Avoiding Logo Design Fads

A trap to avoid when contemplating a new logo is the design fad. Design fads not only occur within a specific travel and destination sector like skiing, but can also span across multiple industries. Often we see companies copy a trend regardless of the look having anything to do with the brand’s core message. A favorite handout in my Graphic Design for Corporate Identity class at RPI is a Graphic Design USA article from the late 1990’s. In it is a page of logos that are all designed with what I call The Swoosh Factor.

After the Nike logo became popular, it seemed that whenever someone designed a logo, no matter for what industry, the trend was for it to have an arc. From health care, to high tech, to active outdoor, to resort branding, the swoosh factor kept showing up whether or not the symbol made any sense at all. It was hard to tell industries apart, no less companies within the same competitive set. You have to wonder if Hyatt considered that their logo symbol is the same as many from the manufacturing or high tech industry.

Swoosh Factor logos you may know

It’s difficult to stay away from fads. There's no sin in wanting a destination to be perceived as contemporary. But like the latest contemporary fashion craze, watch out: fads fade fast.

It is also easier to think we want something because we have seen it used successfully elsewhere. But design fads do not help your brand to stand out from the crowd (in a good way) anymore than knocking off the “Got Milk?” campaign does. If someone else has already done it, then you cannot own it. And everyone will know that it is not original.