As creators of two of the identities mentioned in the blog article by Patrick Argent, What Happened to Identity? (www.designweek.co.uk, 8 November), we must take issue with the views expressed by Peter Moffat (Letters, DW 18 November).
The writer states that all logos should be judged on the criteria of being succinct, adaptable, timeless and economic. That might possibly be true for logos that represent organisations that have, by their nature, to be devoid of any personality – such as law firms and accountants – but that would make for very anodyne brands for most other organisations.
To be economic and adaptable in the way suggested means making an identity as simple as possible and taking out any meaning. It takes us back to before the 1960s when most identities were just about names and conveyed no sense of any brand values or personality. Great for the advertising agencies because they could be employed to put the meaning in. So the Nike swoosh held up as the epitome of a great and timeless identity only becomes so with continuous exposure through advertising and celebrity endorsement. Take that away and one would be hard pressed to know what sort of organisation it represented.
Museums and, indeed, other organisations, do need to express a personality and need to appeal to the broadest cross-section of society. An identity can make all the difference between a museum being viewed as a depository of rather boring artefacts and as a place of enlightenment and delight. The Minale Tattersfield identities for the London Transport Museum and Royal Armouries Museum did communicate excitement and a sense of what was on show. The brand guideline manuals showed how they could be adapted and suited to all sorts of different applications, advertising and temporary exhibitions. Examples of the adaptability of these identities, as taken from the manual, can be seen on our website blog. Economic they probably were not, but so what?
In our view the primary requisite of an identity is to communicate elements of the brand, both functional and emotional. The book Deconstructing Logo Design by Matthew Healey sets out very clearly what the author believes the criteria for logo design should be. In fact, a review of his book is also provided on the blog page of our website.
We would agree with Healey’s criteria and following them will result in an identity that imparts information, personality, uniqueness and superiority. As a brand consultancy, we feel that is what our clients pay us to create.
John Lovell, Client services director, Minale Tattersfield & Partners, The Poppy Factory, Richmond, Surrey TW10 6UR