It’s been great to see the debate raised since my article on logos and ’brand worlds’ in April (Insight, DW 1 April). We as a profession should question and re-evaluate our position and our purpose on a daily basis. Let’s keep it going.
The Science Museum’s new branding (News, DW 24 June) is a classic example of why a logo alone is not enough anymore. In this case, I’m not passing judgement on the aesthetic or the result, but on the observation that it is possible to use it in ’stealth mode’ – that is, to make it disappear.
Isn’t that a bit like buying paint that can appear clear? Or a bike that lets you walk? Or, more importantly, an acknowledgement that the branding device – the logo – so lovingly cared for by the design establishment is on its last legs.
We have moved from a broadcast model to a conversation. It’s not enough to ’build it and they will come’. Brands – now more than ever – need to ’build it and sit down for a chat’.
Logos traditionally do not chat. They are steadfast, immovable statements. And that’s just not very useful when you are trying to describe a multifaceted, ever-changing, interesting, complex thing like a brand.
I’m sure the Science Museum will expertly handle this conversation, just as Waterstones is elegantly using traditional notions of logo application to expand and describe its offer.
The logo won’t die. It’s just got to reinvent its role and become a useful part of a brand’s language – beyond the rubber stamp and beyond the hot poker on a cow’s behind.
When I say the ’logo is dead’, I mean that the design industry’s reliance on this old crutch should shift to the support offered by the conversation so eagerly hunted for by brands.
Logos as the be-all and end-all? The pinnacle of our branding expertise? The best and most useful thing we can create? It just doesn’t make sense anymore, does it?
Simon Manchipp , Founder, Someone, by e-mail