Bolin Logo Redo: 1990s

By Justin Zwieg  /  Chief Creative Officer

A Golden Age With A Grungy Underbelly

The 90’s has been referred to as the golden-age of American culture. It was the decade of Michael Jordan, the Dallas Cowboys, the World Wide Web, Microsoft, and the mobile phone. The decade that turned an observational comedian into a worldwide TV phenomenon, adapted animated shows to adult tastes, and firmly established reality TV as a low-cost, high-yield option for national broadcast networks. With red-swimsuit-clad models running in slow-motion and a Fresh prince introducing fashion and flair to Bel-Air, it was a time of color, vibrancy and unapologetic positivity. That is, if you’re willing to disregard the Grunge movement. Which, of course, you can’t. With Kurt Cobain as its figurehead, Grunge emerged from the music scene of the Pacific Mid-west and despite its dirty, unwashed, angst, managed to buck the vibrant, colorwashed trends of the time, and equally thrive.

For designers, the decade was one of similar contrasts. Technology was emerging as the new medium and most were trying to work out how best to adapt their skills set and style. Memphis design was still pervasive, with its bold colors and geometric shapes, but so too were grungy, gritty type treatments, and digitally manipulated fonts. It was a time of exploration and experimentation where posters, and magazine and album covers were coveted projects.


Bolin In The 1990s

The 90s saw Bolin move into new digs at 2523 South Wayzata Blvd, Minneapolis – a building we continue to call home – although at the time of writing this blog, most of us are working from a completely different home. For this installment in Bolin Logo Redo, I could have challenged the team to design a logo with Grunge sensibilities. To channel their angsty teen and mess things up. That would likely have been a more challenging task. But, given the times, I chose to send them in a lighter, more frivolous direction.

Nerf, RugRats, Fresh Prince, Saved by the Bell – this logo is full of nostalgia and is unmistakingly 90’s inspired.

Many of us remember the 90s fondly. Our emotional connection to the products and programs of the time making it nearly impossible to provide an objective assessment of the decade’s aesthetic. One thing’s for certain though, the 90s definitely had their own style – and that style is seeing a resurgence. Bold color and patterns. Mixed type. Geometric shapes. I’m seeing designers bring these once again into initial concepting sessions. And I’m glad. It challenges us all to step out of our comfort zones and really assess what we like and what works. Maybe this time around, some of the trends will stick. Only time will tell.  But I’m happy to see them back in the mix.

Check out previous installments in the Bolin Logo Redo here on our blog or on our Instagram @bolinagency. And be sure to stay tuned for decades and logos to come!

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