We love great logo design and closely follow logo design trends.
Logo design is important both because good design is aesthetically beautiful and because a business can’t build a strong brand identity without good design.
But, we don’t love logo design trends unconditionally.
Some logo design trends are best ignored. For example, when we examined trends for 2020, we urged businesses and logo designers to ignore swooshes – generic elements that are overused in logo design.
When thousands of businesses share a logo design that looks identical or similar, it’s impossible to stand out. And, that’s what you commonly get when you get your logo from an automated logo maker.
In fact, online logo makers have done more harm to the logo design industry than you can imagine. They’ve flooded the world with computer-generated uninspiring, generic, poorly executed designs that hurt brands and make it difficult for businesses to distinguish themselves visually.
We believe that a logo’s most important job is to accurately reflect the brand it represents. And, when branding design trends are given higher priority than the brand they should serve you’re left with generic, dated logos that quickly lose their impact as logo design trends evolve.
Still, logo design trends have a role to play. Trends motivate the logo design industry to evolve and grow, ensuring that logo designers innovate to better serve businesses and their customers.
What was hot in logo design trends for 2020 may still be hot in 2021 logo design. But, we’re seeing new trends emerge as we approach the new year and you should be aware of them.
But, how do you tell the difference between good and bad trends?
You can spend hours looking at every logo design gallery showcase online. Or you can read this article.
We’ve compiled the logo design trends that we think are poised to best serve logo design in 2021 – as well as the trends you should avoid.
Here are the top 7 logo design trends for 2021:
1. Single-color and monochromatic palettes
Monochromatic color palettes are poised to dominate the logo landscape this year.
Monochromatic designs feature varying shades of one color and not multiple color schemes.
A limited color palette forces line and form to carry the lion’s share of creating a visually distinctive logo.
As a result, monochromatic and single-color logo designs are very versatile because they can easily appear on almost any background without losing visual impact. For example, they work well on social media.
And, this logo design trend can be embraced by virtually any brand if the right color choice is made.
Logo designers have realized that overly simple designs can be made more eye-catching with the use of gradients and other vibrant multi-hued palettes. But, their functionality is still limited.
As soon as the distinctive color is removed, the logo becomes bland and nondescript. This is sadly inevitable because logos occasionally need to appear on a bright or busy background.
We’ve seen a number of well-known businesses rebrand over the past year – simplifying their logo’s color palettes from multi-hued to monochromatic or single-color. These forward-looking brands are projecting a logo design trend that will continue into 2021.
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2. Avoid: Swooshy people and other overdone concepts
A logo’s primary job is to visually identify a brand.
And, it’s tough to identify a specific brand when their logo looks like every other logo. So, a logo must be unique to be effective on any level.
That’s why we’re disappointed to continue to see plenty of overused logo design elements ahead in 2021.
This trend has continued for a long time. We wish it would stop.
When discussing logo design trends in 2018, we mentioned “swooshy people.”
“Swooshy people” are abstract representations of the human form created with a sweeping line (that often resembles a vertical Nike “Swoosh”) with a circle for the head.
These overused design elements continue to overwhelm the logo design world. And, as we’ve previously explained, this trend is a problem. Here’s why…
There are so many swooshy people logos flooding the market that it’s impossible to design one that doesn’t already exist somewhere…
Don’t be lured in by the swooshy person’s bright colors or faceless relatability. They should not serve as design inspiration. Swooshy people are enemies of unique logo design. They don’t distinguish your brand and are not memorable enough to help your prospective customers remember you.
It’s easy for folks who don’t specialize in design or branding to associate the concept of a logo with a familiar overdone logo trend that they’ve seen many times before.
We don’t find this design style to be aesthetically pleasing. More importantly, it’s generic and unremarkable. Overused and overdone logos and not good building blocks to create a strong visual identity for your brand.
Examples of these include a business’s initials inside a circle or a square, a business name surrounded by an ellipse, or (more recently) swooshy people.
But, it’s important to avoid the trap of getting a logo that “looks like a logo” (aka, overdone logo concepts). Your unique business needs a distinctive visual identity to help it stand out and connect with your audience.
Here at crowdspring, we feel strongly about keeping overused designs like these out of logo projects. We quality screen our creatives, educate them about forbidden overused logo concepts and remove any inappropriate generic designs that occasionally occur.
Wherever you get your logo, don’t be one of the businesses that embrace overdone and overused logo design trends in 2021. The design industry is made worse when overused and overdone designs are misused.
3. Soft colors
Bright colors have a massive visual impact on laptop and phone screens.
For this reason, bright colors have become immensely popular for logo designs – particularly for web-based businesses.
But, a pendulum always swings the other way eventually. And, while bright colors are certainly still in use, softer colors are becoming more popular – helping to visually set brands apart from their brightly colored competition.
In some ways, this trend is counter to the throwback logos that became popular in the past few years, with lots of pixels, chromium, and neon, evoking a revival of the 1980s.
There’s no doubt that 2020 has been a stressful year. And, that may be the very catalyst that has inspired logo designers and their clients to embrace softer, more calming hues. Shades of jade green, buttercup yellow, mauve, lavender, rose, and periwinkle blue are soothing to the eye and appearing more frequently in logo design.
And, we expect that momentum to continue as more businesses use soft colors in their logos in 2021.
Sometimes, as in the example above, softer colors are combined with other elements to give the appearance of hand drawn logos.
4. Elevated logotypes
Logotypes are logos created solely with typography and no accompanying icon.
These designs place the name (or initials) of a brand front and center. This ensures that the brand’s audience knows who they are.
This style of logo is particularly common among coaches, consultants, musicians, bloggers, artists, and other solopreneurs.
But, logotypes can be somewhat limiting in terms of visual impact. Logotypes – when too simple – can be bland, generic, and utterly forgettable.
