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Less is More: Why Brands Choose to Simplify Their Logos

Less is More: Why Brands Choose to Simplify Their Logos

10.10.2012

Charlotte Zhang
Corporate Branding Team

Less is more. Since 2010, this concept has been embraced by many brands. To name a few, the launches of the new visual identities (VI) of Microsoft, USA Today and eBay are certainly among the top buzzing branding news over the past few months. Why do brands simplify their logos? We’ll take a closer look through these new changes.

Windows 8: the Metro style
Microsoft has recently refreshed their somewhat outdated VI to celebrate the very much anticipated Windows 8 operating system. Named as the Metro style, the new design uses much lighter colors and has sharper silhouettes. The iconic window dropped its waves and adopted for a straight-up outline. 

Now the square boxes not only echo with the overall design of the user interface of the Windows 8 operating system, but also give Microsoft more freedom to incorporate them in the design of sub-brands, for instance the new Office 2013, establishing an overall consistent brand identity.

 

USA Today: it’s all about the globe
Founded in 1982, USA Today is the second widest circulated newspaper and a multi-platform news and information media company in the US. In early September, USA Today officially launched its brand new logo that was unexpectedly interesting. As most newspapers, USA Today’s old logo, although iconic, could seem old fashioned and “boring”. 

The new logo has simplified the globe icon to the extreme, turning it into a plain single colored dot. A selection of bold colors is used for different versions of the logo, dedicated to different sections of the newspaper. However, as simple as it may look, the new VI is not at all a monotone. According to the press release, “USA TODAY’s logo was redesigned to be as dynamic as the news itself”: editors should use their creativity to enrich the circular space, highlighting the top news of the day.


With the adoption of a simplified logo, diverse colors, and usages, USA Today is re-branding itself into a modernized media platform and attracting younger readers. And of course, this change also applies to its website. The new design is already up and running.

 

eBay: the clean, contemporary marketplace
Also in September, eBay, the Taobao counterpart for the rest of the world, introduced its new refreshed logo. The new logo is more refreshed and consistent with lighter colors and a cleaner typeface. After 17 years, eBay wants to offer “a cleaner, more contemporary and consistent experience”.

eBay introduced this change via its announcement site. However, not many VI touch-points were showed and the logo is not used on the main portal website yet. The go-live date is scheduled in mid-October.

 

Key Takeaways
For brand visual identity, with the right execution, simplification can mean diversification. A simplified logo allows higher versatility in applications. However, brands that make this decision are usually those who already enjoy high brand awareness. Consumers are familiar with these brands. Thus, they chose go conceptual in their logos. On the other hand, new brands often chose to be more literal in their logo selections to increase their relevance. 
In the modern consumer world, a brand’s outfacing touch-points are never the logo alone; it is the overall layout that matters in creating impactful user experience. That being said, how a brand logo concentrates and leads the brand VI in an effective way is the question for every marketer to consider.

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