Get ready to shake it like a Polaroid picture (and by Polaroid we mean an animated logo)!
Animated logos are on the rise, and it’s no surprise. Our eyes gravitate towards things that move: ocean waves, blazing fires and computer screens. That same eye-catching magic has recently surfaced in logo design, too.
We want you to know how to make a logo spin, bounce, fold, warp, transform and more, so we’ve broken down this logo dance into nine steps. Let’s start learning the moves.
Logos that rotate
One recent trend in animated logo design is rotation. For investment company Lux Capital one thing is clear: make money. Design studio Mucho plays with the idea of addition, multiplication and profit by rotating the “X” in Lux. Additionally, after the “X” rotates, it rises upwards and to the right, another nod to the idea of profit.
The Giant Owl logo takes a different approach to rotation. The circular forms start by rotating like a film reel, then they blink like owl eyes. This is the practicality of animation; we wouldn’t necessarily understand what those shapes were without the movement. The animation opens up doors to logo design concepts that wouldn’t succeed with static art.
Terri Timely is a duo of directors that specialize in quirky and comedic short films. Their logo uses animated rotation to add character and personality to the logo design. All of the elements of the clock spin in a silly and rapid manner. The rotation takes a logo that is quite modest and turns it into something fun and playful.
Logos that hide & reveal
Everyone loves a “big reveal.” It’s used in magic acts, narrative storytelling, game show prizes and even in logo design.
Check out how Pentagram uses a reveal to expand on the concept of “opening” in their logo for OpenView. The logo begins with the “O” and “V” characters, then spreads them apart and reveals the full logo name in between. This use of a reveal allows the logo to transition seamlessly between its full form and its “shorthand” version.
In the Biber Architects logo, Spin takes a minimal and “small” approach to the “big” reveal. The logo begins with an abstract image, portraying the stem of the “i” in negative space. This concept speaks to light and dark, or the photographic and nuanced aspects of their architectural design. As the logo animates, it hides the dot of the “i” behind the second “b,” which brings even further attention to the negative space in the logo. The David Rowland logo by ico Design uses similar animation.
Delfina Foundation, an artists’ residence non-profit, is represented by a bold and modern monogram. The logo reduces down to an underline, then to nothing, and finally completes its cycle by revealing the “D” and “F” again. It has a utilitarian feel and quite simply it works. This straight-forward functionality represents the idea that Delfina Foundation is bringing functionality to artists.
Logos that are hand-drawn
Hand-drawn logos—both skeuomorphic and real—have been around forever. It’s no surprise that designers have started using animation to take that style to the next level.
Faymus, Tangled and Embla all use animation to visually articulate the process of “drawing” or “painting” the logos. The animations exaggerate the logos’ hand-drawn appearances by showing us the artistic process: from smooth brush strokes to blotchy marks to swirling pencil design.
The Feral Sphere logo by Mind Design takes a different approach by using animation as a method for iteration. In other words, each frame of the animation portrays a new version of an organic, living logo. This concept works well for a fashion company that creates their products using organic materials sourced using renewable energy.
Logos that transform
Every aspiring logo owner has done it before: asked a designer to merge a rhinoceros with a moving truck, a coffee cup with an owl or combine two objects that represent their business. Luckily, with animation it’s no longer a tall order!
Even Google relies on animation to transform the word “Google” into a microphone, a pulsating wavelength, bouncing dots and a shorthand “G” logo. Similarly, designer Gun Karlsson uses animation to change the word “Brikk” into a neon glowing brick. Designer William Kesling morphs the word “Labs” into abstract globs with photographic fills.
Logos that expand
Dynamic branding has always been a challenge of figuring out how to make a logo fit within any dimension or scale. Animation is one tool that can facilitate that process. For example, the Ideo Architekci logo design contains a yellow grid based area that can expand or contract to fill any space. It’s a great solution, especially given that architecture often works with similar grid systems and floorplans.
Animated expansion serves other concepts, too. The Eat logo by Fable literally eats as the typographic characters get bigger and bigger with each “bite.” In contrast, the Stevenson Systems logo expands the “S” into a series, or a stack of systematic parts.
The logo for furniture designer Simon Pengelly expands by adding lines or layers to represent the layering of plywood. Not only does this speak to the material in his products, it helps the logo fit into different spaces throughout the company’s branding!
Logos that swap elements
The trend of animated logos has also brought many designs that replace one aspect of the logo with a set of interchangeable parts. For example, in the Bang PR logo explodes the word “Bang” and fills the center with an interchanging set of PR related successes, such as “10 billion ‘likes’” and “HEROIC STUFF”.
Meanwhile, Sello uses interchanging animation to replace the “o” in Sello with a set of circular objects that people sell on the platform. The Hotel Koster logo by Bedow swaps out simple illustrations of three parts of the hotel; the dining room, bar and terrace.
Logos that rearrange
In a slight shift from logos that swap, we find animated rearranging, where existing logo elements move around into different compositions.
Modhouse, a sustainable modular home company, represents their product with an animated logo built of modules. In the animation, we see each “module” of the logo come together and rearrange themselves in a central location on the grid.
The Sim Smith logo plays with the idea of a picture frame featuring rearranging content—a perfect idea for an art gallery! Meanwhile, Design Torget rearranges the letters “D” and “T” to represent different products they sell.
Logos that warp
Stretching and warping are like the fireworks of animated design. The University of the Arts Helsinki logo looks like a bouncing building full of creative artists who are about to bust the walls down.
But not all stretching and warping logos have to be explosive. The wonderfully modest logo for Rikstreatret, a touring theatre company, features a black border or “stage” that stretches and warps, speaking to the idea that they perform in many different spaces of different shapes and proportions.
Logos that travel
Making objects move is one of the most basic fundamentals of animation. Let’s look at how designers take this simple concept and run with it. PR firm Flight shows us a logo that creates trails from left to right, a wonderful visual articulation of flight that feels like we are moving or traveling across each letter.
Restaurant Common Lot uses movement to give each “O” a life of its own. The restaurant is inspired by common land, grazing sheep and shared plates, and the “O”’s can be perceived as grazing animals or traveling people coming together at a dining table.
Designer Brien Hopkins gives the shining beam of a lighthouse by allowing it to flash across the logo from left to right, and to complete the number “6” with its creation of negative space.
Logos that are 3D
We can’t forget one of the most game-changing evolutions in technological history: 3D.
Check out how the Haverstock logo by Spy uses a three-dimensional fold to bring six striking vertical lines into the shape of an “H.” Meanwhile designers at Commando Group spin and rotate the symbol for 4B on 3D axes.
It’s time to get moving!
Now that you’ve seen how designers like to move it, we hope you are feeling inspired to shake things up, too. Don’t be afraid to approach the idea of an animated logo in your next design endeavor. These nine examples of animation can showcase your brand in a way you never thought possible.