I look forward to Under Consideration’s Brand New list of the best reviewed logos at the end of every year. What an incredible disappointment 2018 was. Little was interesting, revolutionary, and worse, most of the marks reviewed revealed a disparaging amount of parity.
There are a few marks labelled as brilliant, which I would rate as fine. But nothing that made me think “I wish I had done that”. Which, by the way, is what all Designers should secretly strive to do.
It’s strange. So few logos have concepts, and if they do, they are so abstract or inwardly focused that in reality they actually are quite self-defeating as marks.
And the typography is so bland. Nothing but sans serifs, so many, that even as a trained, practicing designer I am struggling to discern one from the other. Think about how this affects the everyday, uneducated audience. Can they tell one from the other? For all you youngsters out there: Choosing between Gotham and Helvetica is not a concept.
Why this is?
One thought is the internet, the source of all good and evil in the world. It is so easy for the design community to look at and share ideas, see work instantly. You used to have to wait 60 days for the next issue of CA to come out to see what was fresh, new and cutting edge. You had time to absorb and think about the work rather than be reactionary.
What worries me is that more designers are simply following trends rather than trying to start them. That’s a seriously dangerous way to design, folks. What’s trendy and cool today is stale and dated tomorrow. And the last thing you want is a logo your client spent $20,000 mounting to the side of building looking dated six months from now.
Another thought is two-fold. One, are clients wanting to follow the herd, to be the same. Be safe. It is much easier to go with the flow rather than forge your own way upstream against the current.
Along those same lines, are designers doing a good enough job of pitching truly innovative logos. 2018 might have been a banner year for logo designs, only the work never had the opportunity to see the light of day because the designer’s presentation skills are lacking. It’s easy to sell what a client expects — you have to work to sell the new.
Originality is never an easy sell.
Or it is this march towards simplification. Again, a trend. I’m all for minimalism and brevity, but there is a breaking point where the simple becomes simplistic. Minimalism does not mean dumb-down.
Or, are designs over-intellectualized to the point where the designs are deconstructed so deeply that at the essence, there is nothing left of the design.
All of this is disturbing. I thought perhaps that it was just me, that I’ve gotten old and cynical about these things. Too much reverence for the work that has come before me and not enough insight into what is currently being produced. I waited two full weeks to publish this post with the intention of reviewing the work again, looking at it with fresh eyes and making sure it isn’t just me being an old codger. Unfortunately, I think my opinions on the marks of 2018 may have diminished even further.
Lets’s work to make 2019 is a better year for logos.