The History of Logo Design

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1890 to 1920

Art Nouveau influenced almost everything from architecture, interior design, jewellery and art and sought to revive the quality of workmanship and crafts. The style was richly ornamental and asymmetrical, characterised by organic lines that took the form of flower stalks, vine tendrils and insect wings.

1920 to 1940

Economic desperation in the 1930s due to The Great Depression led manufacturers to seek help from industrial designers in order to rejuvenate outdated products. Modernism and streamlining became the industry standard design tools used to achieve this. This flowed on to the marketing efforts of dominant brands during this time.

1950 to 1960

This decade saw a widespread introduction of Swiss Typography, which was less like art and more like a science. Emphasis was placed on mathematical principles, minimal decoration and plain typography. Simple san-serif typefaces became popular, designs were sharp, crisp and there were no unnecessary embellishments.

1970 to 1990

The unrestrained avant-garde movement of Postmodernism became the dominant design force, introducing paintings and books nobody understood, uninhabitable and unattractive buildings, and faceless, alienating products with little sensuous appeal. It's for these reasons that logo design wasn't affected to a major degree. For the next few decades, logos gradually became simpler and many didn't change.

1990 to 2000

Often referred to as the 'Rise of Corporate' identity, the 1990s saw a new wave of marketing overhauls in an effort to maintain a brand presence in an increasingly crowded and competitive marketplace. Within the years to come, many companies began refreshing their logos, with brand imaging, positioning and awareness advertising all becoming top priorities.

2000 to 2010

The 2000s marked a major leap forward in the realm of home computers, with the release of Microsoft and Apple's new computer operating systems. The introduction of updated software made multimedia practices such as graphic design easier, faster, more affordable and available to a wide audience. Often referred to as the era of 3D design, the 2000s quickly became the era of embossed text, gloss finishes, subtle shadows and virtual lighting.

2010 to now

Microsoft introduced a completely different design style, now popularly known as 'Flat Design', which emphasised a revised style of minimalism introduced by Swiss Typography. It was considered a risky move because of how different it was to the 3D trends, however new Microsoft products such as the Xbox and Windows operating systems proved its success. This 'new' trend of simple, usable, no-frills design quickly caught on to logo design, moving away from the somewhat dated and tacky 3D design.