Apr 25, 2017

2017 Logo Update – A Capital Idea

written by Daryl Woods
Caps Lock button image

There are trends in all types of design whether you’re talking about fashion, furnishings or the auto industry. Logo design is no different. Brands need to be current and many will jump on a trend with logo updates. Numerous companies have flattened their colours and eliminated dimension from their marks in recent years. The results are not always an improvement. Change for the sake of trend.

I read many articles on trends in logo design. Few are earth shattering. But occasionally there are shifts in A versus B choices that stand out.

In 2008, Walmart startled the branding world with a new logo that presented the company name in upper and lowercase type. It was a sharp contrast to their previous bold caps version. And it was right for the time. Social media was exploding. In the #ALLCAPSBAD world of Facebook and Twitter, the new logo came across as less imposing and more friendly and conversational.

walmart logo update image

Other major brands followed suit including Kraft and Xerox. Each going as far as using no caps at all. An approach common in the online world of Amazon, Facebook and Twitter. But it didn’t work for every brand (ahem, Gap).

kraft and xerox logo images

It’s interesting to note that of the top 100 brands that incorporate their company name as all or part of their their primary brand identity (excluding initials), over 50% use lowercase letters. Only 33% use all caps.

This is not to say that there is a right or wrong choice in typeface case. Simply that it often follows trends. In fact, the reason I’m writing this is because I was shocked earlier this year when Calvin Klein updated their iconic logo with a switch to capital letters. And today I’m reading all caps is the new design trend for 2017.

calvin klein logo update image

Personally, I don’t follow trends in my design work. That’s a path to early obsolescence in my mind. Especially when it comes to type selection. Type has personality. Choice of upper or lowercase, serif, sans serif or script should reflect an appropriate expression of character. I review thousands of possible type solutions in both upper and lowercase for every brand or packaging assignment I work on. Final choices are meant to last. Not just to capitalize on the latest trends.


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