9 Logo Design Trends to Look Out for in 2021
Let’s be honest, this decade is already in need of some major rebranding. Maybe your business is too, or perhaps you’ll begin the next year by starting a small business from scratch. Whether it’s a revamp or a fresh start - that’s what the new year is for.
If you’re serious about branding, you’ll want to create your own logo for this next chapter. Your logo - small as it may be - is the mighty face of your brand. Eventually, it will become the most recognizable part of your business, used across marketing assets like your website and business cards.
The exciting thing about making a new logo is that design trends come and go, so you’ll have no lack of stimulating new ideas to help represent your brand in the best way. Lucky for you, we’ve got our finger on the pulse of what’s hot in logo design for 2021.
We’re approaching an encouraging time in the design world, when brands and designers are working together to harness the changes and challenges of the past year. We foresee logo designs in 2021 exhibiting an optimistic message, and implementing new visual tools while wistfully revisiting concepts of the past.
Without further ado, here are the top logo design trends to look out for in 2021:
Back to basic shapes (with a twist)
Bringing classic symbols back to life
Analogous color schemes
Breaking the rules of composition
Incorporating nature imagery
01. Hand-drawn imagery
Since the start of the digital era, the majority of logo design uses the accuracy and dynamism made possible with computer aided technology. For example, in 2020 we saw many logo variations implementing vector illustrations. Every once in a while, however - the design world revisits the days when logos were made by hand.
Logo design in 2021 will see more brands using hand-drawn images. It’s not purely nostalgia designers are after (after all, a nice retro look can always be developed using a computer). Rather, it’s the imperfect traits of hand-drawn images that make this technique so appealing. In 2021, designers and brands will embrace the chance to humanize their designs by incorporating the intimate and whimsical nature embodied by this style.
When thinking of how to design a logo for your own business, this might be the right direction - especially if you want to portray the authentic character of your brand.
02. Back to basic shapes (with a twist)
Although they're the most basic building blocks of art and design, we’ve learned that shapes have the power to communicate in their own right. Think of the modern logos forged by the art and design movements of the 20th century, when artists across the globe strayed from representation, opting for lines, shapes and fields of color to convey a message.
Branding experts understand that a well-crafted logo based on a shape can deliver a succinct message to the viewer. So when it comes to 2021 logo design trends, it’s not so much a question of “will we use basic shapes again?”, but rather “how will we use geometric shapes again?”
This past year, there was a lot of hype surrounding 3D geometric shapes which helped designers shift the perspective of viewers. In 2021 logos, we’ll see a similar sentiment played out using flat design by distorting proportions, combining multiple shapes or repeating shapes in a single logo design.
03. Overlapping text
Wordmark logos are an ever-popular option in logo design, using the brand’s name instead of symbols or shapes to represent it. While wordmark logos get straight to the point, they don’t lack creative potential.
Lately, wordmarks using serif fonts have been all the rage - there’s something unique about engaging with classic font styles in our modern times. In 2021, we’ll see logo designs continue in this direction while seeing a slight reinvention in the wordmark presentation. One exciting way this will happen is by overlapping text, which gives more depth to the logo itself.
Vered Bloch, Creative Designer for EditorX, puts it this way:
“An interesting trend which has developed this year in the typographic design world is the return of serif fonts to our lives. The trend intensified across all media - especially in web design, and eventually entered into logo design. Overlapping texts - putting one letter above the other - creates a captivating variation of using serif fonts in logotype, leading to new interpretations about the brand.”
Don’t forget, designing a text-based logo means taking into consideration which font style and color accurately represents your brand identity. Should you decide to use overlapping text, consider creating a variable logo (that is, an alternative version). A small rendition featuring just one letter or your brand’s initials will make a perfect favicon, and can come in handy for products that require less logo real estate.
04. Bringing classic symbols back to life
Classic symbols will be dug out of the design archives and revived in 2021. We’ll see many businesses incorporate widely recognized symbols into their logos - using modernized versions of iconography and motifs from bygone days, and repurposing mythic and religious emblems in order to amplify their brand’s message.
This presents a unique creative challenge - but it’s well worth it. First, find a symbol that communicates an idea synonymous with that of your brand. Then, figure out how to reproduce it. In the example below, a handshake icon is used for the logo of an artistic cooperative. The refashioned symbol is used to represent partnership and collaboration, paying homage to the working era of the 1920s.
05. Optical illusions
Optical illusions might be just the playful stamp we need to see from brands this year. Not to mention, it’s a clever way to get audiences to pay more attention to your logo. An optical illusion adds layers, depth and perspective. This can be fabricated in your logo using abstract or geometric shapes, or by playing around with your brand’s letters.
Just be careful not to over do it. While adding the intriguing quality of optical illusions to your logo is a great way to interest visitors, one that’s too complex or deceiving might confuse them.
06. Analogous color schemes
Technically speaking, analogous colors are the hues that sit next to each other on the color wheel. In 2021 we predict that lots of brands will start to move away from bold contrasts and neon colors towards a subtler visual theme, making use of analogous color schemes.
If you want to opt for a design like this, choose a primary color as your base and highlight it with its neighboring colors, muted tones or neutral hues. This can be an especially attractive effect, and is a less distracting color scheme for more daring and complex logo designs. In addition, it can give viewers a relaxing and harmonious visual experience.
07. Breaking the rules of composition
When creating a logo, most designers live by the basic rules of good composition: using a centered focal point, maintaining balance and achieving consistent visual hierarchy. But we all know that rules are made to be broken (sometimes). This couldn’t be truer for our next logo design trend to look out for in 2021, when we’ll see compositions take a sophisticated step out of the ordinary.
Breaking the rules of composition doesn’t have to mean going completely rogue. Choose one element of your logo design and let stand out. For example, if your logo is a wordmark of your business's name, bring one letter out of focus by reducing its font size or by taking it outside of the composition's imaginary grid. Implementing this quirky style will definitely make your logo stand apart in the crowd.
08. Incorporating nature imagery
Nature is a powerful reminder of renewal, and when the new year rolls around again, that’s what will be on most people’s minds. While a logo design can’t fully recreate the ambiance of the great outdoors, it can definitely represent it.
Some logo trends will be inspired by this concept in 2021, mimicking nature in a way that’s responsive and inspirational. We already see many brands revealing leafy motifs, floral imagery and earthy tones in their logos - even outside of the health, environment and sustainability sector bubble.
09. Using emojis
Emojis are great companions. The collection of over 3,300 (and growing!) characters give us an ubiquitous visual vocabulary, allowing individuals to express emotions in a clear and concise way.
In 2021, we’ll see emojis incorporated into the design world in new ways, and have no doubt they’ll be popular elements to use in logo creation. Before you start deeming the idea as totally kitsch, consider the fact that even MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) spotlighted the influence and importance of emojis in a 2017 exhibition titled Inbox: The Original Emoji. We see emojis evolving with grace, and are excited for these lighthearted pictures to work their way into logo design in the upcoming year.
By Jenna Romano