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A New Car UI: How touch screen controls in cars should work

by Matthaeus Krenn

The Problem

Several automotive companies have begun replacing traditional controls in their cars with touch screens. Unfortunately, their eagerness to set new trends in hardware, is not matched by their ambition to create innovative software experiences for these new input mechanisms. Instead of embracing new constraints and opportunities, they merely replicate old button layouts and shapes on these new, flat, glowing surfaces. So even controls for air condition and infotainment - which are commonly used while driving - now lack any tactile feedback and require the driver’s dexterity and attention when operated. Considering that distracted driving is the number one cause for car accidents, this is not a step in the right direction.

The Proposal

I propose a new mode that can be invoked at any time: It clears the entire screen of those tiny, intangible control elements and makes way for big, forgiving gestures that can be performed anywhere. In place of the lost tactile feedback, the interface leverages the driver’s muscle memory to ensure their ability to control crucial features without taking their eyes off the road.

Music Soundtrack by “A New Day Begins” by Joan Tay (https://soundcloud.com/pinkunousagi/i…)

See More Details @ http://matthaeuskrenn.com/new-car-ui

Try the prototype on your iPad Tablet: http://matthaeuskrenn.com/new-car-ui/… 

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.
Buddha

Design is One : The Film || Linear Genius, Bold and Transformative

“Every time we take the subway in New York, we’re in Vignelli-land,” says Paola Antonelli, senior curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art, in the new documentary “Design Is One.” Ms. Antonelli is referring to the Italian couple Lella and Massimo Vignelli, whose firm designed many graphic elements for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Mr. Vignelli created a 1972 subway map that the designer Milton Glaser refers to in the film as a conceptual breakthrough.

The couple came to the United States in 1957, after Mr. Vignelli received a fellowship from Towle Silversmiths to design knives, forks and spoons. But, he says in the film, “I would have come with a Sanitation Department fellowship — anything to come here.” American designers like Saul Bass and Charles and Ray Eames were his inspirations. Like them, he wanted to work in diverse fields with a unifying aesthetic.

This smart documentary is occasionally clunky technically, but the directors, Roberto Guerra and Kathy Brew, include perceptive visual details: Lella’s laugh lines and Massimo’s hands, for instance. The information-rich film is enlivened by the charm of the intelligent, eccentric couple at its heart.

“It makes me so happy to know that I’ll be here forever,” Mr. Vignelli says of St. Peter’s Church in Manhattan, another of the couple’s design projects. “The typeface for the church is Optimum,” he says. “In deference to the standards, my tomb will be in Optimum.” He relates that with twinkling eyes and a grin, for he is famous for his use ofHelvetica.

Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless, like water.
Bruce Lee - In design like in martial arts, we need to adjust our thinking to the context in which we are in to solve the problem at hand.  (via gregmelander)

Apple - Mac 30 - Thirty years of innovation

Thirty years ago, the Mac put the power of technology in everyone’s hands, launching a generation of innovators who continue to change the world. This video celebrates some of those pioneers and the incredible impact they’ve made.

http://www.apple.com/30-years/

The greatest feeling in the world is when something has been created that no one has ever seen before. And you’re the one who is seeing it for the first time.
Pablo Ferro || AIGA Medalist Profile

Nicholas Felton — The Feltron Report

Infographic guru Nicholas Felton sets the pace for today’s data-based visual narratives through his ultra-detailed Personal Annual Reports and a substantial contribution to the Facebook timeline redesign. In the recent Gestalten workshop, participants were able to pick his brain and explore the fundamental methods of data gathering along with visual storytelling techniques. Here with Gestalten.tv, Felton shares his wisdom on data visualization, articulates the history and catalyst effect of his “Feltron” reports, and of course, reveals the appeal of working at Facebook.

Date: Mon, 07/15/2013 - 18:32 / Category: Graphic Design, Gestalten.tv

Gestalten Workshop with Nicholas Felton
Upcoming Workshops

Design Matters With Debbie Millman: Hartmut Esslinger

Hartmut Esslinger is the founder of frog design, inc., a leading global innovation firm, and one of the most respected designers and business consultants in the world. Esslinger sparked a design revolution when he founded frog design in his native Germany around the guiding principle “form follows emotion.” His work has defined the modern consumer aesthetic with such revolutionary products as the Apple Macintosh computer, Sony’s Trinitron television, Lufthansa’s brand and fleet image, Disney’s Cruise Lines and Consumer Electronics, and Louis Vuitton’s brand aesthetic. His designs are in the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum in New York. He is also Founding Professor of the Hochschule fur Gestaltung in Karlsruhe, Germany and Professor for Convergent Design at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, Austria. He is the author of Design Forward: Creative Strategies for Sustainable Change.

