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Logo design trends vary by generation and by industry, and it's no small wonder that the most talented graphic designers are able to conjure unique brand imagery out of a sea of hundreds of thousands of designs that are drawn from the same basic shapes. Today's logos are even more diverse than ever before as companies struggle to promote the differences between them and the competition. And with more and more businesses springing up every day coupled with the incredible access to creative processes available through the Internet, logo design today remains one of the hottest topics online. If you're charged with inventing, or reinventing, a brand image, take note from the following five contemporary logo design tips, based on five major logo redesigns in 2010.
1. Draw sleek lines
When MSN set out to redesign its logo, the company dropped the fat letters that were popular a few years ago in favor of a sleek, streamlined font. It also dropped the butterfly body and rounded out and enlarged the wings to lend more emphasis to the brand image. The result is a simple, elegant logo easy recognized at a glance – and by downsizing the letters and enlarging the wings, the company is already positioning itself for a future image that drops the letters altogether and relies on wing recognition.
2. Pay attention to detail
Ford's new Mustang logo design might not look all that different from the 2009 version, but take a closer look and you'll see that the designers paid extraordinary attention to detail – especially for a logo design. By adding underbelly shading, pinning the ears back, sharpening the mane and indenting the horse's eye Ford's designers were able to make the mustang look more powerful, even mean.
3. Redefine MTV is so-named for Music Television, but the cable network has strayed from its roots in the past decade and now offers a mix of reality and scripted shows rather than music videos. Thus, for the first time ever the MTV logo has been deployed without the tagline “Music Television” under it. This helps redefine the brand and positions it to move toward future profits.
4. Say it without words
The job of every logo is to define a company without words, but contemporary designs such as Chrysler's new logo have taken that concept to the next level. The new look is nothing like the old pentagon star, although inverted it would be somewhat reminiscent to the star's horizontal “arms.” Instead, it looks like a soaring bird, proud and strong, and in today's eagle-mascoted America these values are integral to success in the automotive industry. Never say brand image isn't a competitive marketing point.
5. Add a touch of class
The new “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” logo practically reverses modern trends by ditching a contemporary font in favor of a more elegant, subdued version. The layout has less pizazz but more class, probably in response to a controversial switcheroo that turned the NBC network on its head, and the moon topping the letter “i” mimics Leno's trademark class-act smirk.