The History and Evolution of Logo Design
Graphic symbols and elements that we witness around us today are conclusive answers from numerous graphic techniques studied and implemented in the last two centuries. From floral and artsy to minimalist and flat, the history and evolution of logo design techniques have shaped our present understanding of shapes and symbols. Once you go through this interactive microsite, you will realize the importance of logos in everyday life and how they have evolved over the last two centuries. Do you find Apple’s logo history mesmerizing? Or Starbucks logo mysterious? These famous logos mark important milestones in the history and evolution of logo, a philosophy of design that have long helped us recite a thousand words of speech through one single symbol.
During the Victorian Era, the reign of Queen Victoria brought forward numerous artists and graphic designers to the frontier of what we call today 'Graphic Design'. Their attempt to have symmetrical layouts, heavy ornamentation and decoration was phenomenally impressive for almost half a century during the Victorian history. So how many Victorian style logos you know were inspired from the movement of art?
1880 – 1910
Arts and CraftsThe Days of Decorative and Fine Arts
This international movement redefined the usage of decorative elements in logo design by using simple forms in medieval, romantic and folk styles of decoration with heavy textures and illustrated initials. This movement serves as a bridge between traditional Victorian era values and the modern movement. Check out the best logos of this movement.
Art Nouveau style is a popular graphic design philosophy best known for its flat, outlined illustrations and hand-drawn typefaces. This new-found art movement inspired logo designers to adopt natural forms and structures in their logo designs.
1910 - 1935
Early ModernThe Rise of Rebellions
Early modern was a time when graphic designers broke-free from traditional roots of designing and went on to experiment with traditional design styles. The logo designs were geometrically perfect with minimalistic approach having clean type and photos instead of illustrations. This was the era when logo designers started putting logo design functions before its form, something that prevails even today.
German Expressionism is a style of logo designing that is charged with an emotional and spiritual vision of the world. It adopts the neo-noir form of designing with straight angular lines, geometric figures, abstract shapes, and religious and cultural elements in typical black and white colors.
Late 19th Century – Early 20th Century
Modern"Make it New! Make it New!"
Soon after the days of heavy decoration were over, came around a philosophical movement that not only shaped the development of modern industrial societies and triggered rapid urban growth, but also changed the dynamics of the logo design industry. No more ornamental and curvy shape, this was the beginning of what later went on to become 'minimalism'.
Art Deco is an eclectic style that combines traditional craft motifs with mechanical elements and materials. You can spot a product of Art Deco design by the usage of rich colors, bold geometric shapes and lavish ornamentation. Such logos represent luxury, glamour, exuberance and faith in social and technological progress.
1934 - 1945
Heroic RealismWhen Art turned into a Propaganda !!!
Instead of being a movement of art, Heroic realism was more of a propaganda associated with Socialist Realism and Communist regimes. The chief characteristics were realism, the depiction of figures as ideal types or symbols in logos, and explicit rejection of modernism in art.
The Late Modern Era was a period in arts when a non-decorative approach was implemented, which produced logo designs with new simplicity. Late Modern era design styles simplified and dramatized the integration of text and image by either pictorial collage elements or overlapping shapes in logo design.
1975 – 1990
Post ModernBreaking the Rules
Postmodernism was a time when graphic designers re-established interest in ornamentation, symbolism and visual wit. This era challenged designers’ obsession with progress and deliberately violated the Bauhaus tenet. You can easily identify postmodern logo designs by simply looking for funny-looking characters, odd color combination and random textures.
The Digital era isn't exactly a historical movement because it’s happening in real time even today. In fact, Digital era logos are not about being just digital, they can be anything they choose to be, like; messy, chaotic, extreme, absurd, layered, illegible, unstable, expressive, poetic, and a bit grungy.
2001 – Present
Minimalism & Flat
Minimalism is a style that uses pared down design elements (sans stylistic element) to offer illusions of three dimension and is focused on a minimalist use of simple elements, typography and flat colors in logo designs. It has been termed by logo designers as one of the finest techniques since it allows user interface designs to be more streamlined and efficient.