Why flattened logos are the next “in thing”

BMW recently created a buzz when they “flattened” their logo to a minimalist style (the first change to their logo since 1997), but they’re not the first to do it. We first saw this really becoming a design trend back in 2013 as 3D logos started to become less popular. Big names such as Pepsi and Microsoft Windows made the move back to a flattened approach, with their 2013 logo updates reflecting this change.

Where one goes, other will follow, and nobody likes to be behind the trend. The whole point of having an iconic, recognisable brand is so people know who you are and that you’re at the forefront of your industry. With brands like Windows changing the game, it was only a matter of time before others would follow.

But why?

Distinct Branding

3D designs look good, but they can be complicated to then showcase without losing the extra ‘wow’ that a 3D effect gives. Logos like Pepsi’s 2003 design especially need to be placed carefully onto marketing materials as they are an image in themselves and can’t then be placed onto a ‘busy’ background. A simpler, flattened logo has much more scope for placing onto different backgrounds and colours without losing impact.

Minimalistic Approach

A minimalistic logo not only looks modern, but it saves on the cost of colour printing onto marketing materials. As with Pepsi’s logo change, there is much less colour to take into account, but the logo still looks good and makes an impact.

3D logos also have shadows, gradients and gloss effects, which mean they may need altering for different marketing materials.

‘Easy’ Design

Some do say a flat logo is an ‘easier’ approach than a 3D one and this does ring true in principle as it takes less time and requires much less in the way of input to get right. That said, it also saves the client money in terms of design time and proofing.