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When gauging the relative merits of the 35,000-plus logos that have been submitted from all over the world to the site in the past 18 months, it would have been supremely helpful to have some sort of magical scanner-like device that could objectively compare, classify, and quantify the success of each design. But likely such a device could only spot the obvious visual trends.

For example, some directions in design are driven by certain tools. Illustrator's Swirl and Pucker tools as well as Scriptographer would emerge as likely suspects this past year. Also, that design can be heavily influenced by current events would become evident quickly: Witness the enormous crop of O-shaped logos inspired by the 2009 U.S. Presidential elections that have emerged in the last year.

But it's only the human eye—combined with the eight-year track that this LogoLounge Trends Report has now blazed—that could reveal actual movement. Here's what I discovered after reviewing the thousands of submissions: Transparency in logo design has become a bona fide design tool, like type or color, not a trend. It's too ubiquitous anymore to be considered a direction: It just is.

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