DuetsBlog Collaborations in Creativity & the Law
  • http://uk.linkedin.com/in/interacter Neil Hopkins

    Or, on the flip side – does it ever make sense?
    What is your context around the question? Without knowing that, it’s difficult to think up the answer!
    Neil

  • http://dk.linkedin.com/in/martinlasthein Creative Director Martin Lasthein

    When you have an unforgettable name.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kitt-depatie/12/474/768 Kitt Depatie

    but a really good logo (because we are such a visual society) can never hurt your brand, hard to say if there is ever a time when it is not necessary..

  • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/shefali-arora/2/585/628 Shefali Arora

    A logo can be substituted with a very strong brand imagery for e.g. in case of Geico you recall the lizard and not the logo, or the Marlborough man and countless other brands that have a higher recall for the image they created than for a logo. However running a brand just on its image recall always runs the risk of being copied. A logo helps to copyright a brands image and therefore most brands don’t go without it.

  • http://www.duetsblog.com/steve-baird.html Steve Baird

    Neil, seems like most companies have been conditioned to believe they need a logo as part of their branding, and some professionals recently have argued that logos are dead, so my proposed context is really to approach it from a middle ground and ask what kinds of circumstances might weigh for or against the adoption and use of logos.
    Martin, I like your response, makes sense to me, maybe Google qualifies, and as far as I can tell, Google is logo-less.
    Kitt, that makes sense to me too, I guess the critics might question the time, cost, and expense associated with a logo if it cannot be justified from a business perspective, something along the lines of a cost benefit analysis to justify the logo in the first place.
    Shefali, I like your Geico example, technically the image is a “gecko” according to Geico’s trademark filings in the USPTO: http://tarr.uspto.gov/servlet/tarr?regser=serial&entry=77792388 . Having said that, Geico seems to rotate among several images (Gecko, Caveman, and Eyeball Money), so I can’t help but wonder how those images convey a consistent brand image, any thoughts anyone?

  • Shefali Arora

    Stephen, I totally agree with you on that one. I’d love to see a brand so strong in it’s imagery or experience that it has no need for a logo. More power to advertising, and thanks for a great idea, it could set a trend.

  • Kitt Depatie

    I was thinking of Google as well but then look at all the cool things google does with its logo. And would we understand the essence of google without the logo? It gives it it’s personality.
    Have you seen the new Melbourne logo? Does a city need a logo? I would say it is a great marketing opportunity as well as giving it a memorable image brand. Of course being a graphic designer I am always attracted to anything type, color and design.
    http://www.linkedin.com/news?viewArticle=&articleID=149365131&gid=66048&type=member&item=24503954&articleURL=http%3A%2F%2Fworthlookingat%2Etumblr%2Ecom%2Fpost%2F677874085%2Fmodern-melbourne&urlhash=CmL-&goback=%2Egde_66048_member_24503954
    My feeling about logos is, they should speak for you and your company when you are not available. So if you cant’ be around all the time, better have some images to do the heavy lifting.

  • Kitt Depatie

    one more thought..if your designer does a really good job with your logo (justifying the time and money) it can set the direction for the rest of your marketing. It will give you “the LOOK” for everything else you do, web site. signage, maybe even your building design.
    sky the limit!

