With advertising channels ever evolving, changing size, shape and interaction methods – it’s no longer a case of one size fits all when thinking about logo design.

Whether it’s a responsive site on smartphone or a 48-sheet advert at the side of a busy road, sometimes the ‘full’ logo design is not suited to every format – and simply shrinking it loses impact. 

Less is more.

We are getting used to seeing brands using their logo in multiple formats and when recognition is earned through positive brand relationships and global visibility, some companies don’t even need to display their name in order to be recognised. 

Dunkin’ Donuts unveiled its new branding at the start of the year, dropping ‘donuts’ from its name after being in business since 1950, stating that “Dunkin’ Donuts has been on a first-name basis with its fans long before the introduction of its iconic tagline America Runs on Dunkin’, with customers around the world naturally and affectionately referring to the brand as Dunkin’.” 

Dunkin' Donuts rebranded coffee cups

Its new branding officially recognises its name as simply Dunkin’ and the new logo references the faster and more convenient nature the business is heading. It was able to be shortened even further on coffee cups – DNKN – allowing for a flexible, recognisable, responsive logo that has the same impact and ultimately, look and feel, of the ‘full’ logo.



Big brands

While brands are realising and utilising the need for responsive logo design, some are taking it one step further and removing their name from the logo entirely.

Not needing to present your name is the ultimate ‘don’t you know who I am?’. Many companies display their brand in this fashion already, with the likes of Apple, Nike and Shell using iconography. Each has different reasons for doing so. Apple and Shell literally show what they are called, so why say it twice and lose impact? Nike’s confidence in its brand also comes through in its messaging and advertising. 

A Nike shop lit up at night with a 3D wood logo in the window

Smoke and mirrors.

From the late 1960s to mid 2000s tobacco advertising in motorsport was rife, with multiple teams having a title sponsorship deal with some of the biggest cigarette brands in the world. I’ve always had an interest in liveries and spent a lot of my childhood drawing F1 and rally cars. This meant I was as aware of Marlboro and State Express 555 at a young age as I was Pokemon.

Due to the legalities of having tobacco-branded liveries, teams came up with interesting ways to mask brand names and logos. In Formula One, Ferrari replaced Marlboro with a barcode graphic for a number of years. This was later removed as it was found to be subliminal advertising – when viewing the car at speed, the barcode blurred together so it mildly resembled a Marlboro logo.

The Jordan F1 team had multiple guises for Benson & Hedges. Bitten & Hisses in 1997 when their mascot was a snake; Buzzin Hornets from 1998–2000 while the mascot was an unnamed hornet; Bitten Heroes in 2001 when the mascot was a shark; and 2002–2005 saw them simply delete characters from the Benson & Hedges logo so it read ‘Be on edge’.

These cover-ups still had strong brand recognition, even though the names had been altered or removed completely – demonstrating the lessening need for words and how imagery, colours and layout sticks in the mind.

Getting comfortable.

Consumers are constantly getting more comfortable displaying emotions without words. The use of gifs and emojis in everyday conversation is now the norm on platforms such as WhatsApp.

People are able to have exchanges of communication that do not include a single word. We use Slack as our internal instant messaging platform at Sponge and you’re never far from a classic Giphy gif reply – and we’re not ashamed of it either!

It’s interesting to see where brands will go in the future, with technology enabling human interactions to be easier, quicker and more visual. What will the designs of the future look like and how will companies get their values across when the world is moving at such a quick pace? 

The trajectory is already set towards more flexible and adaptable identities – with brands capitalising on high levels of consumer recognition as an enabler to become more visual, playful and experimental. Fixed structure and rigidity is being washed away by a fluid, exciting and more malleable approach to brand identity.

Find out how we can develop and future-proof your brand by getting in touch – we’d love to hear from you: email hello@creativesponge.co.uk; call 01603 622766; or use the chat icon in the bottom right-hand of the screen.

Jeff Goldblum as Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park scene