Why Severing Your Logomark from Your Logotype Might Make Sense

Why Severing Your Logomark from Your Logotype Might Make Sense

Over the last month, two of the world’s biggest brands have departed from spelling out their company name as an element of their logo. Instead, they are opting solely for what is referred to as a brandmark symbol, ideogram or pictogram. Starbucks Coffee and, as of last week, Target are now strictly featuring their ideogram removed from its traditional wordmark. Examples below:

This trend is nothing new. Look at iconic brands like Playboy, Apple and Nike, who made a point to dispense with their wordmark years ago. However, I confidently predict that more brands will migrate to this strategy in what we affectionately call the Digital Age.

Does this approach make sense for your brand, too? Consider these five reasons why it just might:

1. If you have an established brand and a multi-channel marketing approach, why clutter your valuable brand real estate with both a wordmark and a visual brand element? With prices soaring for as little as 50px on websites and in social media, you must effectively capitalize on your brand’s allotted space.

2. The size of the physical world is inversely proportional to the size of the digital world — meaning, as the digital landscape expands, brands gain easier access to countries and consumers they wouldn’t have reached even 2-3 years ago. However, even in a contracting global marketplace, cultural and language barriers still exist. When a company simplifies its brand identity and messaging, it can seamlessly transcend continents, countries and cultures.

3. These brand symbols have far more visual design versatility than their wordmark counterparts. This is especially true with regard to dynamic identities (for instance, animated logo treatments in pre-roll ads, banner ads and broadcast executions). These icons can also add dynamic visual interest in the background or as a pattern, where wordmarks would yield too much substance.

4. In the age of “likes” and “sharing,” 140-character limits and check-ins, giving users the ability to interact and support the brand is key to building organic brand affinity. Again, in most cases, this must be accomplished in a less-than-50px space. The simpler the visual representation of your organization, the easier it is to recognize as it’s quickly ushered down a Twitter feed or Facebook Wall, or swimming elsewhere in the flood of available information.

5. Finally, just like individuals can rally around a flag, family crest or religious symbol, so too can they rally behind your brand’s identity. An optimum outcome of any branding effort is to have users tattooing your logo on their bodies, wearing it on their shirts or incorporating it into their digital profiles. By simplifying your logo down to its most essential elements, you can empower brand enthusiasts to fly your brand’s flag in both digital and physical spaces.

Of course, the practice of severing your brand’s identity and creating a stand-alone ideogram is not for every brand. In fact, the design community has been very vocal about whether Starbucks has made the right decision.

Look to these specific guidelines when your company is deciding whether to migrate:

1. An ideogram should fit as well as possible in a square or circle. Anything too oblong will interfere with optimum sizing.

2. Detailed illustrations or photos will not reproduce well when scaled down. Simple is always better, but it is absolutely vital to a stand-alone ideogram.

3. Ask yourself, “Is my brand unique enough?” That is, will it be confused with others or lack the necessary context to communicate what it is?

4. Last, and most important, know your users and customers, and how they are going to react to the evolution of your brand. Bring them in on the decision.

Before you take the plunge, weigh your options and consider your unique circumstances. While a brand refresh can attract positive attention and help maintain a current image, a branding disaster has just as much potential to draw scrutiny on an increasingly public stage.

Eagle Days Mark

Eagle Days Mark

One of the saving graces of winters in St. Louis is that Bald Eagles apparently love’m. Any given time in mid-January you can go out to the Chain of Rocks Bridge (preferably with spiked coffee), and watch these majestic and thankfully flourishing creatures soar. Its quite amazing once you can feel your toes.

Anyway, I designed the mark for this and upcoming year’s Eagle Days celebration. Although it became a bit of client directed piece, I have included my favorite ideation.

Go out and see the eagles today.

Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired Logo Throwdown

Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired Logo Throwdown

The STL Egotist, a blog about advertising and creative stuff, recently had an off-day when they decided to slam two local Ad players; Schupp Co. and Ad Saint.

