Minimalism in logos (And why it’s bad)

Minimalist Logo

Sometimes, it seems to me that the common trend nowadays with logos is to put in as little effort as possible. You take a shape, choose a color and that’s it. Okay, maybe this is a bit of an over exaggeration, but that’s how it feels when I see every single company changing their logo to make it more modern and minimalistic. This really hit home for me when I noticed Pringles had changed their logo from a loveable moustache man, to a circle… with a moustache.

It wasn’t always like this. In the 20th century, companies used descriptive logos for their brand in order to showcase what their brand is. As we moved into the 21st century, companies began to modernize their logos. The most famous brands gave their logos a minimalistic makeover. From Ford to Google, and from FedEx to McDonald’s, all gave their brands the minimal logos.

I personally think that these minimalistic logos typically give no hint as to what services or products the company offers. Familiar brands aren't as affected by their logos. Companies with widely recognized logos, like the McDonald's golden arches, no longer need to rely on new consumers to identify with their brand, because they're already widely known. Unfamiliar brands, however, need their logos to communicate what they do for consumers. A logo with an abstract symbol, like a red star or a star with a moustache, is usually too subtle for consumers to identify with. Descriptive logos are typically clearer in their message. Consumers can guess that the World Wildlife Fund's panda logo has something to do with animals. Spotify's logo, with its three curved stripes, denotes sound waves. Suddenly it makes sense when a consumer learns it's a music streaming service. Even logos that reference the company's name, as opposed to its function, are descriptive, like Apple's logo. With a concrete image, consumers have a better idea of that company's brand.

There are those who think that minimalistic logos have some upside. For example: They are extremely easy for the customers to remember and they deliver an equally powerful punch on smaller mobile screens. However, I feel that minimalistic logos are harder to trust because they are so easy to make. Seeing a more descriptive logo makes me feel more at ease. You want me to identify with your brand? Put some effort in creating a logo that will leave an impact on me.

In conclusion, despite all my very valid concerns with the rise of minimalistic logos, it doesn’t seem to slow down the trend. More and more companies are designing their logo with a minimalistic feel, robbing the brands' individuality. If that's the case, then why bother designing logos at all? Let's just throw away the logo shmogo business and simply write the brand's name in Times New Roman, size 12.

  • Minimalist Logo