

Since starting the Severn Agency, I’ve seen my fair share of branding, and in fact, when I’ve had the opportunity to work with new businesses in creating their branding as a whole, that’s when I’ve been able to create some of my best work. I talked about this a bit in my last article, where I told you about how I came to create the branding for a local wine bar.

So, let’s think about this in a slightly wider sense – how, as a small business, or a start-up, do you begin with creating a brand?

What branding isn’t

People often mistake the logo for a brand. They believe that by designing a simple logo, choosing some pretty colours and an image that vaguely represents what they’re about, their work is done, and they can sit back and wait for the customers to come.

Sorry to say, that won’t cut it. Your logo is just one tiny element in the whole branding process – and even that is so easy to get wrong.

I’ve seen so many mistakes made by companies who have put their logo on the top of a website, their social media outlets, and their printed material, and then have failed to recognise that the rest of their image is so shoddy and inconsistent that it just ends up falling flat – and when it does, any potential customers are turned off and take their money elsewhere.

Branding takes thought. It needs to reflect who you are, what you do, and what you stand for. And all of those things need to be apparent to anyone who reads your content online, sees your social media posts, or receives an email or brochure from you. If they visit your premises, they should immediately know where they are, because they recognise your branding.

What branding is

If I had to sum up what branding is in one word: consistency. Your brand should be instantly recognisable, whether you’re seen online, in print, or on the high street.

As a branding agency, I consider the whole business. What do I mean by that? Well, I mean that learning about the personality of the business, who you are, and what you represent, is always my first priority. Because without that, I can’t imagine what your brand will be.

I need to know the essence of what your company is, and only then can I start to put together what your branding should look like.

So, what do I mean by branding? The logo, although it’s an element, is not necessarily where I begin. Branding encapsulates the entire image – and that includes many elements, from the colours that you use, the fonts and image styles, the tone and voice portrayed in all of your content. It’s all of the visual elements, the corporate style, even the materials you use for your printed content.

Branding and design

Design is more than just an image – it’s the ambassador of your brand. As such, your branding should communicate your message, and that’s really where a branding designer comes in.

A good branding agency will be able to establish your brand personality, and pull everything together to make it visually beautiful, appealing, and most importantly, consistent.

And in doing so, no matter what medium your customers choose to find you, it will be immediately obvious by your branding who you are.

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