A recent blog post, Your Logo is Not Hardcore, got
Bucharest-based designer Andrei Tache thinking. He shared a
few relevant comments in this guest piece.
Nike VCXC branding by Jon
We’re able to see those X-based logos together because the
Internet connects everything, making it look like the world is one
big box, but to each of us, life still takes its course in a
limited area. Maybe all of those logos do their job for a small
area and stand-out just as they are. Regardless, it’s no longer
possible to have perfectly distinct logos for every business. You
can hardly have that within a specific domain, much less
cross-domain as it’s depicted in the case of Your Logo is Not Hardcore. Just
because there are so many similar-looking logos doesn’t mean
they’re not distinct.
Although this particular design direction looks like a
fashionable decision to make, I’d argue that the form is quite
generic. Maybe just as generic as a square or a circle. The X looks
like the new square, and it feels rather natural for designers to
make more use of a new geometric form. Even looking at the examples
in this collection, you know that it’s a route that leaves room for
innovation. Its versatility creates its own place in graphic
design, representative of our period.
Fashion is a taboo subject for designers but maybe it should be
looked at more closely. Fashion is about mass adoption of a certain
mentality or a certain way of doing things. This means that fashion
is a statement about the times in which we live — a statement that
will be of value in 30 or 50 years from now. Just as we like motifs
from other recent periods, this might grow into a classic of our
The downsides come through two means: one is that if you adopt
ways that are fashionable today, you are already behind the flock.
You’d be better off shaping the next best thing, but not everyone’s
an innovator, and that’s fine. The second problem one might
encounter is using fashionable shapes without having an
understanding about what they mean. This can result in poor design
that lacks coherence and intellectual content. But because the X
stands for so many things, it’s difficult to mishandle.
We design symbols to last, but nothing lasts forever, really.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t try, I’m saying that thinking about
something with a life cycle seems more natural and might offer a
different perspective within the process.
The form of these X-based logos can conjure thoughts of
heraldry. So maybe it’s just an old habit with contemporary ways.
But there’s one small glitch to this…
Similar-looking designs don’t work for us because we glance over
them so quickly that we only grasp the main features. Crests come
from a time where this just wasn’t the case. But maybe, just maybe
we should consider slowing down a bit. It’s clear to us that logos
won’t get more distinctive, so perhaps it’s us. Perhaps we should
slow down and go into more detail, enjoy nicely crafted things,
despite their vague resemblance to tons of other stuff. This calls
for peace, thoughtful analysis, and a slower pace.
But it goes to show that maybe hardcore is not what a good logo
should strive for.
You can view some of Andrei’s work on his website: Fabrica
Related, from the archives: When logos look alike.