That’s right. They don’t. Today, they’re simply a highly condensed visual brand representation. I’m convinced of that. So are Scott and Alison Stratten. They’re so convinced, they devoted the first chapter of their book “UnBranding” to the topic.
Consider this. If logos are so important, why are they most often placed in the upper left hand corner of their brand’s website homepage navigation bar, and usually about the size of a shriveled peanut.
Sure logos have value. But that’s only because the brands they represent have that value.Luxury brands love to plaster them all over their products, from sunglasses to purses and from footwear to luggage.
The name ROLEX and its companion five-spiked crown on the dial of a watch immediately bestows “five figure” value on the timepiece, but that’s because of the brand and its meaning to a luxury watch connoisseur. But, matter? Logos? They’re down the brand meaning food chain behind authenticity, relevance, sharing, caring, transparency, tradition and a bunch of other personality traits.
To many graphic designers it may be considered insult and heresy to say this. But it doesn’t make it any less true.
Full disclosure; I like the look of a well articulated mark that uniquely represents the best attributes of a brand through a smart and creative use of shape, line and color. But what it really comes down to is what we think about the brand when we see the logo. Not what we think about the logo (unless we’re the aforementioned graphic designer).
Brand = meaning, and the more it means to you and me…and everyone else, the more important the logo that’s used to represent it. Plain and simple.
Try this simple test: For those of you familiar with the Superior brand, explain to someone who has never heard of the brand why a logo that’s a direct ripoff of a previous design matters so much.
And if they’re still giving you a strange stare when you’re done with your explanation, try telling them why a pair of Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 V2 Beluga 2.0 athletic shoes has a retail price of $400.00 and sells out immediately, without the brand name or the traditional three stripe motif to be found anywhere on the shoe.
Answer: it’s Kanye West’s design (and brand persona) that drives the shoe’s desirability. And, it’s more about exclusivity than aesthetics or logos.
With all this being said, the next time a prospective client says to me, “I think we need a new logo.” I’m going to suggest we take a close look at their brand first.
That’s what I believe. What about you? Please add you comments.