Boldist - Clean and Retro is the New Black

Clean and Retro Is the New Black

Logo Design as a Reflection of Contemporary Culture

Everyone knows it: retro is “in” these days. That shouldn’t surprise you. One of the defining aspects of American culture since the mid-to-late 2000’s has been our obsession with faded and outdated styles of fashion. We see it in the way people dress, of course, but now, more than ever, we see it in the way companies sell themselves to the public. We see it in logo design.

The way contemporary culture and, now, design industry trends move forward is by looking back. At one point, donning a retro fashion sensibility–in dress or in logo design–made you a “hipster.” But the rise of retro sensibility into mainstream culture has convinced many companies to adopt the clean and retro look that seems to catch our culture’s eye most. Brands both old and new are choosing emblems and badges with more fade than flash to depict their brand identity.


[these logos are not actually in affect, but maybe they should be!]

For Those of You Who Ask Why

One reason for the rise of clean and retro logo design might be that emblems and badges easily turn into avatars and icons, which some industry professionals believe are replacing logos as the kings of visual identity. Another reason might have to do with the minimalistic kick that’s dominated logo design trends since loud and busy designs went out the cultural window with baggy jeans and “bling-bling.” But either way, the fact is that our culture’s current preference for logo design–and art and fashion too–is based on a value for straight lines and muted colors. And when our culture gets used to looking at things a certain way for a certain amount of time, it becomes very difficult for people to process information that isn’t presented in the “normal” way.

Our Take on the Clean and Retro Logo Design Trend

We are sure that in some time–it could be 1, 2, 5, 10, or 20 years, who knows–our culture’s fashion preferences and information processes will change once again. Trends always repeat and improve on themselves. Maybe by 2020, we’ll be looking at great logo designs that are bright, big, and squiggly. But until then, if brand identities want to stay relevant, they must to adapt to the current fashions of the time. That doesn’t mean throwing away originality and going with a typical retro-style logo design. It means finding a way individualize and separate yourself within the confines of our culture’s current boxes. Logo design is not, and should not be a static venture. Logo design must evolve with the company and the tides of the culture it serves. Good logo designers have their fingers on the pulse of the creative zeitgeist. Don’t be left behind.