Schupp Co. is an agency that has been around for a long time and does a lot of point of sale and other general advertising (Remember the KTRS missing Cardinal Birds… that was them). Schupp designed(?) a logo for the Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Ad Saint, another STL advertising and creative stuff blog, was contacted by the Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired to run a story on their new logo, which they did.

The egotist basically took fault with the fact that for what they (and I) am sure was a pro-bono project, Schupp phoned the logo in. Meaning it really isn’t very good, or more, could have been a lot better. And then The Egotist kind of threw some fighting words at AdSaint for writing a post about this lame logo.

I have worked on projects like this, and know first hand that its generally the clients that limit the project (concept and execution). I also know that where the real money is saved on a Pro-bono client is not the creative effort, but the account sales effort. The mentality that, “They’re not paying for this, it’s not worth our time to fight with them.” Designers are the ones who spend the extra time and effort polishing feces, and then they are the ones that are pointed to when the logo sucks.

So, Egotist, have a little compassion. If Schupp roll’s out a campaign they are sure will be a Gold Pencil or a Lion, and you think it sucks… say so. If they cook a Pop Tart, I don’t need you guys to explain to me why they should have made Blueberry instead of Smores. As for AdSaint, call them out on bad stories if you want. Maybe that competition will yield deeper digging, more content and better insight for me.

In the meantime, I say we turn this whole frown up side-down!

Designer Throwdown!

The Place: www.blindlogos.tumblr.com/

The Weapons: Illustrator, Coffee, Ice Pick

The Logo: Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Click here and upload your better version of this logo:

(Egotist mystery writers, lets see your skills too)

Best logo gets lunch at Blues City on me!


PS > I’ll narrow the logos down, and then let someone a lot cooler than me pick the winner.

Respect! Missouri

Respect! Missouri

Saw this on FFFFound.com today. Don’t know what it is, don’t care.

It’s awesome.

Fun work

Martin Luther King Tribute

I wanted to attempt this style  in February, and being Black History Month I chose the Rev. as my muse.

His face is made up of the words of his epic Lincoln Memorial “I have a dream…” speech.

Take a look. I am having it framed as I type.

Smoking Goat Branding

I like beer.

Beer high in flavor, alcohol and price. I brew at home, but wouldn’t consider myself very good at this point. I’m working on it.

We have friends in Louisiana who I would consider really good. I designed some branding for their forthcoming brewery down there.

The Smoking Goat will hopefully be amazing, especially if I get some good beer out of the deal.

Have a look. Then drink a beer and have a look again. Continue this process until the logo looks awesome.

New Poster

This is a poster I made for my buddy Dustin.

A classic quote from him as we drove by Effingham, IL’s infamous and huge cross.

I thought it would look good in his new apartment.

Sheltered Perceptions

I recently got the chance to work on a project for the Humane Society. Given the fact that every time I walk into an animal shelter I have to be talked down from taking home every animal in the place, I was happy to help in anyway I could.

With the majority of pet buying in the United States coming from breeders, mall pet shops and unfortunately mills, animal shelters (specifically the Humane Society) are left overflowing with pets that need loving homes. They are running into a perception problem however, and many misconceptions about shelter pets are accepted as fact, and often repeated as such.

To get past this, we decided to take the problem head on, and address the most common misconceptions individually.

Here is where we landed:

Humane Society - Misconceptions"Mutt"

Humane Society - Misconceptions - "Bark"

Lauren and Dan sit’n in a tree…

My good friend Lauren is getting married in July, and though I am extremely jealous of her fiance Dan (don’t tell my wife), I made their save the date cards.

I use VistaPrint to print these types of things. Though the quality suffers, and the rumor is that they are destroying local community printers nationwide, for the price they can’t be beat. Check them out next time you want to customize your own holiday card or invitation.

Here’s how Lauren’s STDs turned out: