Trends of 2021: The year in branding and logos

This year has seen some major brand overhauls – some of which were even well received on Twitter – as well as ongoing love for nostalgia, digital minimalism and gradients

Much of the year’s big branding news was about nostalgia: perhaps in these strange, uncertain and pretty depressing times brands are latching on to things they reckon will make us feel nice (and buy their products).

Elsewhere, we’ve seen a continuation of some graphics trends that seem to be here to stay: refinement and minimalism (almost overwhelmingly in a bid to help brands flex across ever-growing digital touchpoints as well as traditional ones); as well as the soft cheery vibes of a nice gradient.

The retro feel of gradients has also been echoed in other tropes this year, such as friendly 60s-leaning serif fonts and the 70s caravan interior colour palettes used in probably the biggest redesign this year: Burger King.

Here, we run through a few of the standout trends from another strange 12 months.

The new CIA logo

THE CIA PUT THE FINAL NAIL IN THE ‘CLUB GRAPHICS’ COFFIN

When the new CIA branding was revealed in January this year, it was derided by many for apparently pinching styles once associated with all things countercultural – clubbing, raves, cerebral synth music – and repackaging them for ‘the man’.

DESIGN PRODUCER

LONDON/HYBRID

DESIGNER

LONDON