Are We Losing Color? The Pervasiveness of Monochromatic Logo Design

In the ever-evolving world of design, trends come and go like tides in the ocean. However, there's a new trend that has quietly swept through the design landscape, leaving a trail of monochromatic logos in its wake. It's a trend that has left me pondering the question: Are we losing color? Are all logos starting to look the same?

The moment I opened my Twitter app and saw its transformation from the vibrant blue bird logo to a stark black and white "X," I couldn't help but notice a similar shift across my phone's home screen. It was as if a monochromatic wave had washed over the app icons, erasing their colorful identities.

It may have taken a dramatic change in one app for me to recognize this trend, but it's clear that we are now in an era of colorless design. The pendulum of design trends has swung from one extreme to another, and I never imagined that black and white design would come to dominate the visual landscape.

Isa Segalovich, a graphic designer and multimedia artist, sheds light on this phenomenon, explaining that for consumers, black and white branding can convey a sense of establishment and power. Larger corporations can confidently shed their colorful logos, relying on their brand recognition to stand out. Think about Apple—the simple silhouette of an apple with a bite taken out of it speaks volumes.

One of the pioneers of this monochromatic trend in the tech world was TikTok, with its black and white logo exuding a sense of sophistication. More recently, Threads, Mark Zuckerberg's venture into social media, also embraced a minimalist black and white logo. Twitter followed suit, stripping away its colors to reveal the simple "X." Other brands like Uber, BeReal, and CapCut have also hopped on the black-and-white logo bandwagon.

The tech industry is not the only one succumbing to the allure of black and white. A study cited in a recent Arch Daily article reveals that vibrant colors are dwindling across various industries, leading to a grayer, more subdued world. Even the automotive industry, once known for its colorful cars, now favors silver, black, and white. The same trend can be seen in household interiors, where bold colors have gradually faded into "Millennial Grey."

But is the absence of color necessarily a negative development? Simplifying branding in this way allows brands to step back and let their content shine. As Alex Center, Founder of CENTER, explains, brands like X and TikTok serve as platforms for people's creations, ideas, and videos. In this context, black and white design serves to get out of the way and let the content take center stage.

As brands shift away from color, they must rely on typography, shapes, and patterns to define their visual identity. When color is no longer the primary distinguishing factor, other elements step in to fill the void. For example, X has introduced a textured variation of its black and white logo, adding depth and character.

This shift towards minimalism and monochrome design can be seen as a reaction to the maximalism of the '90s, which eventually gave way to a period of blanding in the 2000s. The goal is to create designs that scale well and retain their identity even at small sizes. As Center notes, this trend is about infusing brands with personality and finding new ways to stand out.

While the monochromatic trend is gaining momentum, not all brands are abandoning color. Some are embracing bright colors, particularly in industries like pharma and food, where approachability, trust, freshness, and flavor are essential. These brands understand that a pop of color can convey a powerful message.

So, if you want to make a splash in the tech design world today, consider injecting your logo with neon colors. Going against the grain has always been a strategy for standing out. After all, as creative beings, humans will always crave a bit of color in their lives, even if our current app icons suggest otherwise