The Year’s Hottest Logo Trends


For the past nine years Bill Gardner, the principal of Gardner Design and creator of, has filed an annual report on major trends in logo design worldwide. So what did he find this year? The definition of what a logo is has become more fluid — both literally and figuratively. Brown is the new black. Items related to wine were prevalent. Commas — or at least something approximating a comma shape — were hot. Also spotted: lots and lots of fruit, trees, and leaves. Click through to view examples of ten of the major trends from his 2011 report.


As demonstrated by 1. Design Ranch, Target 2. Schakalwal Design Studio, Musiq Launch 3. Vectory Belle, Box of Cravings 4. Tad Carpenter, Yummo Yogurt and Smoothies

Gardener says: “These aren’t just the cereal box advertising characters that coaxed a generation to the breakfast table. These logos are simple, often geometric and monoweight in line.”


As demonstrated by 1. Cricket Design Works, Momentum 2. PUSH Branding and Design, Blur MediaWorks 3. Corporate Movement, Waterfunk LLC 4. Judson Design, Cradle Robbers

Gardener says: “What was a mark of poor printing craftsmanship for generations is now rearing it head to remind us of the medium. That slight misregister that caused visual vibration that could blind a reader halfway through a paragraph is now a confusing part of some logo specifications.”


As demonstrated by 1. Chermayeff & Geismar Inc., Conservation International 2. 1310 Studios, Orange Product Design 3. Today, Quantumize 4. Sparc, Inc., Standing O

Gardener says: “You would have to assume the Obama logo that was rightfully acclaimed for breaking ground and tradition in the realm of politics must share in the responsibility for this trend. As fresh as that mark was, its ubiquitous presence may end up accelerating the expiration date on followers.”


As demonstrated by 1. United by Design, Earthmedia 2. Blackboard, green park play school 3. Mattson Creative, Discovery Channel 4. Troyca – Visual Solutions GmbH, Troyca

Gardener says: “Minutia on a logo is generally avoided as it can vanish when scaled down, but this group seems to transcend this tenet by inviting the viewer to enter, magnifying glass in hand.”


As demonstrated by 1. Vistaprint, Vistaprint 2. FCB Durban, Oubaai 3. RDQLUS Creative, Expeditiously Delicious 4. Sommese Design, Dantes Restaurants

Gardener says: “There is a certain elegance in an ultra-thin line, and this has never been lost on designers. Challenging as these may be on aging eyes, when designed well and not under-scaled, they will coax a pair of readers from the viewer’s pocket.”


As demonstrated by 1. 1310 Studios, Small Hands Big Art 2. Gerren Lamson, NONA 3. Defteling Design, Candywinkel 4. Odney, MBT’s

Gardner says: “This year, with full apologies to UPS, designers discovered what brown could do for them… It’s as if the volume knob had been pegged on black for maximum contrast for the last two decades, and we suddenly discovered it could be turned down and consumers could still hear us.”


As demonstrated by 1. Helius Creative Advertising, 2. Gardner Design, Pauline Reese & Blake Behrns 3. Carol Gravelle Graphic Design, Los Padres ForestWatch 4. Pierpoint Design + Branding, Rep Cafe

Gardner says: “If there is an attempt to emulate a look, it may be that of a block letterpress print that wasn’t liberally inked. Because only limited areas of the mark may use this effect, these logos are able to live with one foot in the future and another in the past.”


As demonstrated by 1. Notamedia, 2. Sommese Design, State College State Theatre 3. Clover Creative Group, LLC, CLOVR Media Inc. 4. Vectory Belle, Web Application

Gardner says: “Whether used as the foundation of the mark or just as a portion, these solutions have dizzying impact on the viewer. This challenges, and like it or not, forces the consumer to confront the mark. They demand a reaction.”


As demonstrated by 1. Noetic Brands, Green Bills 2. Shawn Wideman, Vida Church 3., ACTUART 4. Kraftwerk Design Inc., Terravant Wine Company

Gardner says: “A clearly handcrafted loopy, loopy line is applied to the surface of an otherwise unremarkable but recognizable shape. In fact, this scribbling is the punch line to the logo. No pretentious calligraphic thick and thin strokes here.”


As demonstrated by 1. FutureBrand BC&H, Grupo Boticário 2. Karl Design Vienna, Bertha Benz Challenge 3. BrandBerry, Olive 4. Baris Atiker, Euroclean

Gardner says: “Like the Orb trend seen years ago, these marks seem to be imbued with a visual magic that tells the viewer not to look for reasoning but just believe.”