Logo design is greatly influenced by overall design trends that shift from year to year. This year is certainly no different, and after an especially challenging 2020 around the globe, brands are shifting toward a call for basics and simplicity to make order out of a chaotic world. That can be represented quite literally in logo designs made this year, whether you’re considering refreshing your current logo or you’re making something new altogether.
Here are some of the top logo design and color trends you should keep in mind.
Every logo is composed of several basic elements, all of which are influenced by the design trends around them:
Brand logos are intended to last for several years once they’re made, so designers tend to embrace more timeless elements than tapping into “hot for now” trends. However, it’s only natural — and inevitable — that a logo design is a reflection of the era in which it was created. So when you’re designing a logo for your business, taking design trends into account is simply a part of the process.
Whenever you look at a logo and immediately place it as a relic of the ‘80s or a retro disco throwback, that’s because the design trends of that era played a part in informing how that logo was designed. It may seem hard to imagine this in the here and now, but in 10 years, a logo designed in 2021 will be clearly associated with that era.
You’ll see some emerging themes this year that you can apply to your own designs while using the Namecheap free logo maker:
Keep reading to learn more about 2021’s logo trends:
The trend away from complicated, elaborate, and intricate logo design has been in motion for several years. The chaos caused by COVID-19 in 2020 has further enforced that direction, as designers note the desire to create order out of the last year and channel that energy into branding decisions. This is no surprise, as logo design trends often draw inspiration from the world’s pace and rhythm.
The difficulties of 2021 left many wishing for simpler, easier times, from indulging in old TV shows to reliving childhood memories. Logo creators took note and have embodied that approach in 2021, turning back the clock and favoring throwback elements over more contemporary designs. The nostalgia category includes both a retro feel and a vintage vibe, giving you many “old is new again” options to choose from while staying wholly on-trend.
Social media is playing a larger role than ever in pushing trends in logo design, shapes, and colors. One trend identified and amplified this year is the shift to bold colors. The influencer world has embraced the neon trend with open arms, while Pinterest is reporting increased searches for these bright pops of pink, green, and yellow, particularly among Gen Z.
Not only are bright colors right on trend for logo design (you don’t necessarily need to use neon), they also serve a practical purpose: increasing visibility for brands online. As the digital marketplace for products and services gets even more crowded, embracing a pop of bright color in your logo can help you remain memorable in a busy world.
Curious about other color trends for 2021? You’ll find four more toward the end of this guide.
Take a look at the “T” icon to the left of the new Thesaurus.com logo, and the “D” icon to the left of the new Dictionary.com logo (yes, these websites are owned by the same company, so the visual similarity is likely not a coincidence). You’ll see a door opening to a world of possibilities inside each letter. Or, depending on who you ask, you may see a book. Both are right and profoundly meaningful to the brand, which is precisely what makes this 2021 logo trend so great.
While the use of geometric shapes is a tried-and-true element of logo design, the overall shift toward simplicity this year has put a greater emphasis on this staple. Uncomplicated circles, squares, triangles, curves will take precedence over more complicated iterations. Don’t be surprised if some big brands take the time this year to swap their shapes for something much more basic, much like how MasterCard removed the lines from its overlapping circles in 2016.
Negative space is when a designer uses the white area in between elements of a logo in a clever way. The most well-known example of this is the arrow hidden within the FedEx logo, and although FedEx didn’t rebrand in 2021, great use of negative space is making a comeback this year. Closely related to optical illusions, negative space creates additional symbolism you can harness to further drive home your brand’s mission and vision.
A logo that’s just a brand name is as straightforward as it gets. This year’s trends are taking these simple name-based logos in a new direction. Designers are playing around with how to take this style and elevate it to new heights, so it looks like a logo without adding shapes or other treatments.
Some common creative lettering trends you’ll see in 2021 include:
Just like geometric shapes, symmetry is another building block of sound logo design that’s been brought back to the forefront in 2021. Symmetrical logos represent stability and strength, values that stand the test of time and can withstand any storm. The symmetry also lends itself to more elaborate line designs if you so choose, as the perfect balance on both sides helps make this imagery easier to see and remember.
Long gone are the days where your logo only appeared on signage, your business card, or letterhead. Now, logos crop up in all kinds of places, including websites and social media. Your logo may not be a perfect fit in every instance, but in 2021, logo design is trying to take as many applications into account. For example, a part of your logo needs to fit as a favicon, a tiny icon (we’re talking 48px square max) that appears in your website’s browser tab. Logo design trends in 2021 are taking more of these use cases into account, creating a logo that can be scaled up or pared down to best fit the digital application in question.
Now this is fascinating. In an increasingly digital world, some brands are turning to animations to transform a typically static image into a .gif just right for social media, video, and website use. Keep in mind, though, that an animated logo must have a static alternative: Not every platform or use case can utilize an animated logo, and you need to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward in those circumstances, too.
Neon was mentioned earlier in this blog as one of the colors to watch out for in 2021. However, not everyone is ready to embrace such a bold color as part of their logo design. Thankfully, several other color palettes are making waves in 2021. Here are some combinations you can try out as you create your logo or design your cards with Namecheap’s Business Card Maker:
It wouldn’t be a color trend guide without mentioning Pantone’s Color of the Year. Taking cues from the desire for bright color, Pantone selected “Ultimate Gray” neutral and “Illuminating” yellow for 2021. Describing the combination as “a message of happiness supported by fortitude,” Pantone tapped into a collective search for hope after a difficult global year to inform their color choices. By virtue of being named Pantone’s Color of the Year, you can explore how to embrace these two shades in your logo design.
Less about a shade and more about a treatment, color gradients are when different shades blend seamlessly into one another. You’ve likely already seen this at work on popular apps like Instagram, as the trend has been around for a long time. However, this year has only reinforced that this color trend is here to stay.
Analogous colors are a set of three colors -- standard in design -- that are closely located to one another on the color wheel. These colors are closely related visually and are often part of a similar family, creating a calming and homogenous look that’s aesthetically pleasing. Plus, analogous colors lend themselves naturally to gradients. You may see analogous color schemes as part of a logo’s brand mark or in a shape that’s part of your logo.
The move to “grounding” natural elements is related to the return to basics discussed in this guide. These warm tones evoke resilience and strength — qualities that are directly tied to logo design essentials and principles. Tans, browns, and greens are some of the main colors you’ll find when exploring color trends in this family.
Even in a year that’s embracing neon, black and white are still just as trendy. This color combo is certainly a classic, and it’s always been necessary for your brand, as a black and white version of your logo may be required for applications like printing your logo on company giveaways. In 2021, though, some brands are considering leaving color behind altogether for this unmistakably crisp and clear aesthetic. Expect to see more black and white logos pop up not as a matter of practicality, but as the main design used across all print and digital applications.
With Namecheap’s free Logo Maker, you can try 2021’s logo trends for yourself to find the combination that works for you.
Our easy-to-use Logo Maker lets you choose your shapes, colors, and typeface to create a unique mark that best represents your brand’s mission and values. The Logo Maker’s vast library of icons offers plenty of options to select the ready-made symbol that best represents your business, no design degree required. Export the logo as a .png file when done to upload it to your website, social media, and other digital applications. Best of all, Logo Maker integrates directly with other Namecheap tools so you can quickly and easily add your logo to business cards and websites as well.
Whether you opt for pops of neon or black and white, make a play for creative use of negative space, or simply want to pick a memorable typeface, Namecheap’s Logo Maker makes it happen. Get started today by creating your free account!