For those of us who have been glued to the television all week watching the London 2012 Olympics, here’s a little quiz to do during commercial breaks. According to modern Olympic tradition, the host country for the Games is responsible for creating an emblem to be used on promotional materials, by sponsors of the Olympics, and on the uniforms of every Olympic competitor. Over the decades, these logos have integrated the cultural symbols and patterns, national colors and artistic styles of the host country into the design. See if you can name the year and location for each of these emblems. A bonus point if you can recite the Olympics motto. Click “Read More” for answers.
A logo is widely considered the most important visual expression of retail brands, corporations and institutions. The symbol is a graphic “stand-in” for the entity, communicating its personality and values through a unique and memorable combination of colors, shapes and typography. The latest episode of PBS’s Off Book web series explores “The Art of Logo Design,” with designers Stephen Heller, Sagi Haviv of Chermayeff & Geismar, Kelli Anderson, and Gerard Huerta commenting on the role of logos today.
These viral videos are actually ads for New Era Cap Company, which is the exclusive manufacturer and marketer of caps for all U.S. major league baseball teams, minor affiliates and more than 200 U.S. colleges and universities. The videos don’t mention headwear until the close, but viewers recognize the rivalry, antics, jabs and banter of sport fanatics just by seeing the logo on the caps. The Chicago Cubs and White Sox caps make clear each wearer’s team loyalties and “tribal ” identifications.
Starring popular character actors Craig Robinson and Nick Offerman, the series of video ads are hilarious – and probably very close to reality. The ads follow on the heels of another Brooklyn Brothers ad series for New Era, starring actors Alec Baldwin and John Krasinski and the rivalry between the Yankees and Red Sox.
Pentagram, the international design consultancy, celebrated its 40th anniversary this year with a stop-motion video, narrated by a voice that sounds somewhat like the Dos Equis “most interesting man in the world.”
“The Forty Story” is a tale of a boy born on the day that Pentagram opened its doors in London, and shows how his life has been impacted by 40 years of Pentagram design. To chronologically (more or less) knit together a small sampling of Pentagram’s amazingly diverse body of work, the storyline veers wildly, starting out by claiming the boy was born in a BP petrol station, walking in Clarks shoes by age 1, shaving with a disposable razor by age 3, publishing poems about Pirelli tires with a Parker Pen by age 6, and acclaimed by Reuters as a lad before being panned by Italy’s 24 Ore and resorting to antidepressants. The story goes on until he finds love and contentment, with Pentagram’s portfolio of projects flashing across the screen.
The script was written by Naresh Ramchandani and Tom Edmonds, directed by Christian Carlsson, with titles by John Rushworth.
Congratulations on your first 40 years, Pentagram! May your next 40 years be just as stellar.
What does a mascot say about a brand? Do manly brand mascots convey qualities that build consumer confidence, likeability, and trust? See if you can identify these brand icons and the product each represents. Then consider what attribute they evoke – tough, unflappable, suave, protective, devil-may-care, jovial, helpful, fearless — and decide whether he is the right guy for the job. See answers after the jump.
Lately street banners with a logo of the Golden Gate Bridge have been popping up all over San Francisco to mark the 75th birthday of the city’s most beloved icon. Designed by Studio Hinrichs, the anniversary logo features the Bridge’s familiar vermillion red (aka International Orange) color, its soaring 746-foot-high tower and the Art Deco-styled sunburst border of the rivets that bolt the Bridge together. Applied to everything from signage to souvenir merchandise, the 75th anniversary logo was created to work in one-, two- and four- colors and remain crisp whether etched onto glass, cast in metal, or stitched on fabric. Along with the logo medallion, Kit designed a special Bridge typeface, called Golden Gate Girder, for a commemorative poster, single alphabet letter keychains and other uses.
Corporate mar-com managers, ad agencies and designers talk endlessly about “their brand” — building a brand, protecting a brand, creating brand distinctions, proving brand integrity, winning brand loyalty, etc.
The world’s top brands will attract consumers who trust that any products that bear their name and logo is reputable, and they will aggressively pursue any entity that tries to knock-off or pirate their brand or in anyway damage their brand’s reputation or steal their market through misleading lookalikes. That is why NBA superstar Michael Jordan recently sued Chinese sportswear and shoe manufacturer Quiodan (the way Jordan is pronounced in Chinese) for using his name and playing number without authorization. Jordan makes a compelling case for why this isn’t simply about the misuse of his name but about infringing on the proprietary rights of a respected global brand.
Car emblems have existed almost from the inception of automobiles. Early cars had radiator caps that rested on top of the hood. At least one automaker got the idea of turning the cap into a hood ornament. Soon every automaker had an emblem or mascot adorning the hood of their car. In addition to giving the vehicle a decorative flourish, the emblem served as a brand identifier. Early carmakers based their designs on everything from national flags, family crests, coat of arms, constellation of stars, and animals that embodied the traits they admired. Today with the profile of cars looking so much alike, the emblem is often the only way we can identify the maker. See if you can recognize these. (Answers on the next page.)
