Oversimplifying company logos takes away their meaning

The evolution from using iconic logos to minimal ones is boring

(Kristen Frier)

The magic of a good company logo can help set it apart from other companies that sell similar products and stay in a customer’s mind. They play a part in our everyday lives. We pass by them every time we visit the store, and they are the trademark symbols that we seek out whenever we want the product associated with them.

Now imagine that same iconic logo has been grotesquely dumbed down. The designs and characteristics of the symbol or mascot on the product box are stripped away for the sake of a simpler form.

It’s true that companies change their designs often, and that’s fine. Changing the colour, making a slight improvement of the design, or adding something new to an existing logo can prove that the company under that symbol is adaptable, which attracts new customers while retaining old ones.

But when a logo has its identity and personality ripped away from them for the sake of convenience, it just feels condescending in a way.

There’s a worrying trend within some industries, and that’s the oversimplification of once-iconic logos. Logos play a huge part in culture. The familiarity of certain logos can leave such an impression that people often reference it later through different mediums. Eventually, it reaches a point when certain logos seem almost inescapable, with their appearances popping up almost everywhere, from alleyways to the sides of vehicles and even inside our homes.

Take for instance, the Mozilla Firefox logo. It is as the name implies: there is a fox encircled in front of a blue sphere, with its tail ending in a flame. One of the most widely-used internet browsers, even more so than Microsoft Internet Explorer, Firefox’s logo is recognizable to many. The usage of an iconic animal like the fox sets itself apart from the competing browsers.

Unfortunately, the Firefox logo has become more oversimplified over the years. Instead of the iconic fox that the browser was known for, all we see now is a half-circle of orange and blue. There isn’t even a flame in the symbol. Any semblance to the old logo has been erased.

At one point, the logo for the most popular web-browsing software Explorer was known for one letter, and that was “E”. Even more so than Firefox, the Explorer “E” was a part of every 2000s kid’s computer. But now that the “E” has been oversimplified, it is no longer recognizable as an E, but a gross crescent with blue and green.

Web browsers logos are only a few of the victims of the oversimplification trend, though. Remember the title for the Animal Planet channel? Before its oversimplification, the logo was bright green, with the “M” in the word “animal” turned sideways. Through this the channel is a channel dedicated to wildlife. Now its been replaced with a basic lettering set below a blue elephant. The green colouring of the text before conveyed a sense of jungle exploration and adventure. Now oversimplified, Animal Planet’s new logo has none of that feeling.

When you simplify logos, you simplify the expression they stand for, and you take away the meaning they convey.

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