Updated: Mar 3, 2021
Visual trends that are making an impact for 2021.
It’s two thousand twenty one. A whole new year with new trends. In this article I’m going to give a brief rundown on the visual trends I see taking off this year!
At the end of 2020 we saw some large brands move toward a simpler look while implementing retro feeling typography and colors. There were some hits and some misses on all fronts but these simpler logos are a nice switch. I also see a lot of large-bodied typefaces coming into play and a resurgence of color (thank goodness!) as muted palettes and blush tones take a back seat.
The one brand that embodies all of these features is Burger King. They’ve simplified their logo, switched to some deliciously round fonts, and implemented some bold colors that have a softer tone.
Simple Logos Go Even Simpler
KIA Mimics Momentum
KIA’s previous logo, while clean and simple, lacked any type of originality barring the miniscule serif extensions at the top of each letter. This new logo has a lot more character and a much faster and futuristic appearance. I would agree with critics and mention that it does struggle with legibility, but at least it makes an attempt at originality. The angled cuts on the “K” and the “A” keep the visual momentum moving forward yet it still retains the elliptical feel of the old logo.
Freshly Fails at Friendly
This new iteration of Freshly absolutely bombs. The old logo had original typographic elements that made it feel friendly and organic. It’s long, flowing characters gave the appearance of vining peas or beans and it felt fresh and handmade, like the food they’re trying to sell!
The new logo looks so corporatized that it alienates you just by looking at it. It’s not fresh nor is it friendly. It’s overly masculine, overshadowing the implications of nature as a “mother” and the new icon is barely reminiscent of the letter “F”. Going this simple should be avoided in 2021.
Not a whole lot changes with the new iteration of the Pringles logo. In fact, they’d be crazy to change much. But the font remains, the colors stay, but the “chip face” receives an update. This minor change makes a big impact visually and will likely make implementation of the logo much easier all around. Simply removing the gradient in the mustache and the outlines of the chip are enough to imply the famous mascot is still at the top of the stack...see what I did there?...
A Move Toward Luscious Fonts
I love where this trend is going! While like a simple clean sans serif as much as the next designer, it’s great to see some body come back into use. You’ve likely noticed that the more simplified logos became, the more similar typography became. We began to see generic sans serif fonts where they have no business being - note Freshly above. The problem here is that everyone now looks the same!
Take a look at this redesign for Vrbo in 2019. This custom lettering is just delicious and has tons of visual impact, where before it was entirely nondescript. It's also making creative use of gradients, but I'll talk about that more in the next section.
Another typographical facet making a resurgence: clipped characters. This creative way of snipping the ascenders or descenders within a set of letters can take an unoriginal set of letters and turn it into something unique. See this logo for Craftbank and its use of clipped characters.
Bold Colors Beat Out Blushes
I’m ready for people to grasp onto more color. Hopefully this year we’ll see bright, bold colors make a comeback. We’ll start trending away from overused pastels and blush tones and see some vibrant gradients take center stage.
You’ve likely seen the implementation of some bold gradients across the Facebook universe and we’ll start seeing more of it seep into other brands as well. Take a look at the latest update to Avon. They’ve embraced the gradient and a heavier-bodied font, along with the clipped characters that I mentioned earlier.
I’m looking forward to seeing smaller brands drop the templated blush, white, and tan color schemes. Or at least toss some more original colors into the mix. You can achieve a clean and relaxing look by using a bold color choice and surrounding it by neutrals. The blush color palette featured in most Instagram themes and purchased templates is starting to become overused and doesn’t help express your personality.
Looking for more brand building inspiration? Check out this article about the five unfailing features that make a great logo.