Graphic & Logo Design Blog: Main Index
Photograph Credit: https://unsplash.com/kazuend
Thoughts on Logo Design Longevity and Timelessness
One of the topics that a client will bring up prior to the commencement of a project is on Logo Design Longevity and Timelessness. Specifically they'll be hinting that the logo I'll be designing for them survives 5, 10, 15 even 20 years into the future.
No pressure then.
It's actually a reasonable suggestion on the face of it—who wouldn't want the result of any investment to last years into the future—but the more you consider what external factors are against a logo design lasting a decade or more, the harder this'll seem possible.
It often seems a challenge to ensure a logo will last a few years, let alone 5+.
Ensuring logo design longevity is not something that ANY logo designer can predict, let along actually promise to a client. To promise to a client that this new logo design will last 5, 10 or 20 years would be so very wrong on so many levels—would be curious to know if any designer has tried to pull that particular stunt.
The best any logo designer can do is to ensure that at the very start they have a complete and full understanding of: the brief; the company, service, product (or whatever requires the logo design); the branding of direct and indirect competitors; the target audience; being aware of, but not necessarily sucking up to, current logo design trends; and numerous other mitigating factors.
If these points have been adequately factored in, and the designer has delivered a 'fit for purpose' logo and identity design, then this could be considered a job well done.
Even if this is true, no one can predict how long this particular logo design might stay in service for. It might be a 'rad or sick' looking logo, but that doesn't guarantee the longevity of a logo's life span.
Factors Influencing a Logo Designs Longevity, or it's Timelessness
There are a few initial reasons that I can think of in why it would be irresponsible to tell a client you can design a logo that last 'x' amount of years. I'll refer to a fictitious brand called, "Poppycock".
— One of the factors that's mostly out of the control of a logo designer, is if the people behind PoppyCock decide to rename/rebrand/refocus the core of their their business to be nothing about poppies, or cocks.
This would require a logo redesign, and would be something the original logo designer would have been hard pressed to account for (unless one designed a suitably generic or type only logo design, and only then if this is what the client was happy with, and let's not forget said designer might have tried to sell them a more neutral, time lasting type based logo, but the client rejected it. So meta.).
— The arrival of new competing companies can also throw a considerable spanner into the works. If their competing brand shines brighter than PoppyCocks, and their branding is far more audience inviting, then this can have a knock-on effect.
This might result in a subtle brand refresh (not a complete redesign) for PoppyCock sometime in the near future, or it might mean a more detailed analysis of how PoppyCock needs to stand-out above the new competition.
— The company might be scooped up by a larger company, thus seeing the original logo banished in favour of something completely different, or more in line with the new parent companies branding. Again, hard one for a logo designer to predict.
— If the client/board/committee had 'pushed' for a certain style of design that leaned heavily towards current logo design trends, and was against the wise advice of their logo designer, then this could likely end up being relatively short lived.
Especially so if PoppyCock was a product where it's UPS (Unique Selling Point) was a product based on longevity, then well…
There are a few ways a logo designer can try to ensure a certain logo design has more longevity over that of another style of design, but even this doesn't mean it's immune to external factors mentioned above.
Some of the methods employed to try to increase logo design longevity and timelessness might be to under-design, than over-design.
By this I mean: to decrease the chance of a style of design becoming a victim of an inadvertent design trend (you might accidentally create a style of logo that becomes a trend without meaning too, and thus becoming a victim of it's own success!) a few years down the road.
The more neutral a design is, the less chance it has of becoming victim of a flash-in-the-pan trend, and an example of this might be a typography based logo design, or a simple but strong logo mark.
This doesn't mean boring, bland or a lack of imagination from the designer. It just means that the accompanying identity ideally needs more substance/personality to it (requiring just as much imagination, if not more, from the designer), thus creating strength through the whole brand identity, rather than the logo taking a lot of the weight.
More In Conclusion
So when a client asks me how long my logo design will last them, or they specially ask that the logo last 'x' amount of years, I generally have a pretty good explanation to hand of why this isn't probably going to be possible.
Ultimately though, I always ‘try’ to design-in longevity and timelessness by not being overly dependant on current design trends, and to ensure I've a complete handle on the brief, and trying not to be 'directed' in inappropriate directions by the client.
That's about as ‘responsible’ as one can get.
Googles Alphabet Logo - My Review
Googles Alphabet logo (Googles new holding company) is very nice. Visit the following link for even more insightful comments about Alphabet's logo: Google Announces It’s All Grown-Up With Alphabet’s New Logo
The Pantone Cafe on Monaco's Beach
CONCEPT: "From 14 July to 9 September, the esplanade of the Grimaldi Forum will host the first colorful Pantone & Cafe.
Pantone no introduction. In 1963, Lawrence Herbert, Pantone founder created an innovative system of identification, color communication and correspondence in order to solve the problems associated with producing accurate color in the graphic arts community.
Since, Pantone has evolved and collaborates with various industries in the world of fashion, design, art, painting, technology ... His strong concept is recognized and implemented internationally. It combines perfectly with the cultural place that is the Grimaldi Forum.
Especially during the famous summer themed exhibitions."
I still can't make up my mind if all these Pantone themed establishments is bordering on the naff, or actually really very cool. Not having been to either, I guess I should reserve judgment until I have.
it's worth remembering how established Pantone is given it's been around since the 1950's, so this relatively slow trickle of significant Pantone theme offerings, can be viewed in context. colour is life, and colour creates beauty, energy and passion. So mix all that with coffee, and surely that's a recipe for success.
Found via Brand Channel: Pantone Adds a Vibrant Swatch of Color to New Café in Monaco
The Pantone Cafe Menu
Pantone Cafe, totally ephemeral, will be open from breakfast with coffee and croissants and will, throughout the day, drinks, sandwiches, focaccia, snacks and Italian ice creams.
Packaging: The Cheeky Reality
What I particularly love about this post: How Packaging Works, over on Jonhson Ban's blog, is how there is absolutely no write-up, no text, no copy, no written explanation or opinion.
These photographs clearly show the reality behind some types of product packing.
The 'packing' of certain brands of crisps have always bothered me. A normal size crisp bag, full of air and less than half full (often one third full) of crisps.
In this case for me, the obvious excess of 'air' and lack of content when you rip the back open, and the air escapes, makes me feel I'm being ripped off, rather than doing the opposite of trying to make me feel I'm getting value for my money.
Some, even many, brands are able to achieve the balance of product and packaging quite well, or at least to a point where you don't feel you are being obviously ripped off. However, some do make you wonder about the blatant attempt to pull the wool over our eyes, and to make 'less seem more', even though it often feels the complete opposite to what they are trying to achieve. To the extent if can feel really quite patronising.
And we end with natures own efficient and 'packing' of a banana.
Penguin Books Logo Design Evolution
Recently Penguin Books celebrated the 80th anniversary of it's very popular range of paperback books.
Like many famous logos with such a long history, Penguin Books logo has seen a number of relatively 'subtle' design changes in it's 80 years of fronting the Penguin brand.
Worth a Read:
Evolution of the Penguin logo via The Book of Paperbacks (1981) by Piet Schreuders. pic.twitter.com/ryHEb0teD8
— John Coulthart (@johncoulthart) July 30, 2015