There’s a school of thought that thinks the logo is terminally ill. In a world driven by content and social conversation the logo has lost it’s voice.
In a previous advertising life the logo was relegated to being a stamp in the bottom corner of a press ad. The only change it faced was to be made as small as possible by the art director. Logos had to be consistent and placed on everything. We made ads that were topical, end lines that flexed with the commercial, but logos didn’t need to change.
When you look at the design industry, it appears the logo still continues to carry weight, polarise and create much debate. We are the first to voice our disapproval of high profile rebrands from tv channels to credit card providers. Focussing on detail rather than the bigger picture.
Unfortunately, for those venting their anger on many forums there's some bad news, the logo isn't the brand! Shock horror! And to pass comment on something without knowing the journey taken and its desired destination is ill advised.
In the words of Michael Beirut, the logo is "an empty vessel that you poor meaning into". We couldn't agree more, but we digress.
Fast forward to today, technology and the many platforms available has allowed the logo to be reborn and form part of brand conversations. They can now be designed to reflect their audience and carry relevant messaging. We do this through, the now holy grail of the 'logo system'
The logo system makes the marque work harder, flex by audience, channel, conversation and message. They can meet the demands of the digital and traditional channels. No longer static signatures for messages, but dynamic messages in their own right.
We’re all familiar with the great work by MTV, Google, Zocdoc, and even Hillary Clinton getting in on the 'logo system' act (produced a range of logos that visually express electorate issues).
Anthropologists tell us that 70% of all communication is non-verbal. It involves gestures, posture, facial expression etc. So if a logo is a brand’s facial expression it now has the opportunity to express its brand personality traits and emotions by following that non verbal code. It can flex depending on audience, customer, touch point, occasion, as well as physical and digital platforms.
So where does that leave the static logo?
Well, the static logo will continue to live on, still have its voice and valuable part to play. Whether a logo sings and dances will always depend on context, sector and brand equity. And it's fair to say that some things are better left alone. Big brands such as Guinness for example will continue to subtly tweak rather than overhaul (I'm assuming in the fear of a public backlash!). And rightly so.
The static logo will still gain meaning by its emotional connections that are driven by the customer journey and the experiences its brand delivers. That won't change.
So, is the logo terminally ill?
Well, we think there's still life in the old dog yet. It's not terminally ill, it was just a bit run down for a while.
In a world of instant communication and multi platform consumption it appears to be catching up, and becoming a bit more 'with it'. It's now gained a new lease of life, become more flexible, adaptive, involving and come out of the bottom corner kicking and screaming.
So, 'the logo', we're glad you're on the mend. Here's to experiences, content and social conversation continuing to feed your meaning in the minds of many.
Posted by Steve Conchie – Creative Director