This is just too cute! When Cincinnati-based graphic designer Adam Ladd asked his 5-year-old daughter to identify some famous logos, he got back some astute answers. This is a very observant little girl who was more spontaneous, perceptive and honest than any focus group.
More4, a digital television channel in the UK run by British broadcaster Channel 4, has a new brand identity and on-air look. Channel 4’s communications company, 4Creative, teamed with design and motion studio, ManvsMachine, to create a flexible logo that morphs from one triangle of color into another through a series of flips, folds and reveals.
Inspired by the intriguing ever-changing logo, 4Creative saw its possibilities as installation art and collaborated with Jason Bruges Studio and students from Middlesex University to design and build over 400 individual flipper units that would work together as a single mechanical system. The three-dimensional piece was set up in different environmental settings –- an interior staircase, an abandoned fishing boat on Dungeness Beach, a tree trunk in Victoria Park –- and filmed on location. It made for a memorable on-air debut of More4’s new identity. It also is further evidence that logos are not static graphic forms anymore. In the digital age, more and more logos are designed to be interactive, dimensional and animated.
Since the DC Comics logo (the DC stands for Detective Comics) first appeared in April 1940, it has gone through more quick changes than Superman — four logo revisions in the 1970s alone. Now DC Comics has unveiled yet another logo update. This time designed by Landor Associates.
The new logo, which launches in March, shows the “D” peeling back to reveal the hidden “C,” suggesting the dual identity of the DC Entertainment superheroes. Designed to look three-dimensional and be adaptable to different media, the new logo allows for color changes and texture and image changes within the “C.” It is easily animated and quickly customizable too.
Extending a brand into global markets isn’t a straightforward process. Product makers have to consider all kinds of cultural and language barriers. Can the letterforms be read? Can the name be pronounced? Does it have a pleasing or harsh sound when spoken? Does the name mean something else in another language? (An example is the famous case of the Chevy Nova, which in Mexico translates to “doesn’t go.”) Then there is the challenge of trying to maintain some graphic consistency so the brand is truly global and not the same product that looks different in every regional market.
Consider how Carlsberg Beer and Coca-Cola graphically translated their logotypes into multiple languages, for example. LogoDesignLove brought the Carlsberg comparisons to our attention. With Carlsberg, note the way that the designers tried to carry over the signature style of the brand — the flat-top squared-off “C,” tri-leaf accent pattern, the swash decorative flourish under the type, the brushstroke-like serif on the last “r.” Although the letterforms differ dramatically from language to language, the various logotypes have a family look that suggests their roots stem from the original Danish Carlsberg logo.
Manchester-based Music has rebranded Chester Zoo in Chester County, England, by creating a Crayon-colored typeface and logotype that look like they were drawn and embellished by a child — or a clever chimpanzee.
Playful, uninhibited and gleeful, the letterforms, created in collaboration with illustrator Adam Hayes, look like they were done in the wild with crude implements, away from digital devices that would edit out quirks and enforce uniformity. Free-wheeling details spring out of letterforms suggesting that these characters exist outside of captivity. As individually distinct as the letters are, collectively they make up a cohesive font available in four weights and upper and lower case. If animals had opposable thumbs and were able to hold a crayon to create their own font, this is probably how they would describe the Chester Zoo environment — relaxed, happy and free to be who they are.
There is more than eye-catching design to the ICC Cricket World Cup logo created for the matches to be held in Australia and New Zealand in 2015. When invited to produce the logo for the 2015 match, the international agency, FutureBrand, turned to the Australian graphic consultancy, Jumbana Group, Balarinji, to imbue it with cultural motifs significant to the indigenous people of the two neighboring countries. The result was the player’s torso made of the Maori Infinity Twist pattern representing the joining together of peoples and cultures in bonds of friendship and loyalty, and the legs and bat incorporating a familiar Aboriginal motif. Together the logo design is meant to symbolize toughness, glory, resilience and connection. And it was meant to be memorable, which it is.
Since 1998, Google has been regularly posting doodle logos on its homepage, which is why today it put up a playable and recordable tribute to guitarist Les Paul on what would have been his 96th birthday.
The custom reputedly started when Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin designed and posted a doodle of the Burning Man Festival in 1998 to alert users of their absence in case the servers crashed. Since then, doodle logos have appeared to honor the birthdays of famous figures from Gandhi and John Lennon to Michael Jackson and Edvard Munch and to celebrate significant holidays and events worldwide. Lately the doodle logos have become more elaborate. On February 8, Google ran an interactive doodle honoring sci-fi writer Jules Verne’s 183rd birthday, and on April 15th, it commemorated Charlie Chaplin’s 122nd birthday with its first video doodle. As far as we know, the homage to Les Paul is the first playable doodle. As if we don’t have enough reason to go to Google; now it’s to check out its doodle logo for the day.