Sundsbergin Ranta by Kokoro & Moi

Los Logos 6 compiles some of the best emblems designed in recent years, including this one, by Helsinki-based creative agency Kokoro & Moi for Sundsbergin Ranta, a beach area in the Finnish countryside.

Blount Park by Louise Fili

Louise Fili, a New York–based designer specializing in logo design, writes on her website: "A cultural park in Alabama, Blount features a Shakespearean theater landscaped with fences made from rustic twisted branches, which served as an inspiration for this logotype."

Birretta & Bicicletta by Stefano Bracci

The Italian designer Stefano Bracci crafted this logo for what we can only imagine is hybrid sport of drinking beer and biking.

Assorted logos by 123Klan

The Canadian agency 123Klan creates mascots and logos traditionally: "They may be vectorized later, but their basis lays in handmade drawing," the designers say.

Keystone Design Union

The Brooklyn-based Keystone Design Union created this retro cartoon for its own logo. It can double as a tattoo.

The Lovewright Co. by Zach Shuta

Zach Shuta, who specializes in bold black-and-white logos, designed this T-shirt insignia for indie menswear brand The Lovewright Co.

Visionnaire by Atelier Dessert

For a company specializing in mixing live techno music with a high-society vibe, the Zurich-based studio created a logo that apes classic Art Deco imagery.

Max Havelaar by Roosje Klap

Roosje Klap’s (unrealized) coin design in celebration of Max Kavelaar’s 150th year is jam-packed with graphic symbolism and geometric elements.

Mane by Creative Inc.

Creative Inc. fashioned an identity for Dublin hair brand Mane inspired by the "flowing tentacles of jellyfish." The products are sold in apothecary-like bottles.

Mane by Creative Inc.

Would it be vintage without a rubber stamp?

Mane by Creative Inc.

The rubber-stamp insignia is a common thread running through package design, stationery, and signage.

Moon Life by Edhv

The Dutch studio Edhv conceived this prismatic logo for the Moon Life concept store, which “creates its own futuristic world in which visitors can explore and test or experience the products and concepts that represent future human life in space.”

Moon Life by Edhv

The Moon Academy has taken place in association with the European Space Agency, bringing students together with scientists working in the field of space technology.

Moon Life by Edhv

Another iteration of the logo, expressly for the parent foundation.

Oven and Shaker by Makelike

For a high-end in Portland Oregon, Makelike applied the common “X” motif to their crest representing the two facets of the restaurant: pizza peels and a cocktail shaker.

Paris-Roubaix by Jeremy Pruitt/Thinkmule

For the one-day professional bike race in northern France, Jeremy Pruitt devised an emblem that evokes wheel spokes.

Paris-Roubaix by Jeremy Pruitt/Thinkmule

Here’s another version, resembling a faceted diamond.

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14 Lovely Examples Of Old-Timey Branding For Small Businesses

Gestalten’s Los Logos 6 catalogs the best emblematic logos for companies looking to borrow some heritage.

Take an observant walk through a neighborhood described as "hip" (Brooklyn’s Williamsburg inevitably springs to mind), and you’ll find yourself in the midst of a typographic trend: the resurgence of old-fashioned logos. In fact, the practice—marked by such flourishes as calligraphic fonts and heraldic emblems—has grown so prevalent that it’s ripe for parody. (You may recall an earlier post about David Spengeler and his efforts to reimagine the world’s most iconic companies as hipster brands.)

[Assorted logos by the Canadian agency 123Klan]

That isn’t to say that there aren’t fine examples of old-timey graphics that use throwback elements in novel, tasteful, and contemporary ways. Los Logos 6, a comprehensive catalog of logo genera from Gestalten, contains a slew of them in its Emblem chapter (other categories include Art Brut, Script, and Glitch). So what characterizes an emblematic treatment? A penchant for geometry, for starters: "The circle never dies," the editors write, "nor do rectangles or triangles." (See Roosje Klamp’s signet design for Max Havelaar, slide #8, for a geometric mashup.)

There’s also a yearning, even among upstarts, to be identified as heritage brands. As the editors point out: "Brand logos that—however remotely—borrow designery attributes from emblems, blazons, and family crests, play on heritage, and it seems somewhat secondary whether the brands they represent have one or not." So if you’re looking to impart a "vintage" patina on a brand, all you have to do is slap a signet on some T-shirts—and voilà, instant history. In other words, put a crest on it!

The above slide show includes several examples from the book, available here for $33. Stay tuned for the next typographic installment on glitch logos.

Add New Comment


  • Logo Design Team

    I do not think following a trend is a good idea. A design should be aligned to the business and it's values. It it gives the 'correct' message to the associates (clients, vendors etc.) of the business then it is a good design.

  • Nowprojector

    I agree that aligning visuals with values is the essence of good logo design. However, being on trend, or part of the visual zeitgeist, is a useful strategy for suggesting that a new initiative (new biz, new campaign, new product) is relevant. Of course, the risk is that the identity dies when the zeitgeist dies. 

  • Jessica Port

    Vintage-style logos can be appealing and effective because they convey a personal and approachable feel that has been generally lacking in brand design for the last four decades.

  • Laurent

    Vintage has been cool for like...20 years now. (Adidas original store concept opened when Soho was cool...) or is it just the easiness of finding inspiration in an old logo book or vintage trends as opposed to scratch your head and really come up with something modern and unique that is powerful enough to stand over time? Would Paul Rand design purposely a vintage logo for a client? no so sure. 

  • Cameron

    RE the other comments, I think logos are reaching the point that most other things are these days, ie: things are becoming so eclectic with brand saturation, positioning, and globalism, that particular trends are more a persistent subset of a comprehensive style palette.

  • Salar Khan

    A lot of streetwear brands have been on this trend for a long time. ex: The Hundreds, Billionaire Boys Club

  • Scott Byorum

    Love it.  I'd wear all of these on a T-shirt.  They have character... just so long as old-timey customer service goes with the logo style.

  • Julie Rustad

    I think this style works for something like a family owned restaurant or someone that sells vintage posters. I like some of the examples, but I agree that designers should really make sure that the logo really matches the business and what they need to convey.

  • Consumerama

    I think there's a fine line between finding some retro character and just regurgitating this same tired style. I suppose some products lend themselves to more old-timey, homemade branding (pickles, moonshine etc). Personally, I can't wait for futuristic, space-age design to be cool again. But maybe I'm also falling into the vintage trap and just want to see a return to the 1960s take on space-age... Confusing. 

  • Mike Williams

    Part of me wants to reject this trend as differentiation via an easily-applicable style instead of a more concrete conceptual and/or strategic core. And to Kim P's point, it is already feeling dated. But another part of me is attracted to the aesthetic; I read the rise of this trend as a visual response to (and a critique of) slick, modern logos that have - ironically - become predictable and generic. 

  • Kim Phillips

    The problem with trends in logos is this: trends in logos. Nothing will look dated faster.

  • Vincent

    And this "hottest trend" has been feeling tired and hackneyed for at least 3 or 4 years. At least in San Francisco.