Projection Mapping on Moving Surfaces

"Box" explores the synthesis of real and digital space through projection-mapping on moving surfaces. The short film documents a live performance, captured entirely in camera. Bot & Dolly produced this work to serve as both an artistic statement and technical demonstration. It is the culmination of multiple technologies, including large scale robotics, projection mapping, and software engineering. We believe this methodology has tremendous potential to radically transform theatrical presentations, and define new genres of expression.

http://www.botndolly.com/

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Arthur C. Clarke 

TELLING YOUR STORIES WITH VIDEO

Designed by IDEO: The Spark Camera app makes it simple and fun to shoot, edit, and share videos with an iPhone. Fast uploading. Easy access to filters. The ability to add your own soundtrack. 

The software, developed in-house by IDEO’s Toy Lab with support from the Digital Shop, is the first app we’ve built purposely for adults. It complements our children’s portfolio, which includes iOS smartphone and tablet apps like our award-winning Balloonimals and Elmo’s Monster Maker for Sesame Street.

SPARK INSPIRES THE MAKERS IN ALL OF US.

—Michelle Lee, IDEO

THE CHALLENGE
IDEO says: Creativity isn’t limited to professional designers: we believe that everyone possesses a maker instinct. We all have the desire to create original content—particularly if it relates to our own lives. Sharing personal material with others helps to strengthen our bonds. To that end, our goal with Spark Camera was to develop an iPhone app that would make it fun and easy to create high-quality, high-impact, sharable videos.

THE BUILD
Throughout the development process, we took our inspiration from iPhone users. Our observations of their habits and preferences led to several key insights, which we addressed in Spark Camera’s final design.

  • Any good movie consists of multiple scenes. Spark Camera isn’t about creating one long video; the app enables users to string together numerous scenes (up to 30 seconds of 1280 x 720p video, twice the resolution of Instagram) shot sequentially or recorded over time. Users may have unlimited “home movies” in progress at once—and upload as many videos as they’d like.
  • Music makes stories sing. Movies use soundtracks and atmospherics to convey emotion. To help the storyteller add this personal element, Spark Camera provides the ability to add music and filters to videos.
  • In today’s highly public world, people crave privacy. People want to be assured that their videos won’t be shared beyond their own personal networks. Spark Camera keeps sharing intimate, letting users send videos to friends via email; their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts; or using Apple’s iMessage or AirDrop.

THE BIG PICTURE
To ensure that technology didn’t get in the way of making great movies, IDEO considered every detail. This included everything from capturing high-defintion video to fast uploading. The team worked to make the app’s features and functions as simple and intuitive as possible. The final product bears a clean, friction-free interface that helps users focus on what’s important: telling their stories.

Share your spark with others. Download the app here.

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change
Charles Darwin
2013 Trend Report

Current Logo Trends
By Bill Gardner @Logo Lounge 

+++
Forecasting the near future in design is a reflection of society’s concerns. With such rapid shifts in technology and social media, consumers react to a fear of being left behind. At one time, keeping up with trends meant reading a monthly journal. Now, not only do we have to read daily blogs, but we are expected to contribute as well. Consumers who are not participating are growing ever more anxious about the specter of being technically eclipsed.
+++
This chasm is revealed in the decisions made daily by brand designers. More and more identity design is trying to find a way to span the gap or choose a side. This carries forward to products and services that we build affinities with. Sports teams find themselves inventing updated generations of mascots. Long standing consumables are reinventing themselves with new packaging and product design.
Digital products and their user interfaces—UI—have become major drivers in the identity field. Consumers are predisposed to transfer confidence from one app or product to another if the experiences share a visual vernacular. Flat solid color is edging forward with momentum over images that mimic three-dimensional surfaces like glass, leather, or metal, for example. Simulating surfaces like these in an environment out of context is referred to as skeuomorphism. Though it is losing its grip, it is not going away: Clichés work because they are clichés.
Smaller companies are not afraid to adopt a logo that shows them at the size they are. More approachable is a good thing, if it is authentic. Larger companies are tending to loosen up a bit to avoid pretensions and work multiple generations. Ebay, USA Today, Windows and many more over the last year have adopted wordmarks and logos that eschew styles with shorter expiration dates.
Increasingly, consumers have become comfortable in their role as contributors and not just spectators. There is a universal desire to identify even the most niche elements. The ubiquitous profile pictures on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter have turned into an opportunity to identify one’s self. Personal logos and monograms have reached epidemic proportions. Avatars allow us to self-edit and reinvent ourselves visually. This has become the micro-world of self-identification.
Designers are experimenting and making smart decisions for smart clients. Those satellite areas of exploration that haven’t bloomed into trends yet will either be tremendously successful or tragic failures. (Look to next year’s trend report for the results.) In the meantime, there are always those unexplained clusters of visual flotsam that must be mentioned in the “quit it” column: There are too many octopuses, snakes, elephants, peacocks, kangaroos, weathervanes, wheat stalks or heads, and anchors to count.
Now we come to the comments that are a mandatory opening to each year’s Trend Report—but they are worth repeating. At this writing, we have just over 204,000 logos on the LogoLounge site, submitted from designers in more than 100 countries worldwide. For this report, we examined more than 20,000 marks.
When you cull through and organize this many logos, trends are observed. The intention of this report is to share with you what we see, not make suggestions for what you should do. It is always easier to navigate to the future if you know where you have been. Seeing your trajectory allows you to predict where you will end up.
It’s been suggested this might better be called an “Evolution Report,” because it is actually a report on the evolution of our industry. Design is an evolving process. It’s our hopes that you will use these observations, together with your own wit and perception, to advance the field of logo design to the next level of brilliance.
This year we present you with the fifteen leading logo trends.
Here

