Are long-lived logos turning ‘smoother’?

Business Insider recently compiled 21 different examples of well-known companies that have redesigned their logos this year. Glancing down the list, one pattern becomes clear: in most cases, ​brands changed their logos to incorporate a "cleaner" design that pops out at the viewer. Can cleaner logo design make custom made signs easier on the eyes?

Some of the changes are so subtle that only the company would ever notice. Google, in particular, tweaked its colorful logo so slightly it takes multiple looks to see the difference. But in several other cases, iconic brand redesigns went for something bolder, brighter and rounder.

Examples from this list include Black & Decker, which previously used a block style font with white letters on a black background but now uses an orange one inside a rectangle with rounded edges. Foursquare, which already had a "clean" look, is even more slimmed-down and stylized.

Penguin Random House ditched the images that depicted the two names and replaced them with a type-written text logo bracketed by orange stripes. Olive Garden now uses a gray logo against a green image of a tree branch. The image is simpler but loses the detail of the original logo.

Slimming down and smoothing out seems to be a popular strategy for cleaning up a logo design, but another might be to abandon the classic logo altogether. Abercrombie & Fitch is turning heads with the announcement that it will fade out the use of logos on its products and change the look of its stores for a fresh makeover.

Even if companies no longer want their brand names to be as visible as they once were, large, visible window graphics send the message that the style of the company has changed.