What I do as a graphic designer is practice my skills in Illustrator and Photoshop by making creating logo primitives. Trending applications of logos are not to be literal as in Starbucks not using a bean for their logo or Nike not using a shoe.
Not to knock a literal logo, because recently I made a logo for a client. It was for his clothing company-Island Cowboy- and you guessed it, I made an image of a cowboy on a horse and put it on a island, he loved it!
Today we make logos that are more abstract and may have a hidden message if you stare at it long enough and think of the association to the company. A logo is only part of the branding process, but it should convey the tone, image, voice and culture of the company. Whether clear or subtle a great logo can accomplish all these things. Below are some of my practice logos at-Crown Graphix- during downtime.