I met an ex-colleague from my previous ad agency a few days back. And we exchanged a few gossips going around in agency circles. It was nice to know what’s happening with our friends and some popular agencies. Amidst all this, we had some fun talking about logos and clients. He being a Client Service guy always tries to tell that it is not the logo that matters finally, but the service you provide. And I agree with him to an extent. Better to have good business with a bad logo rather than good logo with no business.
But certainly a logo IS important as it creates an image and a brand identity in the minds of people (who may later become your clients or customers).
So what makes a good logo?
A logo must be simple, timeless and instantly recognizable. Most importantly, a logo must have a meaning. As any designer would agree, a logo must not be dependent on color or 3D shading. And it should look good today and 50 years from now. This is possible by using simple geometric shapes and/ or simple contours creatively.
A couple of months back, I wrote a post titled Out with the old, in with the new. It was really nice to read your comments and opinions. Let us look into a few more logo redesigns that have taken place recently:
At first look, this was what I felt: name has moved, bridge has been simplified, execution is pleasant, but am I seeing a hand with fingers sticking up? That was the first thing I noticed.
The new logo (designed by Joe Finocchiaro and Jerry Kuyper) is more consumer friendly than its predecessors. The old logo seemed somewhat rigid. This one is catchier. The number of bars on the bridge has fallen from 20 to 9. They have had their hard edges removed and a soft blue colour (Pantone 7477) substituted for aquamarine. The red (Pantone 187) goes well with it too. The typeface (Cisco and Cisco Serif) is fatter, more approachable and far superior to the earlier ones.
Good to see the bridge-in a-box idea dumped in favour of a more integral symbol-enhanced word mark, putting the emphasis on the brand’s greatest asset, the Cisco name. Gone is the intimidating word ‘SYSTEMS’. Now it’s just Cisco, very prominently showcased in red, thus making it the focal point in the logo. Effect: The eye travels first to the name, then to the bridge (which is a secondary element).
A bit of a trivia about the name: My friend’s dad, into his 70s, settled in the US, gets confused with CISCO and Sysco – the latter is a US company that sells frozen foods to restaurants. The name “Cisco” is not an acronym, but an abbreviation of San Francisco. According to John Morgridge, the company’s first president, the founders hit on the name and logo while driving to Sacramento to register the company — they saw the Golden Gate Bridge framed in the sunlight.
This logo looks very Japanese to me. Red and black are dominant Japanese colours, and the J has a nice thick-to-thin, almost calligraphic brush-like feel. Looks like the ‘tiny box’ is supposed to represent a mirror within a camera. It reminds me of the ‘S’ in Microsoft logo.
I feel the previous logo (used for 26 years since it was introduced in 1980) was stronger, and much more memorable. With some updating, I think it could have been modernized successfully. I’m surely going to miss the old film box. I always thought it was a cool typographic treatment.
There’s a slight tinge of irony when you look at the latest Fiat logo: it bears a close resemblance to the one designed for the Fiat 524 of 1931, which remained in use until 1968. (The ’30s logo was the first to use a rectangular logo that blended into the new grille, in the shape of a shield with vertical elements.)
Fiat explains this resemblance by saying that the new logo is “designed to convey ongoing change, a sign of the past re-written in a modern key, which is particularly representative of Fiat today, a brand which is focused towards the challenges of the future, but also proud of its historical identity”.
The new logo looks modern with colour gradients, the inner vertical hatch and the edge design define a style that seems to follow the recent trends of digital graphics. The logo has a Web 2.0 feel to it.
According to HP, the name ‘Compaq’ comes from ‘Compatibility’ and ‘Quality.’ Compaq’s current logo has more personality and looks stylish, and contemporary. It is a combination of C and Q, which resembles a thought bubble.
The new logo still uses the original Compaq red but with a sci-fi looking font. The Q is the highlight of the logo, and may be Compaq will use it independently on their machines and people will know which company it is from.