And small businesses, in particular, need to visually distinguish themselves to stand out.
Heading into 2021, we’re seeing businesses demand more from their logotypes. Small but powerful visual flourishes (like the playful use of line weight and the abstract human figure standing in for the “I” in the logo above, or the effective use of negative space to create an image, like the FedEx logo) that elevate potentially nondescript logotypes are appearing more often.
Take a look at crowdspring’s logo. It’s a logotype but we’ve done some creative things with the letters to give our logo a unique visual identity.
These visual accents can help to better communicate your brand and offer a great way to visually differentiate your logo from the thousands and thousands of other logotypes in the market.
So, if you’re considering a logotype rather than a traditional icon and text logo, push for stronger creativity and visual differentiation.
5. Sans serif typography
Sans serif fonts are clean, modern, and they’ve been steadily growing in popularity for the past several years.
We predict that they will continue to take center stage for logo design trends in 2021.
Serifs (small lines extending from the ends of letter strokes) became popular historically because they make the text easier to read in print. But serifs have fallen out of favor for many businesses because online presence has surpassed print advertising in importance.
Sans serif fonts’ clean lines are easy to read online (an important functional consideration for any logo) and make a strong visual statement.
There’s also an incredibly wide range of sans serif fonts from which to choose. That makes this a flexible and versatile trend that can communicate many brand traits – from bold professionalism and strength to playfulness and cheer.
If you want a modern web-savvy visual brand, sans serif fonts are a long-term trend worth considering.
6. Flat and semi-flat design
For a time, as web graphics grew more sophisticated, logo designers challenged themselves to create logos that departed from retro style, using a 3d effect, often creating gradient logos in the process.
Now, those logos look dated – a relic of a time when such detail was celebrated simply because it could be done.
Today, businesses and logo designers have realized that such detail is unnecessary; and, in many cases detrimental. Flat design has become the standard.
What is flat and semi-flat design?
Flat designs do not attempt to create an illusion of depth or dimension in any way. Semi-flat designs incorporate similarly flat shadows that imply dimension, sometimes utilizing negative space, without the full impact of a 3-dimensional design.
Simpler, flat designs are easier to replicate on a wide variety of backgrounds, surfaces, and textures. This makes them more versatile and more functional logos.
And, by virtue of the visual contrast with the older style of 3-dimensional logo designs, flat designs look modern to most consumer’s eyes.
This logo design trend will continue full-force into 2021 as businesses seek to show their relevance in the modern marketplace.
7. Connect the dots
Logo design trends don’t exist in isolation.
And it’s rare that their tenure is limited to a single year. Last year we predicted the rise of connect-the-dot logos that feature a series of lines and dots to create a design.
And we were right. This logo design trend continues to thrive as we head into 2021.
As we previously explained:
This trend is interpreted in a variety of ways – playing with line and dot weight, experimenting with composition, and choosing between solid and hollow dots.
The example above features negative space connect-the-dot elements within an irregular gradient octagon. Geometric shapes continue to be a hot trend but as you can see in the example, they’ve become more sophisticated. Negative space has always been a fun and interesting technique when executed creatively by the graphic designer.
We’ve expressed concern in the past that the distinctive dot and line elements of this design trend may create logos that eventually look homogenous as more and more logos of this style arrive in the marketplace. But, so far, logo designers continue to innovate and produce new unique connect-the-dots designs.
We’re intrigued to see how far they can keep this up.
But, we do invite you to proceed with caution. As always, we encourage businesses to seek out unique ways of getting a similar visual point across that will stand out.
So if you’re in the tech, medical or HR industries, consider alternate ways to symbolize data moving between two points or connections between people before committing to this logo design trend.
Don’t forget your brand
Choosing a logo when you’re starting a business (or rebranding an existing business) is tricky.
And, it can be tempting to follow trends for a sense of security.
But, if you really want to differentiate your business, make sure the 2021 logo design trends you follow – if any – truly represent your brand in an authentic way. After all, authenticity is important – it’s a key factor all investors and lenders evaluate when reviewing your business plan, and it’s a key driver to help you connect with your target audience.
Prioritizing trends over authentic branding will only hurt your business.
For example, hand drawn logos may work well for personal brands but could create friction if used by businesses in the finance industry.
When it comes to logo design, always let your brand guide you and set your logo design requirements based on your business needs, not based on what happens to be trendy.
A strong logo can signal business expertise, while a poorly designed logo can confuse your target audience and fail to make a good impression.
After all, there’s not always a fine line between a trend and a fad. In the past, fads like motion graphics, retro logos, and other styles were popular but quickly became dated.
Ultimately, as we explained in The Small Business Guide to Creating a Perfect Logo:
At its most basic, a logo is a small, symbolic piece of artwork that represents a business… When you set aside all the design trends and fancy fonts, at its core, a logo must:
1- Embody your brand.
2- Be instantly recognizable.
3- Be versatile.
4- Be timeless.
Everything else is optional.
In fact, I’ll go one step further. Every design choice in your logo should exist only to serve and strengthen the four items listed above. And, if you meet these four requirements, many other commonly cited logo must-haves, like simplicity and memorability, naturally follow.
So when you’re considering logo design trends and logo design styles for your next business (or planning to redesign your existing logo)… make sure to ask yourself if that trend really fits your brand. If you’re not sure, we’re happy to help – let us know if you’d like a free design consultation with our team.
>>Check out “Logo Design Trends 2020: Your Definitive Guide to Navigate The Biggest and Hottest Trends” if you’re looking for logo design trends and styles for 2020.
Want a closer look at all design trends for 2021?
2021 Logo design trends
More to come over the next few weeks…
Want a closer look at all design trends for 2020?
2020 Logo design trends
2020 Web design trends
2020 Product design trends