The iconic map pin has given way to the ubiquitous digital version of itself. A generation that has no use for an analog map also has no use for a tray full of stickpins with multicolored heads. Society navigates with GPS, and it marks its destinations with an iconic inverted drop shape that nods an homage to its predecessor. This icon has arguably entered the visual vocabulary of iconography as fast as any in recent memory.
Need to let someone know they have arrived? Drop a marker. The equity in this symbol is prepped for application and replaces the hackneyed iterations of an arrow, or an X, or a simple dot, to indicate that you have arrived. In logo design, place often is an important part of a story, and this malleable symbol is finding itself merged and modified to convey an even deeper message. It’s not every day that designers are presented with a virgin icon fresh for appropriation but here it is.
Crossed

It’s been less than a handful of years since designers went on a binge with circles containing crossed anything, from arrows to lines to sticks. The standard solution usually involved a graphic being placed in each of the four quadrants formed by these items—a client’s initials, a foundation date, a name, a crown, a simple icon or symbol of some kind. The first few had a nice feel to them, but the proliferation of this kind of mark turned most of them into the punch line of their own joke.
The dust has cleared, and the frenetic pace of this design’s creation has slowed to a trickle. Better yet, it has shifted to another variant that is not nearly as packed with information as the previous models. These crossed components have a greater variety that often favors cooking utensils, tools, sporting equipment and the like. The X formed by these elements signifies a level of heritage normally associated with a pair of crossed swords. It’s a technique that lifts the regal nature of the client it represents and implies a certain sophistication even if it’s a pair of crossed plungers.
Wave

Subtlety plays an important role in this group, and it may well take a second look to see the connections. Generally these marks have a volume to them, but you can assume the substance is in flux. Imagine the simple motion of swirling wine in a glass and watching it stir from side to side in a settling fashion. It is a sign of movement but not in a rushed or torrid fashion. Rather, it is gentle and certainly under control.
Given time, these marks look as if they should come to rest, but the viewer’s better judgment suggests that the rolling nature of these icons is ongoing, like the tides. Such a simple visual gesture that’s pure in geometry and can express a complex rocking nature is refreshing. These appear to have a liquid quality to them, but as a logo design, it demonstrates an entity’s ability to contain a volatile substance and control the results.
Molecules

Think exacting and with specific purpose. Unlike cooking food, being off in a molecular recipe by one or two elements can kill you. This group of identities conveys concepts using a visual language that connotes an appreciation of precision—everything in its place and a place for everything. Though these identities may not represent a research lab or petrochemical endeavor, they do express the understanding on the client’s part for methodology.
The very geometric nature of these marks lets the consumer know that process is critical to success. There are no elements left to chance, and with perfection comes results. The circles connected by lines can represent the aspects of a large business that works together in harmony, or many coming together to create a greater whole. Variations in color demonstrate diversity or a seamless blending of disparate elements. This is how subjective designers present objective solutions to clients that demand a proof of outcome.
Nature Marks

Long before DNA, we knew that nature’s manifestation of individualism existed everywhere. A thumbprint certainly spoke to the uniqueness of a human being, but the rings of a tree or the mapped topography of the land were equally effective marks of singularity. These patterns are immediately recognized for what they are even though each holds a clue to the originality of the entity.
Combining these thumbprints of nature as a surface treatment on a mark is seen as a way to address the unique and peculiar aspects of a client. Or it may be a way of indicating that every client or product or relationship is respected as individual. These prints are also the universal leveler as everyone has one regardless of our station in life. The print of every individual, regardless of wealth, religion, race, education, sex, or any other divisor, looks pretty much the same, but at the same time, each is unique—an imprimatur from Mother Nature.
Membrane

