Gardner's annual review
is now in its 10th year and he studied over 32,000 logos in order to come up with trends in logo design for 2012 (his website, LogoLounge.com features nearly 175,000 logos itself).
So, what did Gardner identify as the prevailing trends for the year?
Gardner points out that icons have long been the mainstay of graphic designers. The problem, he suggests, is how to send a complex message about who you are as a business with just an icon. The solution is to merge a number of different icons together with transparent linkage.
Using multiple elements is a long-standing technique in logo design to represent strength in numbers. Gardner reports that linking these elements together in a transparent chain-like fashion is new.
'Whether elements are joined in a circle or a linear band is irrelevant as the concept is the same: Diversity finds a common
bond and creates synergy from a stronger union. Colour is used to
demonstrate variety in these samples, and proof of connectivity is
demonstrated by tonal shift where elements overlap' he says.
Every year Gardner notices at least one trend that tries to move away from the technology angle towards a more human touch. In 2012, he says this trend is the use of watercolour.
Think Pringles rather than an actual potatoes, a 'hyperbolic paraboloid' continues to be a popular design feature in 2012.
Using red and cyan in an offset overprint is another popular trend. As noted by Gardner, these logos really remind me of 'old school' 3D images (one's that showed very little 3D when viewed with free 'glasses' from a Cornflakes packet). Gardner describes them as:
'Messaging from these marks creates a dichotomy of choice. They are
obvious enough that certainly no special glasses are required to grasp
the intent. This technique tells the viewer they may make the choice of
this or that but not both. But they also convey that the viewer is
responsible for her own selection.'
'Mobile devices and the visual language of apps may well have the single
largest impact on how we design identity over the next decade' says Gardner. The boundaries between logos, icons, app buttons and other symbols are becoming more and more blurred.
We'll look at the rest of the trends in the next blog. If you can't wait though, you can read the full trends report here