North Americans may be getting wider, but our logos are headed in the opposite direction: narrow and vertical. The trend is especially evident among cultural institutions.
Here's a moderate example from L.A.'s Getty Museum:
Here in my own area code, the Oakland Museum redesigned its logo in conjunction with a major overhaul of the galleries. (The museum has been closed since late August and will reopen May 1.)
See the former identity here. From even further back, I remember a pre-CA Oakland Museum; I still own an "OM" T-shirt from that era.
Museums aren't the only organizations opting for an anorexic image. Below right is the new logo of the public-radio show This American Life, juxtaposed with the old logo.
Those images come from Brand New, which asks: "For a show that focuses on the commonalities of American lives, why divide ‘American’ into two words?"
Here's a tall-and-skinny logo that appears to have undergone liposuction:
Does anyone else read "budget cuts" in the Indianapolis Museum of Art's new logo? (See before-and-after images at Brand New.) By the way, the Indianapolis Museum's URL is imamuseum.org, as in "I'm a museum—what are you?"
An extreme example of the compression trend, from Griffin Theater Company, Sydney.
Before-and-after images from Brand New, which points out that the new typeface is a monospace font: each character is given the same amount of space.
Tempting as it is to put a sociocultural gloss on this trend—recessionary squeeze? do more with less?— Tall and Skinny is probably just one of those fads that sweep the design community every decade or so. Back in the early 2000s, every third logo seemed to feature a tilted ellipse. (See, for example, the Gore-Lieberman campaign logo.) This time around, is it reaching too much to speculate that the King Tut exhibit, currently on tour, has inspired a revival of interest in Egyptian cartouches?
Cartouche image from here.