To Be Or Not To Be (We’re Talking About Gradients)

I remember around the time when I was a student, that being the early naughties, using gradients in any shape or form was like the visual equivalent of introducing the ‘C’ word into your day to day vocabulary. This brief article highlights some of today’s most well-known and innovative (arguably, in some cases) logo designs which helped to successfully abolished this taboo once and for all – starting with none other than the iconic Apple symbol. Personally I’m still on the fence with this one. What does everyone else think?

5 Comments »

  1. Ryan Lee says:

    I’ve actually been thinking about this quite a bit lately. Throughout school and up until a couple of years ago, I was strongly in the anti-gradient thought-camp. Somewhere along the path my beliefs have shifted and now I’m totally fine with gradients in logos as long as there’s a way to retain the original intention of the marque in a solid 1-2 color form.

  2. Graeme says:

    @Ryan – good point. I think it’s important to consider how the logos/graphics will look and function beyond existing in flat or limited colour, such as in the state of on-screen animation for example. However, I think the 1-2 colour equivalent should go without saying and I think that would have been interesting to include alongside the examples in the article.

  3. MatthewNotMatt says:

    Not sure that most gradient logos work mainly because they just seem to be 3D-ing the logo for no real reason. But I agree they should work in a 1-2 colour format.

    One example I do like is the gradient applied to the recent update of the Martini logo, which I believe does actually work. It’s only applied to the gold edging and very slightly on the red circle, but gives the logo some more depth and just makes it even more luxurious. It’s only subtle but is a good example of a gradient application.

  4. Flor says:

    Gradients can work if they’re used responsibly and for the proper media formats, but the old school rules for logo design will always remain relevant. Unfortunately, most of the logos in this article fail to meet either half of my previous statement because they would all turn to puddles of mud if you shrank them down. It’s probably the best strategy to stick with a simple, clean design and use gradients as an enhancement for web and video if so inclined. Otherwise, using gradients as part of a final design will cause more problems than it will solve.

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