The MIT Technology Review has listed their 50 smartest companies of 2014 thus far, and it provides a startling case study of the trends in logo design pertaining to successful and brand rich companies. These are companies that are either up-and-coming or have already made themselves known as powerful forces in the technology, marketing, and even data storage industry.
They are also bound by a single seeming directive in their logo design: simplicity is king. We have already seen the flat design take hold in web design trends for 2014 and now it seems the logo design industry is following the same steps. Logo designs of the big and powerful companies are mostly minimalist in design.
What is minimalist design?
The term ‘Minimalism’ emerged a half-century ago and was marked by monochrome colors and led by names like, Robert Morris, Carl Andre and Donald Judd. They used geometric forms, merged sculpture and painting designs and created a simple art form that avoided the complexities of symbolism or metaphorical expression.
As Donald Judd was apt to say, “A shape, a volume, a color, a surface is something itself. It shouldn’t be concealed as part of a fairly different whole.”
Taking those words to hear the graphic designs for many of the businesses in 2014 have adopted a simple view of the corporate trends. They have used geometric forms, bold colors, simple lines that represent the art form of minimalist techniques of the past and created a graphic form of modernism for the logo trends of the future.
Minimalist Logo Designs
This is the logo that greets customers when they see anything related to Dropbox.
DropBox is a company that is the dominating force in the cloud file storage industry. Occasionally pictured with its name underneath, the logo is resonate with the trend of simplicity within the logo designs in upcoming companies.
Box.com is another popular data storage site. Notice the logo. Simple and sleek.
The most important thing about the logo designs of these successful businesses is that they are all filtering their message through their logos in the exact same minimalist way. Dropbox and box, highlight the two different completely different approaches to one technique: Minimalist Imagery and minimalist text.
Dropbox, with a creative use of negative space imagery, serves to create an interesting eye-catching design that not only makes the image as simple as it could be but also makes it incredibly easy to reproduce.
Box.com takes the alternative approach by using a unique font (which seems to be a modified Comfortaa) to achieve the same minimalist goal: easy recognition and announcement.
It stands alone confident in its simple announcement. It’s a magnificent stroke of logotype that cleverly includes the implication of its limitless storage space with letter spacing.
There are other logos that take the 2014 of minimalist design and make it their own.
Square.com is a company that turns mobile devices into portable card-swipe with a square device emblazoned with the company’s logo.
Square.com uses minimalist design in the manufacturing industry. It takes the image approach in constructing the logo that also serves as the image emblazoned on its product: a card swiper that attaches to mobile devices like iPods or Android devices. The logo is a clever manipulation of strokes and uses simple visual techniques to make a smooth square of rounded edges with a negative square in the middle and a light to dark gradient to keep it from getting boring. Simplicity is flavored by the little things in this logo, as with the others on this list. The connection between the product, company and the logo design is simple to imagine and the logo itself -easy to remember, easy to recreate, easy to spread.
Evernote is a collection of apps, notebooks, and devices for productivity and keeping track of tasks.
Evernote uses a combination of design and text to make its statement. Its simple Caecilia font is professional and blocky but with a little flow on letter segments like the leg of the R. The elephant head, aside from providing an innovative manner of thought also highlights Evernote’s services. The playful notes include the subtle degree of playfulness where the elephant’s eye forms a very slight crescent to indicate a smile. The difference there between the choice of a crescent and the choice of a regular half circle is what gives the Evernote logo a special note of personality, and a minimalist engagement that suggests fun, friendliness. In the minimalist design subtle is what makes the logo sing and it’s the small details that make a logo stand out.
Upworthy.com is a site that highlights videos that focus on important issues in US politics and society. Upworthy represents another minimalist masterpiece of meaning. As a site that calls attention to new and breaking videos and stories on the internet, the connection to news sources is inevitable. But the way they call it into being within the context of their logo is marvelously creative. Source Sans Pro is the font of choice and easily visible as a modernized outcry, bold and colored with a bright but thankfully not garish- orange (the extrusion makes it a truly internet-age headline). Upworthy, in this case uses unusual creativity without overwhelming viewers, and makes it easy to recognize without overwhelming the reader with color or design. Another perfect representation of minimalism in logo design.
Each of the logo designs mentioned above made the cut for some of the MIT Tech Reviews most powerful businesses of 2014 and for us, they made the cut by being the epitome of minimalist design. Bold colors, geometric forms and shapes that represent nothing more than themselves.