Logo Spotting – What are the Trends in Corporate Branding?

Leon health-food outlets have rapidly established a presence in London as one of the favourite on-the-go food providers for locals but it was more than the renowned quality of the product that struck our Head of Strategy, Andrew Barnes, on a recent visit. He shared the unique logo and brand treatment together with his considered thought around corporate identity trends of late.

The Leon logo is compelling and engaging in its communication. It is layered and textured. The implicit messaging is rich. Starting with a mythical “mother” figure and re-iterating an earth theme we also see a retro design of virulent vines, equine strength and a generous sense of fecundity and earthy potency. Angelic yet voluptuous motherliness (read nurture) is the focal point suggesting abundance, health and fertility.

Other trends to consider are the following.

Hand drawn

The challenge has always been transferring a hand-drawn logo to a computer but increasingly the effort is felt worthwhile because hand drawn logos emanate such a powerful sense of freshness, earthiness and warmth. Hand-drawn logos have a personal quality that translates into a sense of care and love. This may be why hand drawn logos are increasingly popular in the food industry, especially amongst businesses competing against the large corporate players. A hand-drawn logo conveys an honesty that a larger institution cannot match. Hand-drawn graphics are set to gain even more ground in future because of their timeless authentic chic.

Overlapping colours

Perhaps this ‘trend’ is aligned with the simplification trend mentioned ahead. MasterCard changed their logo using a new overlapping colour approach and it might be the sheer weight of such a monumental international brand that gives Overlapping Colours its own jurisdiction as a current trend. There are logos that have used this approach to modernise their look but in essence it ties in closely with simplification and even minimalism, which are possibly more powerful standalone trends.

Negative space

There is definite hyper around negative space logos. 2017 will be the breakout year they say. Negative space is the space that surrounds an object and helps to define its boundaries. More and more artists are using positive spaces (objects) to create boundaries that intentionally define new shapes/objects in the negative space, with results that can be exceptionally engrossing and simply clever.

Moving gifs

It had to happen. The digital era has been with us for a while and it was only a matter of time before the new technological features allowed a different interpretation of a traditionally “flat” logo. Animated gifs are coming fast to the world of branded logos and we hear that printed logos are set to see a little revolution in that they will increasingly display variations, rather than maintaining the sacrosanct immutability of the design. This will keep the printed logos in touch with digital developments.


Geometric line designs are modern, clean and simple. Inherent in the communication is technological prowess, precision and efficiency or frugality. That’s about it. If it works for your brand – anything from furniture to writing implements – a geometric styled logo can convey the image you want.

Simplification and colour simplification

A one-colour logo stands out more than a multi-colour logo. This is the rationale behind the colour simplification movement. Show one colour and be distinctive or show one colour and be more colourful. This is a reductionist trend and it fits in with a broader minimalism movement. Make do with less. It’s elegant and impactful.


People have memories and strong ties to the past. This is the human truth behind the proliferation of vintage or retro logos. There’s a little nostalgia in all of us and vintage logos tap into our imperfectly fond recall of things yesteryear. On the downside a vintage logo can also imply that a brand is still locked in the past and is outdated. This type of negative inference needs to be avoided at all cost so embrace a vintage design proposition with caution.

While these are a handful of trends that appear to be in place or unfolding, remember that a trend exists only until others jump on the bandwagon. The next corporate identity trends to be spearheaded by the branding agency are in an incubation phase. This means that there may never be a strong reason to follow a trend simply because it is said to be a trend. It is worthwhile to explore something completely different because you can propel forward and be part of the next emerging trend.

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