Pattern is no stranger to the world of logo design. Some of the most effective identities rely heavily on pattern to tell a story. More often than not the pattern is geometric in origin and displays a regular symmetry crafted from dots or squares or line work. The logos in this group are starting to use an irregular pattern that appears to be much more organic in nature. There is a consistency of positive and negative space to the arrangement, but it was formed from similar yet unique components.
Imagine the pattern created by camouflage, the epitome of regularity formed from irregularity. Or picture an arrangement of stones that are all of the same approximate size, but each is individual in form. The name for this category was adopted as a reference to the microscopic appearance of a cellular membrane that is constructed from similar units, connected in a random sequence, that creates a consistent surface. These marks demonstrate order and harmony drawn from dissonance and an appreciation of the beauty of differences brought together for a common good.
Formula

This, and this, and this, when brought together equals something much greater. Why not show those ingredients? Instead of showing s’mores, let’s break it down and show graham crackers and chocolate and marshmallows. The idea of stepping back from the finished product and showing the equation or the components responsible for getting you to the solution is what this group is about. The elements in the equation may be dramatically different but the combination tells the consumer a story and requires their participation to assemble a final conclusion.
These logos appear in a variety of styles, and whether the formula is displayed vertically or horizontally, there is usually a sequence to be followed for the result. Another connotation derived from this category is simplicity, as if there is someone telling the consumer, “It’s not that hard to understand.” Breaking a process into steps or showing its transparency is a good method of engaging the consumer with an educational message that coincidentally is also used to identify.
Bracketing

As different as these marks appear, a square in a negative white space is the connecting tissue. Generally, two elements of equal construction are pushed together to create a square- or diamond-shaped center which becomes the unwitting centerpiece of the logo. It’s a bit like two brackets that are uniquely designed and certainly have a message, but it’s never as much about the device as what is between them.
Here, two pieces make a whole and create something greater in the central area. Remove one of the pieces and there is no story, but squeezed together, they envelop one of the greatest of all products, potential. It is the light that is captured between. It is the known or unknown. It is the elusive result that only this firm can define and manifest. The beauty of showing potential is that the consumer is able to dream and fill in the blank with the answer that best serves his objective.
Eyelet

Imagine a world where you are not allowed to make any hard right turns, and you pretty much have the concept that leads to this genre of marks. Typically, these are built with a continuous motion monoline weight that may or may not be capped with a feature, or it may terminate into itself. Crossovers are certainly common, with a visual line break to convey dimension and continuity. There are many variants, but the use of a loop is how you navigate a hard right angle.
There is a pleasure in tracing the line with your eyes as it takes us on a bit of a journey. It demonstrates a sense of flow and flexibility and creates a solution that literally has an unexpected twist to it. Were you given enough rope, you could no doubt design your logo with it. These marks are approachable, friendly, and demonstrate a methodology by tracing a path from beginning to end.
Slash

The ubiquitous slash comes of age and has found a home in the realm of identity design. But what does it mean? The forward slash has tremendous flexibility and, aside from being a separator in networking or URL addresses, it is most commonly a symbol representing “or” in between two options. It also is at home as a divider between initials such as b/w for black and white, or as a divider in a fraction, or even as the mark for a spare at your local bowling lane.
In identity design, it is a clean visual substitute that allows us to connect or build separation between concepts or entities. The mark appears equally comfortable in a typographic solution or maybe used with a bit more wit between icons/visual elements or both. The acceptance of the slash is reminiscent of the avalanche of solutions using the @ symbol a number of years ago. Because of the almost invisible nature of the slash, it has much more utility and probably will be viewed much more like an ampersand or another letter in our alpha-arsenal.
Written

As this trend developed this year, it started as a recognition of the abundance of logos incorporating handwriting. There were some A-plus examples of cursive, for sure, but no additional theme was evident. The more I scrutinized the category, the more obvious the use of this script became as it appeared in a supporting shape to complete the message. Most of these looked as if a blackboard had been created in the shape of a “fill in the blank” for whatever the topic was.
Folks have been building type into shapes for years, and though that is   a modest part of this trend, the overarching majority of these look like a barista at Starbucks has been busy designing logos when not filling out the menu boards at the store. This is an engaging way to tell a story, at a distance from a shape silhouette, and up close where the consumer can read the details. The handmade aspect of these solutions brings to the story a sense of care and attention to detail missing from the competitor’s soulless entity.
Line Craft

Probably most evident of any trend this year is the aesthetic and beauty associated with these marks and their understated elegance. The crafting of logos using a single stroke weight is not new, but it is in full display with nuances that keep the work fresh. These examples are mostly black on white, but there are exceptions with color that work as well. The illustration and the typography are both handled with even weights, which allows the copy to have a true sense of place.
Influences may come from icon systems that have been developed over the last several years using a non-scalable line weight to build consistency. A Charley Harper influence seems to come from the geometry applied to the illustrations. There is just enough line work to define shapes, but not enough to lay in tonality. A nod to the work of the ‘50s is also evident here, which is always a pleaser for generations still in love with that era.
Badges

