Deadly Sin of Logo Design #1 Fixed: Able to be in Solid Black (Or Any Contrasting Color)

A. Michael Shumate

A. Michael Shumate

Fixed: Able to Work in Solid Black

Flat Color Rules
So many companies that had either multicolored logos or logos that required gradients or a halftone screen have realized that there are just too many situations where their identities did not reproduce properly or clearly or without extra expense. From vehicles (where printed vinyl doesn’t last as long) to stationery (which is often printed on smaller presses) to the separate issue of basic clarity.

Many companies have changed their logos to work in one flat color (which means, of course, that they could work in solid black as well).

With many of these examples, issues other than color are also addressed to good effect.

It might seem counter-intuitive to the inexperienced, but a single flat color is inherently clearer than any multicolored variation.

BT traded its multicolored logo and for a rather boring identity instead, but at least this one will be clear and easy to reproduce consistently. 2. DC Comics’ new logo is also simpler, and this one has more mass than BT’s. 3. The old logo looks like it was
designed more by an engineer than a designer. The new one is solid, but the monogram could use some color. 4. By omitting the drop shadow type and the red field, Netflix gained a stronger and larger wordmark. 5. Hootsuite gained clarity and impact by going with a flat color logo and they fixed their signature contrast issue. 6. Taco Bell’s new logo has much better contrast and is easier to recognize. 7. Southwest Airlines got rid of their airplane illustration–which should never have been used as a logo–with a tidy heart logo. They can improve it further by removing the light grey halo around the logo or better yet, just use the heart in one color. 8. MailChimp’s full single-color logo is much easier to see and recognize. 9. The idea of making the logo appear as if it were a chrome hood ornament might have sounded cool but the new solid color logo is much clearer. 10. Axway may have been trying to look like Xerox’s 2008 logo. It didn’t work any better than Xerox’s logo did. Axway’s new logo and single color signature are more solid. 11. Formstack, an online business, sees that a single color logo is more effective. 12. Ford, like Mack, experimented with the chrome look and went back to their flat logo with a slightly dimensional variation when needed. 13. Even simple outlining, which might have been thought to improve contrast is better removed. 14. Yet another online business finds greater clarity in a single color logo and a signature in a single weight.

Adapted from Logo Design Theory: How Branding Design Really Works

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