Multiple brands today have tweaked their logos as sensibilities evolve and social media platforms gain more importance. These days more emphasis is given to flat, simplistic, minimalist brand logos and how they look on the digital screens, as per top art guys from the Indian adland.
Brands which recently opted for a rebrand of both the logo and packaging as part of a new visual identity include Pepsi, Campa, 7Up, Mirinda, Nokia, Baskin Robbins, Jim Beam, etc.
With regards to the same, Vikram Gaikwad, Co-founder and CCO, Underdog, shared that many brands have changed their approaches to redesigning their logos owing to an incremental spike in attention on minimalism when it comes to digital media - because it has become essential for logos to be simple, easy to understand, and easily identifiable across all kinds of screen sizes and resolutions.
“Though maximalism still has a place in design, particularly with regard to luxury brands that represent exclusivity and elegance through detailed designs,” he added.
Viral Pandya, Creative Culture Officer, CogCulture, also pointed out that the recent trend towards minimalism is partly due to the popularity of social media platforms. The other reason is that customers are getting younger, and a brand must appeal to them by standing out in an ocean of sameness, and to do it brands need to be starker and shed the excess baggage.
“However, the principles behind creating the logo are timeless; it’s about being relevant, memorable, simple and versatile,” he said.
In the views of Manoj Deb, Founder and Specialist- Branding, Strategy and Design, Venacava Designs, while there isn’t a specific trend that is on the rise when it comes to choosing fonts, brands are looking for an extremely sharp font because most of the content is consumed on digital screens and the sharper and clearer the font is, the better it turns out to be.
“In the end, it all depends on what the brand wants to stand for in terms of positioning, target audience, product portfolio, verticals, etc. as they want to eventually be noticed even on the smallest of screens,” he said.
As per Mayank Mishra, Head of Strategy, DY Works, logos are an art form and because art depends on the tools used to create it, and the way it is consumed, stylistic trends keep on changing.
“When words were carved into stone tablets, the chisel would leave a flourish known as the serif. Today we write in the digital medium favour accuracy over flourish, and Sans Serif fonts are seen as more contemporary. So, the change can be driven by aesthetic sensibilities changing. It can also be driven by the tools we use to create,” he said.
Pranav Agarwal, Co-Founder, Sociowash, also opined that undeniably minimalism has been rising as all brands are trying to create a minimalistic approach to branding, removing layering of communication and being fairly direct in their approach.
“This is primarily due to the changing behaviour of media consumption. Earlier, traditional media was the primary means of content consumption, but now that the transition to digital is mostly done, brands have had to adapt. What looks good on Print, may not necessarily look good on a screen. Changing touch points with the audiences coupled with brands trying to attract a newer audience set or the next generation is fuelling this change,” he said.
With this, he also mentioned that some of the things that are working better in terms of brand logos are the usage of clear fonts, solid colours and a clean layout, because 3D, shadows, metallic looks, gradients, etc. reduce legibility when things are scaled down in terms of size.
The various professionals from the Indian creative and art fraternity also emphasised that the logo of Apple, Google, Xerox, Samsung, Nike, Mont Blanc, Doordarshan, BMW, Louis Vuitton, Ferrari, Rolls Royce, McDonald's, KFC, etc. are some of the examples of iconic brand logos which have perfectly done their jobs.
Of the recently revamped brands, the art professionals opined that it is Jim Beam’s new logo that highlights its long history; Nokia's makeover represents its focus on innovation; whereas Pepsi’s circling back to a logo similar to the one it had in the past has indeed left a bad taste.
What has been the most striking factor of all, to DY Work’s Mishra, is the conversation that rebrands have generated in the culture- because when an iconic brand changes its logo, it almost feels personal as there is a sense that an era has ended.
“The best brands are big universal ideas that have resonated with a cultural movement. Perhaps that is why rebrands feel like such a big shift,” he stated.
As per Venacava’s Deb, when a brand changes its logo and refreshes its approach, it not only showcases that the brand is undergoing a complete restructuring but that the company’s global positioning will change. “It’s good to bring a change but changing a logo in itself is a process of need, in terms of where the brands want to be in terms of conversations, audience, etc,” he added.
Cog Culture’s Pandya also shared the notion that Pepsi’s case is a cautionary tale of how things can go wrong with rebranding as the typography is flat, there is no personality or character, it is all too generic and it does not fit the brand’s image at all.
“A few years back the brand Gap changed their identity, and following public backlash went back to its old logo. I wouldn’t be surprised if a similar fate awaits Pepsi. A logo should bring out the essence of the brand, and ideally, any change should update it and address the issue it faces,” he stated.
He also went on to add that when designing logos, individuals and brands should keep in mind a few things such as considering where it’s going to appear, how it would look on an app icon, on Instagram, on shopping aisles, on a bottle in a dimly lit restaurant, and more importantly how would it look in black and white as not every medium supports colour.
Sociowash’s Agarwal also pointed out that most brands have been very subtle in these changes. “If you’re spending thousands and millions of dollars in changing the logos, you should go all-in and create something dramatically different, allowing the brand to break the shackles of the past and create a new identity which caters to the wants and needs of the new generation,” he suggested.
Throwing light on how much relevance the colour and font theory hold in the current times, DY Work’s Mishra stated that both the concepts are deeply connected with the physiology of the visual system and with aspects of psychology as they are human disciplines, fundamentally, owing to which they will always be relevant.
“We might choose to adhere to the principles, we may choose to break them, we may rewrite usage conventions. But the fundamentals don't change. Red vs Blue is a conflict we all understand. You can call it Coca-Cola vs Pepsi, or Manchester United vs Manchester City. The battle, however, is eternal,” he stated.
Underdog’s Gaikwad also shared the view that because they are so important in developing a brand's visual identity, colour and typography design are still relevant nowadays and even though there are no definitive guidelines for choosing a hue or font, the most important thing to do is to select colours and typefaces that reflect the brand's personality and fundamental views.
“Fonts can communicate a brand's personality and tone, and colours can evoke certain emotions and meanings. Red can create sentiments of passion and excitement, whereas blue is usually linked to reliability and dependability,” he opined.
Similarly, Cog Culture’s Pandya also pointed out that since logos are there for the long haul, they are not tactical by nature and that very often, the logo evolution is faithful to the old logo’s colour and font, e.g.- Coke, Apple, McDonald’s, etc.
Sociowash’s Agarwal also opined that both, colour and font theory, are all the more relevant in today’s world since Gen Zs believe in vibes and design, and psychology has the power to change these “vibes”.
“Colour theory has huge implications on how the brand is perceived by the consumer, hence moving to more solid colours in a sense is what brands are going all in on currently. For example, the colour combination of McDonald's, KFC, Coca-Cola Company, Dell, Cadbury, Facebook, etc. all reflects the brand personality,” he stated.
Similarly, Venacava’s Deb also pointed out that while the rebrand brief might contain new challenges that the brand is facing, the logo, font and colour theory still hold the same significance that they did a couple of years ago.
“Many start-ups or even new brands ignore the main face of the brand, i.e.- the logo and design in the early stages, which is why we today see brands revamping in a comparatively short period of five years. But some of them who are mature enough, they do take care of such things as part of a sensible branding approach,” he opined.