A glance at this year’s logo crop turns up more crimped edges than a state fair pie contest. Badge logos are doing their best bottle cap impression with slow, wavy edges; tight, pointy, ziggurat edges; and every combo in between. It’s the diversity of filling that is keeping these interesting and that still allows the well-crafted version to stand out. Some of these are intended to be seal-like, and then others just use the shape as an enclosure.
There is an air of official-ese associated with these marks but also a wink that they can just as easily be irreverent and light-hearted. Dating back to the irregular edge created by an impression in a wax seal, this shape over the years found regularity in shape. Reminiscent of the gold seal applied to any document of importance, the shape still denotes an official stamp of approval, and designers are glad to promote this school of thought.
Banners

As a graphic device, the banner has enjoyed a significant ride with designers for a number of years. What was once a nice way to add a violator to a package or a website has this year found a place at the logo design table. An updated version of ribbons from years past, these banners only exist in a sharply creased and highly starched variation from the past. Generally, the banners are tipped with a rise to the right, leaving the italic passenger type in a perfectly erect state.
Occasionally the banners exist by themselves, but they are more often incorporated on or around a significant graphic element. Acting almost as a ribbon, these devices have the ability to serve as the background for a text message and also as a gathering and bundling device. The ribbon-like tips of the banners often are trimmed to contain a V tail  evocative of an award. Because of the nature of the product this emulates, it allows a designer to build depth and layers into an otherwise flat solution.
Monograms

The art of personal aggrandizement is alive and well, and designers are busy doing their part to keep it fresh. Though monograms date back to 350 BC, they met their true renaissance starting in the mid-eighteenth century. This is when family crests gave way to a more democratic identifying motif that anyone could develop, regardless of his or her station in life. These solutions range from overly ornate to incredibly spartan in appearance and have been the outgrowth of the desire for everyone to have a mark of their own.
When there is little else to say about an individual, you can always bank on him having at least two initials you can rub together to create a monogram. There is a certain aura of elegance and formality that accompanies these, even though contemporary versions may not have the character to pull off being stitched on your shirt cuff. Name a fashion designer who doesn’t use a monogram of some sort on his or her merchandise. Considering the enormous trade in counterfeit fashion apparel and accessories, it helps prove the dollar value a logo can infuse in an industry.
Bill Gardner is the principal of Gardner Design and creator of LogoLounge.com, a unique web site where, in real-time, members can post their logo design work; study the work of others; search the database by keyword, designer’s name, client type, and other attributes; learn from articles and news written expressly for logo designers; and much more. Bill can be contacted at bill@logolounge.com.
Bill Gardner has just completed a much-anticipated book on logo design titled LogoCreed, The Mystery, Magic, and Method Behind Designing Great Logos. This book will be available starting mid 2013 through the LogoLounge.com web site, Rockport Publishers or other booksellers.

2013 Trend Report

+++

Forecasting the near future in design is a reflection of society’s concerns. With such rapid shifts in technology and social media, consumers react to a fear of being left behind. At one time, keeping up with trends meant reading a monthly journal. Now, not only do we have to read daily blogs, but we are expected to contribute as well. Consumers who are not participating are growing ever more anxious about the specter of being technically eclipsed.

+++

This chasm is revealed in the decisions made daily by brand designers. More and more identity design is trying to find a way to span the gap or choose a side. This carries forward to products and services that we build affinities with. Sports teams find themselves inventing updated generations of mascots. Long standing consumables are reinventing themselves with new packaging and product design.

Digital products and their user interfaces—UI—have become major drivers in the identity field. Consumers are predisposed to transfer confidence from one app or product to another if the experiences share a visual vernacular. Flat solid color is edging forward with momentum over images that mimic three-dimensional surfaces like glass, leather, or metal, for example. Simulating surfaces like these in an environment out of context is referred to as skeuomorphism. Though it is losing its grip, it is not going away: Clichés work because they are clichés.

Smaller companies are not afraid to adopt a logo that shows them at the size they are. More approachable is a good thing, if it is authentic. Larger companies are tending to loosen up a bit to avoid pretensions and work multiple generations. Ebay, USA Today, Windows and many more over the last year have adopted wordmarks and logos that eschew styles with shorter expiration dates.

Increasingly, consumers have become comfortable in their role as contributors and not just spectators. There is a universal desire to identify even the most niche elements. The ubiquitous profile pictures on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter have turned into an opportunity to identify one’s self. Personal logos and monograms have reached epidemic proportions. Avatars allow us to self-edit and reinvent ourselves visually. This has become the micro-world of self-identification.

