Is the logo dead and gone? In this Brand Era world of ours, this is not an irrelevant question. In fact, many corporate experts on the subject have already held court and passed the sentence. Yes, logos are dead, they say, and the world has chosen a new sweetheart – the brand. Can it really be true that the tried-and-true logo concept is dead and gone?
First of all, not all of us are hip to the corporate jive. The logo is not dead and gone. For that matter, just what is this newcomer Brand Era and why does it have the corporate kingdom of ours in such a tizzy?
All these questions need answering and answer we shall, or at least put in our two cents worth. In this post, we’ll take a brief look at what’s made the logos tick, and stick around, since time immemorial. Then, we’ll turn our attention to this young whippersnapper, the Brand Era, and hopefully discover what it all means to you.
The Logo. The Symbol
Signs and symbols have shaped the entire world around us, since there were humans around to give them meaning. The way we understand our surroundings, the way we negotiate the terms of our very existence is tied to a dizzying array of signs and symbols. In fact, before the written word came, visual communication, etched on papyrus, tapped into stone or burned onto wooden beams. Yes, the logo may have only recently blossomed to prominence in the 20th Century, but it definitely has its roots in ancient times.
With the expanding 20th Century search for corporate identity, logo design began to emerge as the best way to bring a corporation’s mission and relevance into worldwide view. By the turn of the century, logos had evolved to fit new and different cultural and technological settings, and corporations couldn’t get enough. MTV, for example, took its logo to soaring heights, using dynamic shifts in appearance and animated graphics fit for television’s fast pace. All of a sudden, designers realized a trademark could transform into an iconic form of visual communication.
Enter the Brand Era
These days the name of the corporate game is “build your brand” rather than “establish a corporate identity.” As multinationals demanded more, the logo delivered, just as it always has – this time, by transcending almost completely out of the picture. If you take a look at the Nike advertisement below you’ll notice the logo, if you squint a bit. There, sleeping quietly in the corner is the silent message, “Everybody and their grandma’s got a logo these days, You? You need more.”
In today’s corporate culture, brands have a conscience. They can and will think of you if you let them. They’ve taken on a meaning and significance that go far beyond the very thing they’re meant to represent.
What does it mean to You, Really?
It all boils down to one thing: evolution. Just as the logo learned to adapt to changing times and cultural revolutions down through the ages, so too, designers must evolve and step up to the plate. True. The logo is not dead, but equally true. A lone logo just won’t cut it anymore.
Reach further and dig deeper. Designers will have to present the world with transcendent and powerful logos, which are fun and exciting.