So, I Think Minimalism is Killing Creativity

Who’s in charge of this? Can we appoint a Chief Design Executive who screens all famous rebrands and says “yes” or “no”? I understand the technicalities of creating a fine, mathematically correct logo, but at the end of the day, for the consumer, who cares?

Don’t get me wrong. Look around. I love minimalism just as much as the next man. And I will never choose an overly decorated design over a clean one, but where does the madness end? Have you seen the new USA Today logo? Have you seen the new eBay logo? Windows?

Creative or Not?


The reason I like minimalism is it allows me to focus on function rather than the form. It makes sense to me that I will design something for you so that it can go about the tasks as necessary. I know when I’ve done too much in a design when I become distracted in the things that don’t really matter…or if I’m trying to rotate an image just the right way and it keeps looking off I’ll just delete it. It has no benefit to the completed design.

On top of that, I think a cleaner look is all around more professional and I like to focus on taking small businesses from looking cheap and tacky to competitors of big brands. Fair enough, right?

Take a look at what Wolff Olins said about their USAToday redesign…

I don’t know. It just seems like the focus was less on creating a great logo, but on creating a great all around look. Does that matter? Yes it does. But don’t you want to have a logo that is standalone in it’s greatness? Could it have taken away from what they were doing with the newspaper? Absolutely. But you don’t feel like the design is a bit of baloney?

Bold and Fun


And I get that brands want to be bold and fun and welcoming. After all, we are about to enter a time where Generation Y’s buying power will totally eclipse that of the Baby Boomer generation. As a 23 year old self-starter, am I going to pick up USA Today over the Washington Post now? Maybe, but I’m not picking it up over PRINT magazine.

In real life, I absolutely love the new logo. I love circles (duh) and I love Futura (another duh). But with all these big companies stripping down their logos to almost nothing, at what point do we focus on creativity in graphic and branding design?

I’m not upset. I like the switch, I just hate how all these businesses are kind of following the EXACT same path when I believe there’s an opportunity to be clean AND creative. Now I’m putting more detail into infographics and detailed table design rather than a great logo. Again, take a look at my logo…it’s a gray circle! But I’m just not sure what this means for creativity.

Am I probably overreacting? Sure!

What are your thoughts on the switch to super minimalistic logos and redesigns? What about USAToday and eBay specifically?

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