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Brand Logos: The Evolution and the Future

Brand Logos: The Evolution and the Future

The iconography of a brand is often the first port of contact between potential consumers and the business. Modern branding is designed to leave a lasting impression on the viewer, evoking a specific  range of thoughts when considering the brand. Companies spend millions on their branding and logos; some stand the test of time and some do not. Here we share some examples of great logos and discuss what the future might hold for logo design.


A very well recognised simple logo; Audi’s four rings symbolised the merger of four different automotive manufacturers back in the 1930s. The brand is now synonymous with minimalistic, conservative luxury and the four rings are a statement reflection in anyone’s rear view mirror.

The latest incarnation of Audi’s logo, unveiled in 2017, is a prime example of trending design technique ‘flat design’. Flat design eliminates stylistic techniques that give the appearance of three dimensions and this fits well with the concisely elegant design language that Audi now adopts.

Through its printed material and packaging printing, Audi conveys the sense of effortless simplicity which sells its cars and ultimately the brand’s lifestyle. This is done in a similar way to Apple,  which is known for its minimalist, flat design and almost exclusively white packaging printing.



Coffee chain Starbucks has opted to evolve its logo over time, rather than revolutionise it. The most recent incarnation of the Starbucks logo, launched in 2011, dropped the long-standing ring around its border which contained the brand’s lettering. Only a brand with a certain amount of credibility and power can do such a thing.

Originally sketched by Terry Heckler in the 1970s, the company branding is now synonymous with caffeine on-the-go and the warm, relaxing vibe of a coffee shop. The ‘twin tailed mermaid’ means to many that a chestnut praline latte is not too far away and to some millennials, the Starbucks coffee cup is seen as a fashion accessory as much as a source for a caffeine hit.   

Interestingly, another feature that was removed when redesigning its logo was the black background behind the mermaid. Black ink, according to, is the eighth most expensive liquid in the world so by eliminating the need for this and having a completely green logo, Starbucks should  be significantly reducing the cost of its packaging printing.


The future of logos and packaging printing

With printing ink costing twice as much as Chanel N°5, graphic designers are now challenged with conforming to the needs of ecobranding. Put simply, ecobranding is the hollowing out of logos to use less ink when printed, which in turn means less oil needs to be drilled from the earth.

Art, design and photography website, Bored Panda, has reimagined what some of the world’s most iconic logos would look like with ecobranding. You can take a look at this here.

It’s quite amazing to see which brands could do this subtly and how, in some cases, we wouldn’t even question the change. The environmental impact is forcing a change in logo design; something that on the surface may seem unrelated to the environment.

Here at Umbrella, this is something we expect to see more of in the future. This change is exciting and different because it shows how powerful good graphic design can be, even in ways you might not think.