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In the age of the Apple Store, the age of Google Play, and the age of the Windows App Store, a new phenomenon is striking the design of logos: app symbols. Applications, especially those on mobile devices, require smaller and more compact logos to mark their place on phones and iPods. Logos of logos, in a lot of cases. But this is not only striking the world of mobile development, it’s also influencing the choices of companies for their main logos as well.
This allows for greater brand recognition across a wide variety of devices, and results in a simple logo design process. But it does require a lot of thought, as well as a few design trends that are revealing ways to appify your company logo.
The Boiling Approach
The Boiling approach is, simply, for companies whose customers already know them well. Structurally it’s a very simple process. The logo is boiled down to something simple, small, something emblematic of the larger logo that will be easy to recognize as a smaller analogue. Google’s use of their lowercase and capital “g” in their app, for example, lets the viewer know what app they’re looking at merely through font alone. It’s as immediately recognizable as the Facebook f or the Pinterest “P”. The Boiling down approach is best used for those with established customer bases, who don’t need to make it easy recognize because they will recognize it already.
The most classical example of the app in any app store you care to visit is the button, the shiny symbol of interactivity that has become iconic in Internet culture. This trending technique involves an eye-catching symbol that represents your company or service, like the iTunes symbol above. It’s catchy, simple, and interesting. The surrounding effects, however, are what truly make it an effective button. Clever use of white gradients around the symbol give it a modern sheen, and the dark to light blues form the sides to the center make it pop out and shine from within, give it an interactive and “touchable” look. These techniques make a button on a screen into a lively interaction with the viewer, as well as a pleasant introduction for even those who have never heard of your company or service before.
The Mascot Approach
Mascots are a third trend in digital logo design that are sweeping both in their similarities and their mass appeal. A mascot gives a face to a company, makes it personal and gives customers something to relate to fall in love with. The logo is an excellent place to make that happen, even on the scale of an app.
Take this example from Hipmunk, an airfare searching service. The ‘Hipmunk’ for which it is named is cute, simple, and lively. Visually the use of cartoony lines and curves makes this and other mascots cute and cuddly, but the muted colors and simplistic structure keep it from being silly. There’s no need to overwhelm your audience with a brightly colored creature, that isn’t going to inspire trust so much as laughter.
A lot of popular choices are creatures that allow for a fun but muted approach, a lively but professional critter. Note that although the Hipmunk chipmunk has a cute smile, it’s not overdone. Light browns and tans make up the creature as a whole, and the other splashes of color in the form of blues and yellows draw attention to the fact that it is representing airfares and planes. Even in cuteness it’s clever and easy to remember.
App culture is a powerful force in the lives of consumers, an increasingly important part of people’s everyday interactions with their devices and lives. Being able to access that trend and that part of people’s lives is a powerful way to implement your brand in a mobile and web-based context. These trends should not be ignored.