Iconic 90s Logos We All Miss

What would people in the 90’s say about the minimalist logos of modern design?

Comparing 90’s logos to those of present day, we sure have simplified colors and lines to a dramatic extent. Logos 20 years ago were vibrant and full of personality. Where today we go by the rule: “Less is More,” the 90’s pushed design limits to include geometric shapes and a wide array of colors.

Taking a look at some examples below, we get the sense that the 90’s were a time of learning computer software and trying to stand out. What made these logos so iconic? Here are my thoughts:

  • Hand-drawn, bubbly design
  • Vibrant pastel colors
  • Geometric, yet organic shapes
toys r us logo, logo
Image from Looka

Jumping right in with a colorful design, Toys R Us brought children’s dreams to life. With balloon-shaped letters, the logo screams “playtime” written in a font similar to a child’s handwriting. We all have our Toys R Us memories, some more recent than others, but when we see this logo in any form, our inner child wants to go play.

friends logo, friends tv show
Image from Looka

Speaking of iconic, the Friends logo is just that. This is an example of a 90’s logo that was almost too simple for the time, but that made it a timeless look. With the handwriting and colored dots, the logo brings you back to your younger life. The best part about this logo is that is has stood the test of time and continues to be placed on t-shirts and mugs for the Friends’ fanatics.

apple logo, apple
Image from Looka

Still using the same shape for an apple, the brand incorporated a rainbow of colors to stand out, because in the tech world, bright and bubbly is not the norm. Since then, Apple has made it a focus to stand out by creating the ultimate minimalist brand identity. Even into the 2000’s, Apple was keen on bright colors to create a memorable look in their ads.

nickelodeon logo
Image from Looka

So nostalgic, right? Just look at that paint splat. Nowadays that shape would be strategically designed with geometric shapes, not the organic, “realistic” one it had in the 90’s. Even their name has been simplified since they first aired.

windows logo
Image from Looka

Here we see another technology company trying to find their place in the bubbly world of design. Instead of the typical 90’s approach, Windows emphasized the new discovery of pixels in the digital world by using squares and geometric edges. The colors weren’t as vibrant as other brands, but they still used the primary colors to show how serious they were about the tech world.

cartoon network logo
Image from Looka

Cartoon Network showed us that you can look cartoon-ish without using many colors. Almost playing on an optical illusion, the TV network used bold lettering in squares to create movement. Even today, the Cartoon Network logo pulls from this classic look.

The internet was a colorful, exciting place to be in the 90’s. Times were changing, technology was beginning its boom, and companies knew they needed to find a way to stand out in a crowd. Since then, we’ve lost touch with the hand-drawn elements of design, stopped using such bright pastel colors, and instead have dived head first into the world of tech, making everything look like it’s made on the computer.

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