Designers are experimenting and making smart decisions for smart clients. Those satellite areas of exploration that haven’t bloomed into trends yet will either be tremendously successful or tragic failures. (Look to next year’s trend report for the results.) In the meantime, there are always those unexplained clusters of visual flotsam that must be mentioned in the “quit it” column: There are too many octopuses, snakes, elephants, peacocks, kangaroos, weathervanes, wheat stalks or heads, and anchors to count.

Now we come to the comments that are a mandatory opening to each year’s Trend Report—but they are worth repeating. At this writing, we have just over 204,000 logos on the LogoLounge site, submitted from designers in more than 100 countries worldwide. For this report, we examined more than 20,000 marks.

When you cull through and organize this many logos, trends are observed. The intention of this report is to share with you what we see, not make suggestions for what you should do. It is always easier to navigate to the future if you know where you have been. Seeing your trajectory allows you to predict where you will end up.

It’s been suggested this might better be called an “Evolution Report,” because it is actually a report on the evolution of our industry. Design is an evolving process. It’s our hopes that you will use these observations, together with your own wit and perception, to advance the field of logo design to the next level of brilliance.

This year we present you with the fifteen leading logo trends.

Here

Here trend logo examples

The iconic map pin has given way to the ubiquitous digital version of itself. A generation that has no use for an analog map also has no use for a tray full of stickpins with multicolored heads. Society navigates with GPS, and it marks its destinations with an iconic inverted drop shape that nods an homage to its predecessor. This icon has arguably entered the visual vocabulary of iconography as fast as any in recent memory.

Need to let someone know they have arrived? Drop a marker. The equity in this symbol is prepped for application and replaces the hackneyed iterations of an arrow, or an X, or a simple dot, to indicate that you have arrived. In logo design, place often is an important part of a story, and this malleable symbol is finding itself merged and modified to convey an even deeper message. It’s not every day that designers are presented with a virgin icon fresh for appropriation but here it is.

Crossed

Crossed trend logo examples

It’s been less than a handful of years since designers went on a binge with circles containing crossed anything, from arrows to lines to sticks. The standard solution usually involved a graphic being placed in each of the four quadrants formed by these items—a client’s initials, a foundation date, a name, a crown, a simple icon or symbol of some kind. The first few had a nice feel to them, but the proliferation of this kind of mark turned most of them into the punch line of their own joke.

The dust has cleared, and the frenetic pace of this design’s creation has slowed to a trickle. Better yet, it has shifted to another variant that is not nearly as packed with information as the previous models. These crossed components have a greater variety that often favors cooking utensils, tools, sporting equipment and the like. The X formed by these elements signifies a level of heritage normally associated with a pair of crossed swords. It’s a technique that lifts the regal nature of the client it represents and implies a certain sophistication even if it’s a pair of crossed plungers.

Wave

Wave trend logo examples

Subtlety plays an important role in this group, and it may well take a second look to see the connections. Generally these marks have a volume to them, but you can assume the substance is in flux. Imagine the simple motion of swirling wine in a glass and watching it stir from side to side in a settling fashion. It is a sign of movement but not in a rushed or torrid fashion. Rather, it is gentle and certainly under control.

Given time, these marks look as if they should come to rest, but the viewer’s better judgment suggests that the rolling nature of these icons is ongoing, like the tides. Such a simple visual gesture that’s pure in geometry and can express a complex rocking nature is refreshing. These appear to have a liquid quality to them, but as a logo design, it demonstrates an entity’s ability to contain a volatile substance and control the results.

Molecules

Molecules trend logo examples

Think exacting and with specific purpose. Unlike cooking food, being off in a molecular recipe by one or two elements can kill you. This group of identities conveys concepts using a visual language that connotes an appreciation of precision—everything in its place and a place for everything. Though these identities may not represent a research lab or petrochemical endeavor, they do express the understanding on the client’s part for methodology.

The very geometric nature of these marks lets the consumer know that process is critical to success. There are no elements left to chance, and with perfection comes results. The circles connected by lines can represent the aspects of a large business that works together in harmony, or many coming together to create a greater whole. Variations in color demonstrate diversity or a seamless blending of disparate elements. This is how subjective designers present objective solutions to clients that demand a proof of outcome.

Nature Marks

Nature Marks trend logo examples

Long before DNA, we knew that nature’s manifestation of individualism existed everywhere. A thumbprint certainly spoke to the uniqueness of a human being, but the rings of a tree or the mapped topography of the land were equally effective marks of singularity. These patterns are immediately recognized for what they are even though each holds a clue to the originality of the entity.

