Looking Back: Logos

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As 2009 draws to a close, we take a look back at logos.

Over the last year, we’ve seen a shift in logo design and a movement toward a friendlier look among many major brands.
“Behold the new breed of corporate logo,” wrote Bill Marsh on May 31 in The New York Times. “Nonthreatening, reassuring, playful, even child like. Not emblems of distant behemoths, but faces of friends.”

Noted in the Times article and visible in storefronts and supermarket shelves locally, big-name brands making the shift to the friendlier, more colorful logo include Walmart, Kraft Foods, Stop & Shop and QuickChek. Brands are moving away from bold, block letters and turning to the less formal lowercaseor at the very least, title case. Logos are being infused with happier colors and decorative touches like whimsical bursts and playful designs.

In addition to the logos themselves, more attention has been paid to taglines, adding an additional element of personalization and ensuring the brand message is being delivered as designed. Kraft foods, for example, added “Make today delicious” beneath its logo.

As with most trends in advertising this year, logo redesign was influenced by the unfortunate state of the economy, which in some case has been the impetus behind the logo revamping in the first place, as Marsh pointed out. The trend in the “warm and fuzzy” new logos clearly is intended to combat the doom and gloom of the recession, and even help some companies re-create themselves or repair a damaged image.

“The trend toward a more casual and friendlier approach in logo design is a trend we believe also applies to how we should approach mass media,” says Eva LaMere, Executive Vice President and the reigning “brand queen” here at Austin & Williams. “Agencies are skilled at interrupting consumers with bold, dominating commercial messages. Today, consumers are more in control of their media choices, and agencies need to be skilled at engaging consumers with more thoughtful, highly relevant content that draws them in. It’s not about being outrageous and over the top, but about encouraging participation through meaningful and interactive marketing messages and media outlets.”

What will 2010 bring? Stay tuned to A&W Unplugged to find out!

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