Apple moved from a flat 2D logo to its monochrome 3D logo in 1998, and many other companies followed in Apple’s footsteps with their own 3D logo designs. But just because other brands are going 3D in their logo designs doesn’t mean you should do it, too.
Branding experts and designers debate for and against 3D logos all the time. Certainly, a 3D logo is more visually dynamic in some media, such as television and online. 3D logos also lend themselves well to animation and can truly bring a brand personality to life. However, 3D logos can be more expensive to produce offline and 3D effects don’t always translate well to the print medium. Think about where you’ll use your logo most frequently, so you choose a design that reproduces well in that medium.
The most important thing to consider when you weigh the 2D or 3D logo design options is your brand image. You don’t want to make the mistake of creating a 3D logo just because it’s the trendy thing to do. If a 3D logo design doesn’t match your brand image, then steer clear.
That said, there is no crystal clear answer to whether you should create a 2D or 3D logo design. The best answer is to create both at the same time. Choose one (typically the 2D version) to be your primary logo design and the other (usually the 3D version) as the secondary design used when the medium warrants it.
A career in 3D graphic design generally requires a bachelor’s degree. Some schools offer Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design degrees, while others offer graphic design as a specialization within the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree. The curriculum in the first two years progresses from traditional hand drawings, painting, writing, typesetting, typography and photography to computer-generated 3D elements such as 3D modeling, lighting, textures, effects and animation techniques. These are in addition to general education and elective course requirements. Third- and fourth-year students focus on advanced, project-oriented courses in 3D graphic design, digital portfolio and production management. Students also complete courses that develop communication abilities and visual problem solving, skills that will be essential in interacting with future clients. Students are required to complete internships and to prepare a professional portfolio of their work to prepare them to effectively market themselves in the workplace.