On the move: designing logos with animation in mind

Brand Identity, Brand Strategy, Graphic Design

August 16, 2023

Whilst predicting or pinpointing trends in logo design is not an exact science, there have been some definite high-profile brands in recent times that suggest many are now eschewing complex, 3-dimensional logos for more simplistic 2-dimensional and minimalist marques. There have been some notable examples in the car industry in recent times – Kia, Nissan and Volvo have gone minimal and 2D, meanwhile the three French giants Renault, Citröen and Peugeot have all gone ‘retro’ with simplistic marques influenced by their past. There has been a seemingly wholesale move towards no-frills, sans-serif logos among luxury fashion brands in the past few years (The simplification of luxury fashion brands – article). 

Why is this? There will always be an element of logo design following trends for the sake of doing what others are doing. But there are two definite advantages for brands having a simplified logo. Firstly, they need to reproduce digitally at small sizes, and overly complex logos will simply not cut it on LinkedIn, Instagram and X. Secondly, and maybe more importantly, there are more environments than ever that allow for a moving image, and a logo that is designed with movement in mind is surely at an advantage.

This idea of logos designed with animation in mind is epitomized by the recent Natural History Museum rebrand by the agencies Pentagram and Nomad – Natural History rebrand – website article. Personally, I am intrigued by the logo in its static form but not totally sold on it. However, when it is animated it really comes to life and interacts with imagery in really engaging ways. Maybe this is the trade-off with logos now – do we need to be overly concerned about how much a logo appeals in static form on signage and merchandising etc, when it can really come alive in animated form on the numerous everyday spaces where we expect to see a moving image? And the simpler the logo, the easier it is to animate.

In recent years, I think we at brandformula have been pretty proactive in creating brand identities with animation in mind, as the examples above and below illustrate. That’s not to say that we create logos that are safe (as per the Intertrust Group logo), but we do think at the outset, ‘does this logo look good in its own right?’ and ‘does it have the potential to really step up to another level with animation?’ and bring the brand to life on the website, presentations, advertising etc. 

Find out more about our track record of delivering proven brand identities.