  • Neil Hopkins

    Hi Stephen
    Have been having a further thought about this over night and have something else to wing into the discussion.
    A logo is a representation of a brand. If we go back to the beginning – a brand was a marker placed on cattle to identify them as belonging to a particular farmer/ranch.
    All language is nothing more than a collection of symbols. The Egyptians used something far more pictorial back in the day, but essentially all of the characters in our language are symbols which differentiate one word from another and help the viewer to understand what’s going on. (I understand, but have no detailed knowledge, that Chinese (or maybe Japanese) is still a largely symbolic character set so the theory still holds true in certain language )
    So a logo can therefore be a word. In the case of Google, it’s clearly identifiable. While they have not got an ‘image’ as more people would understand, their name is written in a particular font and using a particular set of colours.
    If you were to see the name printed out on a wall but had left your glasses at home/screwed up your eyes, you probably would recognise it through the synergy of colouration and typeface.
    This is, to my mind, therefore a logo. When you see it, you know to whom it belongs even if you can’t read the writing (or in fact, if you’re colour-blind – the typeface alone should be enough). Even though it is a word on its own it is essentially a picture.
    Most logos are unchanging (OK I know that Google swaps their web logo every now and again for special purposes, but that’s part of their branding – i.e. being playful and cheeky).
    I would suspect that the typeface you use on corporate letters is also unchanging to ensure that all communications from your company look professional and corporate.
    Therefore, using the Google analogy, your company name, in a specific typeface, could be deemed to be a logo.
    It is, after all, how your clients will recognise you (if you haven’t got your name on your company letter head, how will they know that it is from you?).
    Thus, a logo.
    OK I know some of that may seem a stretch but I think that it is true.
    I suspect that the people talking about the death of a logo are talking about a singular pretty graphic which sits alongside your company name.
    Even then, I don’t believe that this is truly dead. Visual communications are just as important as written ones and a logo (brand on a cow) is a quick, easy way for the consumer to understand who owns the product etc.
    Just a few over night thoughts!

  • Shefali Arora

    Neil, While I like your cattle analogy, are you really saying you would not recognize a brand without a logo? How about – not recognizing a person who doesn’t have a signature?
    Yes, I agree advertising is the art of creating vivid imagery in order to aid high recall, however I disagree that a logo is what defines the brand. Just like you remember a person by it’s traits, characteristics, unique personality, so do you a brand. A logo is just one of the many symbols that advertisers use to aid recall and characterization and it pretty much plays the role of a signature for the brand. Yet, I think i’d like to recall brands for what they stand for, their unique personality just like I recall human beings.
    ….a good shepherd knows his cows without having to mark them.

  • Kitt Depatie

    of course then they have to be your cows and if they are someone else’s…how will you know?

  • Neil Hopkins

    Hi Shefali
    I agree that a logo is certainly not what defines a brand (I’m an integrated brander by mindset) at all. What I meant is that it is a representation (not necessarily the only one – experience is another for example, as is the way the phone is answered) of the brand.
    And if you send someone a letter, a logo (picture or even the word in a particular corporate typeface) will help to identify your letter from the one your competitor sent – especially if the person receiving the letters is skimming them working out which is the most important to be read first.
    Plus humans are brilliant at spotting and remembering patterns and using these to navigate their way around the universe. Whether it’s the stars, a bent tree, a road sign or a brand, it all helps as a directional signpost to a particular destination.
    But no – the logo is not the brand just as much as the brand is not the logo. It is much more than that…
    I would recognise a person without a signature but might take a few minutes to recognise someone who had changed their personal brand – e.g. hair cut, glasses, beard, weight etc.

  • Shefali Arora

    Beautifully expressed Neil, are you also a copy writer? :-)
    Kitt,
    That’s the challenge, get the consumer to see the brand the way you see it.

  • http://www.45dm.com Karl Schweikart

    When does a stand-alone logo make sense? Only when you’ve spent enough to be sure your audience will have no problem identifying your brand without a name attached. Huge marketing budgets can make sure that happens!
    And to the previous post about “going brand-less,”¬ù every business already has a brand, whether they manage it or not. Brand equals expectation. And having a sign that simply says “Tobacco” can be every bit as effective as having a Golden Arches or the Nike Swoosh – as long as the expectations of consumers are met when they walk through that door to buy smokes or hamburgers or shoes. The only difference is that McDonalds and Nike spend billions managing and massaging expectations and making sure we all know what the Arches and Swoosh stand for, where “Tobacco” gets it for free.

  • http://www.duetsblog.com/steve-baird.html Steve Baird

    Karl, thanks for sharing your insights and perspective.
    Especially good point about brand and expectation.
    I’m left wondering, however, whether the generic “Tobacco” sign can work on a large scale, as the Golden Arches does worldwide.
    Since there is no exclusivity possible for the use of the word “Tobacco” as the name of a smoke shop, it would appear difficult if not impossible for consumers to know whether to have the same expectation as the last trip to a different “Tobacco” smoke shop in another location.
    It seems to me, this may be what demonstrates the need for a unique, distinctive, and protectable retail business name, if there is ever hope for more than one location.