8 Major Brand Logos That Went Flat in 2014

By on May 2, 2016 in Design Trends
8 Major Brand Logos That Went Flat in 2014

Drop shadows, textures, and bevelled edges are out, solid colors are in. The latest trend in graphic and web design is to undo all those fancy Photoshop effects we've been adding for years and return to a simpler aesthetic. This goes way beyond the interface changes we've seen in operating systems lately and is affecting every facet of design, from websites to logos. Today, we'll see how eight major brands like MSN and Netflix have recently redesigned their logos to jump on the flat train.

1. Salesforce

Salesforce puts business intelligence in the cloud, and its logo used to be a softly rendered cloud with the company name emphasizing “force” by the stronger color of the text. The new version relies on the shape of the graphic to relay the cloud idea, using a uniform sans-serif font, except for the italic “f” that effectively highlights the word “force.”

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2. MSN

MSN used to reference the four-color pane of Windows through the wings of an abstracted butterfly. The butterfly has been retained as a symbol of connectivity, but those colorful, overlapping, translucent wings have been clipped in favor of a flat, classy look that fits in with the greater Microsoft rebranding project.

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3. About.com

About.com used to depend on a 3D sphere that served as the "O" in "About". Now the 3D look is gone, the ball has grown, and the color of the logo has been unified. The new version is certainly cleaner, and quite reminiscent of the AMC Theatres logo.

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4. Fandango

Fandango implements the suggestion of a ticket stub that doubles as an "F" for its graphic. The shadowed older version gives way to a subtler, flatter representation with its logo redesign. The new version is a welcome refresh. By comparison, the old logo seems quite ugly with too many outlines and shadows on the "F" and terrible kerning on the word "Fandango."

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5. Peter Piper Pizza

Peter Piper Pizza recently unveiled a possible new future for its brand. They've abandoned the pizza/paper fan banner in favor of a more abstract mark that incorporates both a slice of pizza and a salad bowl. According to WD, the agency behind the new branding, the update is an attempt to connect with Millennial parents (hence the salad bowl). Unfortunately, in doing so, they likely lose much of the "fun" factor that will appeal to their real target audience: your kids. Thus far, many outsider reviews of the new logo have been negative. The typewriter font is especially an area of contention. The current Peter Piper website maintains the old branding.

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6. Olive Garden

Olive Garden was definitely a brand with an old world aesthetic. It simply doesn't get much more textured and gaudy than their previous logo. The new version is greatly simplified. Though it has been the target of countless design bashing sessions, it's certainly more in line with current trends. I do like the use of olive shapes in the typography, and "Italian Kitchen" somehow does sound fresher than "Italian Restaurant."

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7. Netflix

Netflix has dropped the shadowed lettering from its name, but retained the curve of the lower text line, reminiscent of old theater marquees. It’s one of the most subtle, yet transformative, re-works of any recent change in design, demonstrating how much can be done with minimal changes.

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8. Hershey's

Hershey’s is one of the best-known brands around, so a logo redesign is a big deal. The update drops the apostrophe "s" and replaces the photo of a Hershey's kiss with a simplified illustration. The tagline has been updated as well, dropping serifs in favor of a more modern look. It's a simple enough rework that likely moves in the right direction, but it instantly got a bad rep on social media due to some hilarious but childish Photoshop tweaks.

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What Do You Think?

We'd love to hear your thoughts on each of the logos above. Do you think flat design is the right direction for logos? Have each of these brands done a good job flattening out their logos? Also be sure to mention any other brands that you've seen go flat lately!

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  1. QhueCreative

    Great article. I am not a big fan of Peter Piper's new logo suggestion, but LOVE the new Netflix and Olive Garden logos.

  2. banshee1

    Olive Garden is the only one that truly needed it from a PR perspective. I worry that all this flattening is a temporary fad and in a couple years people are going to rediscover chiaroscuro.

  3. FWPolice

    Microsoft in general went flat with nearly all their products and services. From Windows, to Office to skype and live. I think it's easier for most companies to work with flat design because it is less complex. When it comes to printing, it saves money and overall print turns out better than having something with gradients.

  4. cdcampbell26

    I don't think it's a fad as some have suggested. Flat logos generally function better in a mobile environment and at smaller sizes. I also appreciate the simplicity.

  5. MehmetRehaTugcu

    If I didn't know that Hershey's was a chocolate company, I'd think that chocolate image was something else entirely....something stinky.

  6. ryanheck

    MSN actually have an even newer logo than what's shown as 'NEW' with the recent site update.

  7. gregcorby

    Personal taste aside, I think the simplification was a good move. I was always told that a great logo should work across a wide variety of sizes and applications, and when you start adding lots of embellishment (like the Olive Garden logo) it can become quite limiting from a branding perspective.

  8. BlackLabel

    Flat is nice but I actually prefer some of the older versions of these logos—Netflix and Olive Garden in particular. By "flattening" them, they lose some of the qualities that made them unique.

  9. FilterGrade

    The new Netflix logo just works. I also love the improvements to Salesforce and Fandango. Some of these just don't work though, and it's pretty clear.

  10. almost_hectic

    NETFLIX didnt just get flattened it got fattened, if they wanted to lose the dimension thats one thing, but I think the previous logotype had more character and unique quality... thats gone now.

  11. Arachnea

    I was telling my partner last week that the Netflix logo looks like a title I made in word once upon a time..A long time ago. But for a company that already has a quality product or is known worldwide simplicity makes it most recognisable. Plus the fact that it is easier for cross platform usage. Personally I prefer a little more styling and it is also more fun to create, but for good branding it works to keep it simple. At least in my opinion. Good thing we do not all have the same taste when it comes to design or else creativity might become quite dull.

  12. cpalichleb

    These flat logos are "simply" beautiful! They bring back the basics of great graphic design – extremely simple marks that can be easily recognized, reversed, and converted to black & white.

  13. mishkablack

    I appreciate this perspective and conclusion that it is in fact a trend. I will look a little closer at what I design with this in mind. Thank you.

  14. eossipov

    Wow, Great Article, Truly a great perspective on the Logo's.
    Noticed the brighter colors too. About.com sure sticks out now.

    I have to say, olive garden was always my fav restaurant to go to for casual nice, until I heard they were like wal-mart re: not paying their employee's wages and then community picking up the slack(with food stamps, etc)
    I refuse to do business with those places anymore, and Mention it every chance I get so other americans will quit supporting their big corp bonus' too.
    having said that....

    I do very much like the Peter Piper Pizza, which I've never seen in the market, but by far, I think that is the most drastic of changes. I wonder how the public sales reacted to them? I know they say third quarter was up what like 2.5% but specifically how these companies did, for instance, I'd bet netflix didn't do as well this last quarter, but the new logo looks awesome,
    Hershey's too, even the little kiss. But how the consumer's will react to it is another thing, and that will set the stage.


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