As designers, we always take pride in the levels of detail we can produce for our clients and I know I certainly don’t shy away from complex requests that require patience and labouring over small, particular areas for large periods of time.
So for us, the idea of stripping concepts back to make them as basic as possible can seem slightly alien– and definitely outdated. But that’s exactly what we are seeing across the world as some of the big household names turn to the increasingly popular technique of debranding.
So is there one reason why companies like Warner Brothers, Dunkin’ Donuts, Toyota and Pringles are choosing to bring things back to basics?
In short…no! There’s lots – but the biggest one is probably the fact that all businesses now need to be accessible on mobile devices. A decade ago, most logos would be viewed on laptops or computers and brands would want to go in-depth with the detail to show off the intricacy and how unique they are.
Whereas now, with most people using their mobile phones to view products and services, logos are so small that over-the-top complex designs can look messy and cluttered. And when the logos are that small (think of when you view them as an app) anything with too many layers would break up – hence the return to 2D.
Another reason to debrand could be to add professionalism and make the business appear more corporate – with GoDaddy a good example of a company who abandoned a messy logo with lots going on to something more sleek and respectable.
A more basic, 2D logo can also give a business more options. Many cars brands such as Citroen and Mini have moved from multicolour to one-colour designs – thus giving them lots more opportunities to use it in different concepts and graphics. If you take Warner Brothers as well, for example, I really like how they have managed to creation a 2D design that only uses two inter-changeable colours, which can be easily alternated for different scenarios, while still keeping the detail in the corners of the logo from the original to keep It unique.
Of course, global brands that are household names can go one step further in their debranding and actually remove their name altogether, as we have seen with big hitters like McDonalds and Nike through the years, and more recently with the likes of Starbucks and Toyota.
These brands are safe in the knowledge that the consumer is so familiar with them that they will still know instantly who the logo belongs to – not a bad position to be in I have to say!
We’re not all in that position, but debranding can still help smaller businesses improve their professionalism, appear more user-friendly and cater to a world where we are all glued to our phones!
It’s an interesting change of direction, a nostalgic throwback in some ways to a time before the world of creative design exploded as technology improved and we are ready to embrace it at NineTwoDesign in our client work.
Who’s to say if it will last or whether we will see a return to a landscape where detail dominates, but it’s an interesting trend for businesses and design geeks like me to follow and see where it all goes!