Trends vs. Lifespan: What Makes a Logo Look Old and Dated?

Put simply, relying too heavily on trends can hinder the lifespan of a logo. Just like the fashion world has seen some horrendous trends come and go, as graphic designers we need to ensure that we are not banking on the popularity of a particular design trend to dictate the success of a logo.


Not only do we end up with an influx of logos that look exactly the same, but it's a clear fire way to ensure all those brands will immediately appear dated as soon as the design trend passes. While it may be inevitable that trends in the design world will influence our creative process, as designers we need to ensure the development of a logo is the result of focused research, innovative thinking and good, old-fashioned creativity.


Here are the 4 design trends that have come and gone:

1. Overdoing Dramatic Effects

Bevel and emboss, harsh drop shadows and strong contrast gradients are just a handful of the effects that have been used and abused in past logo designs. In the mid 2000's this trend hit an all time high but in recent years, we've seen this trend take a back seat and make way for simplified designs without the cheesy effects. Google, Chrome and Microsoft are just a few examples of companies who have moved away from the dramatic effects for softer, more minimalistic approaches.

Before and After of Microsoft and Google logos

2. Too many typefaces

Maintain brand harmony by sticking to no more than 2 typefaces. When you integrate 3 or more very different fonts your brand integrity is weakened and your audience is left confused by the echo of too many messages. It’s like wearing a bathrobe over an evening dress with running shoes. Unless you are going for that look...

Examples of using too many typefaces on brand: Art House Cafe, Smashing Productions, and Little Brother Brewery

3. Illegibility

There is nothing worse than your audience constantly mispronouncing your brand because they can’t read it correctly. Using unique and stylized fonts is a great idea, but if you must be careful or else they can cross the line to unreadable. Never assume your market will just “get it”, it’s not worth the risk. Stay on the subtle side and don’t over do it. And remember, there are times when your logo will be used at very small dimensions and it should be decipherable even then.

Examples of brand illegibility: Laser Away, Attnlab, Podcast Guild, and Jeffrey Harrington Custom Homes

4. Poor font choices

Fonts have come a long way since the inception of the computer. These days, thousands upon thousands of fonts are available on the web. Some for free, others for a nominal price. So why are there still logos out there using Papyrus, Arial, Times New Roman or any other preinstalled standardized font? Either they are the work of someone inexperienced, a company too lazy or cheap to change, or a business resisting the times. Neither option reflects a good brand.

Saint Louis County, Edible Arrangements, Computer Doctor, Saffron Centre Ltd, Metro Construction

Over the years, we’ve had the opportunity to rebrand many companies looking to freshen up their existing logo. From tweaks in fonts, to icon simplification, to entirely new concepts, here are a few examples of our latest rebrands:


Before + After

Imagine Maintenance Ltd.

Before + After

Climatrol solutions ltd.

Before + After

HS Crombie

Before + After

Bermanfalk, your style, your way.

A strong logo can really increase the value and perception of your company. If you have any questions about logo design, please get in touch today!

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