There is a resurgence of flat design principles right now, and it has nothing to do with a technological vacuum. Among graphic designers, the debate over flat vs. realistic tech branding is among the most hotly debated topics. Some have speculated that viewers have become weary of realistic images. Others think it’s because of influence.
In the 2010s, digital channels, including social media, emerged as crucial for advertising. Tech logos, in reaction to the rise of mobile devices, became more malleable and responsive.
Logos that are responsive can be resized and adjusted to fit any screen size, just like responsive websites. A flat, responsive logo is a must for companies looking to secure their brand for the future in this rapidly evolving digital landscape. To ensure the brand is easily recognizable, it is essential that they are free to experiment with different channels while keeping a consistent visual style.
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Why Flat Logo Designs Are Beneficial
Can you tell me if the previous logo it used is still in use? If you’re still on the fence about making the switch to a flat design, consider the following.
1. The market demands this.
To be a good business manager, you need to know what your customers want. Your suggestions for improvement will be based on this point. Changing your products or services is just one example. Your target demographic should be able to easily understand all of your promotional materials, including logos. In this case, flat designs are typically preferred by modern consumers.
2. Devoid of Clutter
We all know that living a simple life is more appealing to the majority of us. A neat, tidy, and refined appearance is our favorite. The design community is rife with examples of minimalist logos that have been successful for startups. When we make a purchase, we usually value practicality more than beauty. That is the message that is communicated through logos that are flat.
3. The Screen Makes the Image Look Better
The market is dominated by smartphones and tablets. Regardless, simpler designs look considerably better on screens. This is why minimalist logos work so well. You should aim for maximum detail in your logo so that it sticks in people’s minds. This strategy works well if you want to increase brand recognition.
Another benefit of flat logo designs is the increased adaptability they provide. Based on your needs, it can be adjusted in size.
4. The Implementation Is Simpler
Since fewer components are needed for a flat design, it is typically easier to create. Our graphic designers will be able to improve their thinking and output in this manner. However, the brainstorming process must not be compromised. A less complex layout does not mean the concept is uninteresting. “Simplicity is genius,” goes the old saying.
Technological Logos: From Photorealistic to Flat
Here are a few examples of how logos for tech companies have changed over the years to illustrate how technology has affected design practices:
1. AT&T, founded in 1885
After multiple companies with claims to Alexander Graham Bell’s patents merged in 1947, the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (or AT&T for short) was born.
For most of its first century in business, AT&T used a bell as its logo icon. However, in the 1960s, the company introduced a much simplified version of the bell along with bold type. Southwestern Bell Telephone Company (SBC) was one of several AT&T subsidiaries that were spun off in the 1980s due to government regulation.
Thus, SBC went with the bell logo and AT&T came up with a new one: a simplified globe with horizontal bands representing electronic transmissions.
After merging with SBC Communications in 2005, the company’s tech logo gained a fully 3D or realistic effect. To achieve this, we defined the globe’s borders precisely, added a radial gradient, and switched out the blue lines for white ones. The expansion of AT&T’s service offerings was the inspiration for those alterations. The brand’s versatility was severely diminished by these fancy effects, unfortunately.
Until 2015, when the firm reverted to its monochrome, two-dimensional flat design, the realistic look was in vogue.
2. The GM Group
Redesigned for the first time since 1964, the General Motors logo now emphasizes eco-friendliness and cutting-edge tech. One possible branding move for eco-friendly new businesses is to abandon three-dimensional designs in favor of flat ones.
The company’s goal in creating this sign was to highlight its dedication to producing electric vehicles. The updated version features a resized abbreviated name inside a rounded square box.
Its blue and white color scheme and realistic, gentle design highlight the objective of shielding the clouds, sky, and air. This is why the developers made the letter “m” look like a plug on a power cord. In addition, the stroke at the letter’s base acts as a makeshift socket, adding functionality to the design. Harmoniously, a shortened tail section on “g” follows them in height.
General Motors’ new tech logo is an attempt to pay homage to the company’s past while giving the iconic blue square a facelift. The overall shape is still square, but the word “GM” is now lowercase.
The redesign is an attempt to give it a more contemporary and welcoming appearance by using lowercase letters and rounded corners. Another goal is to make it more in line with how we live in a digital-first world.
The origins of the Xerox brand can be traced to the early 1900s, even though the company is now most recognized for its scanners and printers.
Xerox has had its fair share of missteps in developing its visual identity and in realizing the full potential of its innovations. The firm abandoned the torch in favor of a legendary font with thin ligatures and an attention-grabbing “O” after the introduction of its Haloid typeface in the 1960s gave it a realistic logo. But ever since then, its progress has been fraught with difficulties.
Landor tried to update the Xerox logo for the digital era by keeping it simple with a “X” and adding pixelation. Nonetheless, this was bound to become obsolete in due course.
While maintaining the red and white color scheme, Interbrand added gray gradients to Xerox’s visual identity in 2008. The left side of the logotype was adorned with an emblem that displayed a red sphere adorned with a stylized “X” in white and gray. By 2019, the firm had decided to streamline the logo to a single logotype, do away with the emblem, and maintain the same color scheme and style as the previous version, all while maintaining this realistic look.
Among the most recognizable names in UK telecoms, Vodafone has been around since 1991. At first, the logo for the company was just a wordmark in an all-caps, italicized font. The wordmark looked unique because of the white line that divided each letter in half.
Though it didn’t officially launch until 1985, Vodafone drew inspiration from its predecessor, Racal Strategic Radio, for both its branding goals and its visual identity. Since its inception, the color scheme of the company’s emblem has remained unchanged. The Racal logo, which debuted in 1981, consisted of red and white stripes with rounded corners.
The redesign in 1997 made the Vodafone logo instantly recognizable, and now everyone uses it. Below the red circle symbol, you can see a lowercase wordmark accompanied by a white drop. The symbol is switched out for the same one on the emblem for the second “O,” which is inverted. Therefore, a totally flat layout
This tech logo is a departure from the previous Vodafone icon; instead of capitalizing and refining the contours of the letters, it uses the same style.
The third logo redesign was finished in 2006, giving it a more realistic and three-dimensional look with emblems that looked like droplets or commas. A red image was encased in a silver-gray circle, and the badge’s glossy appearance was achieved through subtle gradients.
The most recent redesign from 2017 restored the flat design style while eliminating any hint of realism. A more refined and elegant version of the emblem is now displayed on a red circular background with a white comma.
5. Hewlett-Packard, or HP
Since 1999, the black lettering has been removed from HP’s visual identity, which consists solely of a blue and white emblem. The letters now look more refined and professional because the number of lines was reduced and the lines were sharpened.
The badge lettering was slightly updated in 2009 with more space between the letters. For the purpose of printing the logo on their devices, the circular badge was enlarged in both letters, which increased contrast and brightness and gave the impression of a realistic or even 3D image.
With its flatter design and lighter sky blue color palette, HP’s logo underwent a 2012 redesign that evokes feelings of friendliness, tenderness, and welcome. The logo’s letters stayed the same, but the new background made them appear thinner and finer.
Changing their name to Moving Brands Studio was a 2016 initiative. To make the letters “h” and “p,” the logo merely uses two vertical lines. The text appears bolded and has a clean layout. Thanks to its symmetry and minimalism, this logo exudes an air of style, futuristic cool, and mystery.
All of these tech companies have iconic logos that have stood the test of time and convey the essence of their brands. Depending on the situation, the changes might have been quite large or quite small. Over the years, many tech companies have revamped their logos, while others have made minor adjustments. It is not surprising that all these brands have chosen the flat design trend, as it has been popular for quite some time.
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