Combining these thumbprints of nature as a surface treatment on a mark is seen as a way to address the unique and peculiar aspects of a client. Or it may be a way of indicating that every client or product or relationship is respected as individual. These prints are also the universal leveler as everyone has one regardless of our station in life. The print of every individual, regardless of wealth, religion, race, education, sex, or any other divisor, looks pretty much the same, but at the same time, each is unique—an imprimatur from Mother Nature.

Membrane

Membrane trend logo examples

Pattern is no stranger to the world of logo design. Some of the most effective identities rely heavily on pattern to tell a story. More often than not the pattern is geometric in origin and displays a regular symmetry crafted from dots or squares or line work. The logos in this group are starting to use an irregular pattern that appears to be much more organic in nature. There is a consistency of positive and negative space to the arrangement, but it was formed from similar yet unique components.

Imagine the pattern created by camouflage, the epitome of regularity formed from irregularity. Or picture an arrangement of stones that are all of the same approximate size, but each is individual in form. The name for this category was adopted as a reference to the microscopic appearance of a cellular membrane that is constructed from similar units, connected in a random sequence, that creates a consistent surface. These marks demonstrate order and harmony drawn from dissonance and an appreciation of the beauty of differences brought together for a common good.

Formula

Formula trend logo examples

This, and this, and this, when brought together equals something much greater. Why not show those ingredients? Instead of showing s’mores, let’s break it down and show graham crackers and chocolate and marshmallows. The idea of stepping back from the finished product and showing the equation or the components responsible for getting you to the solution is what this group is about. The elements in the equation may be dramatically different but the combination tells the consumer a story and requires their participation to assemble a final conclusion.

These logos appear in a variety of styles, and whether the formula is displayed vertically or horizontally, there is usually a sequence to be followed for the result. Another connotation derived from this category is simplicity, as if there is someone telling the consumer, “It’s not that hard to understand.” Breaking a process into steps or showing its transparency is a good method of engaging the consumer with an educational message that coincidentally is also used to identify.

Bracketing

Bracketing trend logo examples

As different as these marks appear, a square in a negative white space is the connecting tissue. Generally, two elements of equal construction are pushed together to create a square- or diamond-shaped center which becomes the unwitting centerpiece of the logo. It’s a bit like two brackets that are uniquely designed and certainly have a message, but it’s never as much about the device as what is between them.

Here, two pieces make a whole and create something greater in the central area. Remove one of the pieces and there is no story, but squeezed together, they envelop one of the greatest of all products, potential. It is the light that is captured between. It is the known or unknown. It is the elusive result that only this firm can define and manifest. The beauty of showing potential is that the consumer is able to dream and fill in the blank with the answer that best serves his objective.

Eyelet

Eyelet trend logo examples

Imagine a world where you are not allowed to make any hard right turns, and you pretty much have the concept that leads to this genre of marks. Typically, these are built with a continuous motion monoline weight that may or may not be capped with a feature, or it may terminate into itself. Crossovers are certainly common, with a visual line break to convey dimension and continuity. There are many variants, but the use of a loop is how you navigate a hard right angle.

There is a pleasure in tracing the line with your eyes as it takes us on a bit of a journey. It demonstrates a sense of flow and flexibility and creates a solution that literally has an unexpected twist to it. Were you given enough rope, you could no doubt design your logo with it. These marks are approachable, friendly, and demonstrate a methodology by tracing a path from beginning to end.

Slash

Slash trend logo examples

The ubiquitous slash comes of age and has found a home in the realm of identity design. But what does it mean? The forward slash has tremendous flexibility and, aside from being a separator in networking or URL addresses, it is most commonly a symbol representing “or” in between two options. It also is at home as a divider between initials such as b/w for black and white, or as a divider in a fraction, or even as the mark for a spare at your local bowling lane.

In identity design, it is a clean visual substitute that allows us to connect or build separation between concepts or entities. The mark appears equally comfortable in a typographic solution or maybe used with a bit more wit between icons/visual elements or both. The acceptance of the slash is reminiscent of the avalanche of solutions using the @ symbol a number of years ago. Because of the almost invisible nature of the slash, it has much more utility and probably will be viewed much more like an ampersand or another letter in our alpha-arsenal.

Written

Written trend logo examples

As this trend developed this year, it started as a recognition of the abundance of logos incorporating handwriting. There were some A-plus examples of cursive, for sure, but no additional theme was evident. The more I scrutinized the category, the more obvious the use of this script became as it appeared in a supporting shape to complete the message. Most of these looked as if a blackboard had been created in the shape of a “fill in the blank” for whatever the topic was.

Folks have been building type into shapes for years, and though that is   a modest part of this trend, the overarching majority of these look like a barista at Starbucks has been busy designing logos when not filling out the menu boards at the store. This is an engaging way to tell a story, at a distance from a shape silhouette, and up close where the consumer can read the details. The handmade aspect of these solutions brings to the story a sense of care and attention to detail missing from the competitor’s soulless entity.

