Sunday, March 16, 2014

Weekend Diversion: Logo design

Above is a BuzzFeed video published on March 11. It’s an interesting look at famous logos, and the sometimes-subtle messages included. I think it’s interesting, even when we don’t notice.

However, when I watched the video I thought it sounded awfully familiar. It turns out, on April 2, 2012, BuzzFeed posted “Great Logos With A Secret Meaning”, which covered this same ground, but with more logos. Maybe everything old is new again,

In any case, I think it’s interesting to see what designers have done with big name logos, and why. Analysing the choices they made can help the rest of us as we struggle with designing logos for somewhat smaller organisations.

A logo is, of course, a graphic emblem used to represent a company or organisation. Modern logos are said to have begun in the 1870s, When Bass registered their red triangle. But logos as a concept date back much farther than that. They also have much in common with the heraldic crests once used by knights and nobles to identify each other on the battlefield.

In New Zealand, one only has to add the trademark symbol ("™") to have legal protection for a logo or trademark. However, for full protection, here as elsewhere, it’s best to register the mark, which gives the owner the right to use the registered symbol, “®”. Registering a logo gives the highest level of legal protection, but it’s not invincible. For example, if a company can prove they used a substantially similar mark before the registration, they may be able to have the newer mark de-registered.

Companies spend a lot of money to develop and promote their logos to make it easy for customers to recognise them quickly. I use this to my advantage: I take logos for banks, power companies and so on, and tape them to the tabs of the filing folders where I keep statements. That way, I can visually scan the files and find the folder I’m looking for without having to read each one. Thanks, logo designers!

This post is kind of a follow-up to my previous Weekend Diversion, “The History of Typography”. Logo design is another area of graphic design where typography is important, even when we don’t even notice.


Top ten logos gone wrong
The Latest Victims In Famous Logo Rebrands

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