Late this summer, when Google announced the birth of its new holding company Alphabet, we reached out to a handful of our favorite graphic designers to get their take on the new company’s logo. One of them was Michael Bierut, a Pentagram partner and the creator of high-profile branding work for the likes of Verizon, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Hillary Clinton.

Bierut wrote back: “I’ve declared a moratorium on publicly commenting on other people’s branding work,” he said.

Bierut’s “no comment” is actually quite the comment. Maybe we’re biased, but this year, it felt like everyday interest in logo design reached a fever pitch. People have visceral reactions to branding for good reasons. It’s often where you form a first impression of a company or a service. Alternatively, it can serve as a point of familiarity, like a piece of signage guiding you through a place as small as an app or sprawling as a city. Point is: It’s no mystery we care.

For the industry, that’s great! But Bierut’s reply drives at the inherent risk in the quick critique, which is that branding is meant to evolve, and that sometimes, like a song, it grows on you. As Bierut has also said, “people judge logo launches as if they’re diving competitions, but they’re actually swimming competitions.” With that, we’ll leave you with a few designs we expect to keep watching.

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