The Angry Designer
Jan. 12, 2021

2021 Brand & logo design trends that WILL damage your brand

2021 Brand & logo design trends that WILL damage your brand

Without fail, at the start of every new year, we find ourselves drowning in an angry sea of articles about the latest branding trends…the top logo design trends for the year…the design trends for branding that you must embrace this year…and the list goes on…and on…and on. 

But anyone with experience knows that the words “logo” and “brand” should never, ever be found in the same sentence as “trend” (we’ll make an exception for that sentence, obviously!)

A logo and indeed a brand should not be trendy or cool. It should be timeless, ageless, and able to serve you brand for years to come. The purpose of design is to solve a problem – it’s not a trend-led business. If you’re a designer trying to be hip or trendy when you’re working on a business’ brand or logo, you’re actually creating a whole bunch of problems for them further down the road. And that is not cool. 

So, when we see these articles advising brands to embrace the latest trends, it’s safe to say it makes us angry. In fact, the more we read about them, the more furious we become. 

What makes branding, logo & graphic design trends so bad?

Ok, let’s break it down. There are four key reasons why logo design trends are bad for your brand:

  1. They often go against what your brand stands for – remember those things called brand guidelines you’ve probably invested a load of time in?
  2. They undermine the credibility you’ve worked super hard to build for your brand
  3. They can seriously limit your design
  4. They move too flippin’ fast that you literally won’t be able to keep up unless you’re constantly rebranding. And that kind of defeats the object of establishing a brand in the first place. 

But surely it’s ok to follow trends sometimes?

You bet it is! We’re not saying we’re against all design trends. They have their place, but that place is not it the development of branding or logos that need longevity, credibility and recollection. 

If you’re working on things like ad campaigns, social content, digital ads, use those trends, go wild! This type of content is designed to grab attention and then disappear very quickly, it has a relatively short expiration date, so trend-led design isn’t going to age. 

Here are some of the so-called trends we’ve spotted for 2021 

Now we’ve made our position on trend-led branding and logo design incredibly clear, let’s take a look at some of the trends these articles are suggesting we follow this year:

Muted colour palettes  

Do we really want 2021 to be as muted and sober as possible? No thanks! 

Simple data visualisations

This isn’t a trend, it’s a problem-solving design tool. This one can stay. 

Geometric shapes

Perfect for social media, not good for branding and logos…unless, of course, you’re living in the 80s and plan to stay there for the foreseeable. 

Flat icons and illustrations

This is not a trend! We’ve been doing flat icons for YEARS! Have we been ahead of the trends? No, this is a permanent design fixture. It’s more than welcome to stay, but let’s not make it trendy. 

Asymmetric designs

Oh, we’ve heard about this one…in design school…TWENTY YEARS AGO! Both symmetrical and asymmetrical designs serve a purpose, they always have done, and they always will. So how can this possibly be called a trend?

Minimalism 

So good design is now a trend?! 

Motion logos

Adding motion is a great way to add a bit of life and personality to a logo, and it’s not going to hurt a brand. But it’s probably not a trend per se. It’s something that wasn’t possible 5 -10 years ago based on the capabilities of bandwidth, technology, and so on. It’s a new solution that technology has enabled that is used in videos, presentations, even websites. This one can stay. 


One thing’s for sure, annual lists of brand and logo design trends is one trend we’d like to see go! 

Head over to our podcast to hear these two angry designers ranting more about so-called branding trends.