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Earlier this week I looked at a great article by Business Insider entitled What 20 Top Company's Logos Looked Like Before They Were Famous.  As I looked through a few trends came to light as companies have re-branded themselves over the past 70 years.  Now, of course, there are exceptions.  In fact, you can find a logo or two that defies all of these trends.  Be that as it may, these logo trends are no less meaningful.  When you begin to consider how to re-brand or even initially brand your business, you should be mindful of the design history and direction over the past 70 years or so.

Square Peg to Round Hole

Though we could use Xerox as a great example for many of these trends, I think the best exemplify the move from being square to being round.  This first logo was designed back in 1948.  It was a bit ahead of its time in that it used rounded edges and curved text, but see the substantial shift in the 2008 version of the logo.  There are literally no straight lines.  The only box feel you see here at all is with the use of negative space.  Even every letter of the type face is curved; not a single straight line.  The icon, of course, is where you see the move most significantly.

Why the trend?
Here we are moving from paper to information.  We are also moving form concrete to abstract.  We are even moving from staccato tasks to a cyclical trade.

Xerox First and Last

2D to 3D

AT&T is one of the companies who started out with a round logo back in 1900.  So, what design trend do they represent for us?  That's right: the third dimension.  Again, this is a company that could stand as an example of many things.  They too had a change in both name and direction, but they chose to communicate that shift in their logo by extruding the flat round image and creating a multi-layered sphere.  The are horizontal lines that wrap the image, radiating circles inside the image and (just in case you missed it) a shadow being cast on the image.  There's no question; this is 3D.

Why the trend?
Here we are no longer about a static, local line of communication but rather dynamic, global matrix that spans the globe from wherever you are.

AT&T First and Last

Solid to Sleek

Though we could look at almost any of the logos from this article to see this trend, I have to give a shout out to Canon.  I think that shift from their 1933 logo best exemplifies this move from solid to sleek because, quite frankly, it defies the other trends.  The original logo contained a prominent circle as well as somewhat primitive 3 dimensional features.  However, it clearly goes from solid and (dare I say) bulky to simple and sleek.  I would like to point out that really only 23 years transpired between these two logos.  I would venture to guess that if Canon had re-branded themselves in 2006 as opposed to 1956 we would see more of the other design trends present in their logo.

Why the trend?
Here we make the surprising move from trustworthy to trendy.  At times our clients would rather feel a sense of awe than a sense of security.

Canon First and Last

All of the Above

There were two logos that perfectly exemplified all of the re-branding trends that we have discussed here today.  One of them was Apple, of course!  But, I thought I would point out one that would not quite reach our top of mind when discussing logo trends.  Here we have none other than the well know chip company.  (And I don't mean computer chip!)  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Lay's!

Lay's First and Last