Line Craft

Line Craft trend logo examples

Probably most evident of any trend this year is the aesthetic and beauty associated with these marks and their understated elegance. The crafting of logos using a single stroke weight is not new, but it is in full display with nuances that keep the work fresh. These examples are mostly black on white, but there are exceptions with color that work as well. The illustration and the typography are both handled with even weights, which allows the copy to have a true sense of place.

Influences may come from icon systems that have been developed over the last several years using a non-scalable line weight to build consistency. A Charley Harper influence seems to come from the geometry applied to the illustrations. There is just enough line work to define shapes, but not enough to lay in tonality. A nod to the work of the ‘50s is also evident here, which is always a pleaser for generations still in love with that era.

Badges

Badges trend logo examples

A glance at this year’s logo crop turns up more crimped edges than a state fair pie contest. Badge logos are doing their best bottle cap impression with slow, wavy edges; tight, pointy, ziggurat edges; and every combo in between. It’s the diversity of filling that is keeping these interesting and that still allows the well-crafted version to stand out. Some of these are intended to be seal-like, and then others just use the shape as an enclosure.

There is an air of official-ese associated with these marks but also a wink that they can just as easily be irreverent and light-hearted. Dating back to the irregular edge created by an impression in a wax seal, this shape over the years found regularity in shape. Reminiscent of the gold seal applied to any document of importance, the shape still denotes an official stamp of approval, and designers are glad to promote this school of thought.

Banners

Banners trend logo examples

As a graphic device, the banner has enjoyed a significant ride with designers for a number of years. What was once a nice way to add a violator to a package or a website has this year found a place at the logo design table. An updated version of ribbons from years past, these banners only exist in a sharply creased and highly starched variation from the past. Generally, the banners are tipped with a rise to the right, leaving the italic passenger type in a perfectly erect state.

Occasionally the banners exist by themselves, but they are more often incorporated on or around a significant graphic element. Acting almost as a ribbon, these devices have the ability to serve as the background for a text message and also as a gathering and bundling device. The ribbon-like tips of the banners often are trimmed to contain a V tail  evocative of an award. Because of the nature of the product this emulates, it allows a designer to build depth and layers into an otherwise flat solution.

Monograms

monograms trend logo examples

The art of personal aggrandizement is alive and well, and designers are busy doing their part to keep it fresh. Though monograms date back to 350 BC, they met their true renaissance starting in the mid-eighteenth century. This is when family crests gave way to a more democratic identifying motif that anyone could develop, regardless of his or her station in life. These solutions range from overly ornate to incredibly spartan in appearance and have been the outgrowth of the desire for everyone to have a mark of their own.

When there is little else to say about an individual, you can always bank on him having at least two initials you can rub together to create a monogram. There is a certain aura of elegance and formality that accompanies these, even though contemporary versions may not have the character to pull off being stitched on your shirt cuff. Name a fashion designer who doesn’t use a monogram of some sort on his or her merchandise. Considering the enormous trade in counterfeit fashion apparel and accessories, it helps prove the dollar value a logo can infuse in an industry.

Bill Gardner is the principal of Gardner Design and creator of LogoLounge.com, a unique web site where, in real-time, members can post their logo design work; study the work of others; search the database by keyword, designer’s name, client type, and other attributes; learn from articles and news written expressly for logo designers; and much more. Bill can be contacted at bill@logolounge.com.

Bill Gardner has just completed a much-anticipated book on logo design titled LogoCreed, The Mystery, Magic, and Method Behind Designing Great Logos. This book will be available starting mid 2013 through the LogoLounge.com web site, Rockport Publishers or other booksellers.

Sou Fujimoto’s Giant Serpentine Pavilion Converted into a Storm of LED Lightning by UVA

For the last thirteen years Serpentine Gallery has invited a guest architect to design a temporary structure on the London gallery’s front lawn. In what is billed as “the most ambitious architectural program of its kind worldwide,” designs have come from such visionaries as Ai Weiwei in 2012 and Frank Gehry in 2008. This year, Japanese architectSou Fujimoto (who at 41 become the youngest to accept the invitation) constructed a large network of 20mm steel poles and latticed metal that covers an area of 3,800 square feet.

While the white pavilion is impressive in its own right, the gallery further commissioned London-based United Visual Artists to create a network of LED lights that are meant to mimic the natural forms of an electric storm. At night the normally grounded structure becomes an electrified geometric cloud that flashes and pulsates with light. The installation is further enhanced by an accompanied soundtrack of precisely timed soundbites including the buzzing of electrical plants, effectively creating an auditory effect of thunder. A somewhat similar intervention took place here in Chicago a few years ago when LuftWerk transformed Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate. (via WiredHuffington Post)