Minimalism in signage
Before minimalism, signage was a product of maximalism, a concept which celebrates abundance, vibrancy, ampleness and opulence and they would use these accordingly to promote a certain message. Historically, businesses would stray towards this maximalist mindset as they knew ‘in your face’ and heavily artistic signage was the best bet to get customers through the door. This point relates to natural human instincts to be attracted to bright, flashy and pretty things, much like how the first humans all that time ago would be attracted to fire.
The first humans saw fire as a sign which promised safety and its bright glow was often used as an indicator which is reflected in contemporary maximalist signage as almost a promise that the customers will gain something from this spectacle. Countless studies have proven this point as they believe that every person’s attraction towards shiny and bright things is indeed instinctual as we believe these objects or in this case, bright signage will fulfil our needs.
From the times of Ancient Rome and Greece to contemporary society, the idea of signage has always been to promote, advertise or give direction to a certain product or place. With the purpose of signage being to attract a particular audience, naturally and for many years, the signage industry has been associated with a high consistency of excessive audio and visual cues to suit this main purpose.
Natural human progression has now caused signage to divert away from this maximalist approach and instead adopt a minimalist mindset to convey its brand message. They do this in a way which is just as effective as businesses make that jump to digitalization where logos and signage are tailored to appear better on TVs and phone screens. This acts as the binary opposite of maximalism and instead forces the mind to focus on the basics where color and images are used in an almost symbolic way. This allows the main content to be at the forefront of the message instead of any other assertive elements and is praised by German industrial designer Dieter Rams who states “Good design is as little design as possible – less but better”. So without further ado, here are our picks for signage which has taken in this minimalist tradition.
The Barclays Premier League
The Barclays premier league’s transition to minimalism is a great example of a company that has not diverted too far from its original logo but has improved on areas necessary to fit in with this minimalistic craze. Ever since the league’s creation in 1992, the famous logo of the premier league has always been a Lion sporting a crown with the lettering stating Premier League underneath but has been subject to minor changes which come naturally to businesses. However, in 2016 the premier league logo made a more daring transition which saw the top footballing league change its lettering to a much more standard font as well as choosing to change the lion to make it appear much more three-dimensional. Like other minimalistic redesigns, the logo trims down illustration and instead focuses more on the detail which people associate with the premier league i.e. the Lion and text stating ‘the premier league’. This format means it is easily accessible as a phone app logo and one which can slot into tv and advert space with ease while still maintaining the brand identity.
Las Vegas and its departure from Neon
For the first pick, instead of one specific sign, we’re going to talk about Las Vegas and the change to the entire spectacle of the city. Las Vegas was world-renowned for its high amount of ‘in your face’ and almost out-of-this-world Neon signage. It was something the world had never seen and cemented Las Vegas as the ultimate city of entertainment and one of the world’s greatest spectacles.
During its rise, Las Vegas was defined by these massive signs that lured people from around the world and compelled them to enjoy what the city had to offer. The bright lights guided gamblers from one casino to another promising a night of fun and fortune. Neon ads escalated, visually growing brighter and flashier. Then overnight a swift transformation occurred, affordable plastics appealed to new developers which aligned with the city’s new vision. This shift while altering the identity of the city, showcased Las Vegas’ adaptability and ongoing evolution.
This meant that famous Vegas landmarks such as Vegas Vic, Vegas Vickie and the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas signs had lost their use as designers looked for new ways to market the city away from Neon signage and celebrate contemporary minimalism, which worked with a digital mindset in place.
Papa John’s is another company which has had quite a striking change to its recent and past logo while on their journey into minimalism. The pizza chain has rebranded itself to show less detail which in turn gives the public less to remember when identifying the brand. They have tailored the brand message to appear symbolic instead of relying on heavy and literal details which is a vital part of the minimalistic manifesto also expressed through elements of the revamped logo. quoting business wire, the new design is a ‘visual reflection of the new tone being set by the brand, bold-simple-clean and fun’ and is proven very much so in the artistic detail. Examples of this include the way that the curving nature of the new font is inspired by the way the pizza makers roll the dough as well as the colours of the logo representing the different core ingredients which go into making their world famous pizza.
Here at Jonsigns LTD, we work first hand with this new logo, having created tones of exterior signage for this rebrand which has appeared on storefronts up and down the country and we can see in every stage of manufacturing the minimalistic elements which has rebooted this iconic chain.
Treatz desserts have possibly the most extreme change in this list from maximalism to minimalism, mainly through a complete change of colour as well as a complete removal of lettering apart from the main brand name. For years, part of Treatz’s brand identification came from the deep purple logo encased in a white circle with wording detailing the different products which the store has on offer. Now Treatz have redesigned their logo to give off a very obvious sense of luxury having removed a cluttering of wording and instead using a huge golden font on a marble-esque backboard. This allows people to enter the store not because of product descriptions but instead a well-crafted and much more efficient design which doesn’t rely on heavy maximalist illustrations.