The ever evolving logo landscape

I love to talk branding, and consider myself somewhat of an expert on the topic. But there’s arguably no greater expert on the subject than Pentagram partner Michael Bierut. This short YouTube video presents four logo structures:

  1. The wordmark
  2. Pictoral
  3. Abstract iconography
  4. The logo system

Mr. Bierut recently recently sat down with 99% Invisible’s Roman Mars to discuss how he employed the logo system structure for the Obama and Clinton presidential campaigns, and how the rise of social media and online publishing has made way for widespread criticism of big brands.  Listen here, or download the podcast to your favourite mobile app.

A new brand: Mennonite Brethren Church of Manitoba

MBCM Business Card

The objective:

June 2012: When envisioning the MBCM logo, we attempted to stay connected to what had already been established and accepted by the conference, while making a bold step in a new direction. The new logo should be easily transferable across media – The icon can be reduced to fit standard social media avatars without loss of readability.

On concept:

The interwoven letters give a glimpse at the cross. They move around and between one another—representing diverse projects, people and backgrounds—centralized by the cross. Pairing an acronym with the full name is not unusual in logo design. Given that we would link this signature to departments and ministry units, and often tie it to a tagline (or focus theme), we chose to not include an independent icon. Instead we made the acronym itself the icon– the fear being that adding too many elements to the brand mark would water it down or complicate it. Simple is always better.

On process:

MBCM Sub-brand marksWe wanted the icon to take on a life of its own: To move in different directions and intertwine–each letter playing off the next. The primary version uses an expansive palette, with gradients and blends that convert dimension and shape. Admittedly, this primary version may not be proper for all uses, so the mark has been designed so that it can work effectively in single colour, or any combination of flat colours. This was designed to be flexible and used in various ways Anatomy of the MBCM logo The MBCM logo is built on geometric shape and pattern. The bottom-left square is repeated throughout as a graphic element, but also as a division of forms. This provides defined balance and weight. Anatomy of the MBCM logo

On typography:

Novocento is a newcomer to the type world. It’s bold face has a retro feel, but it’s definitely not Arial. It’s sharp lines and symmetric bowls and lines give balance and stability. It has been highly customized for the acronym icon.

On colour:

The MBCM primary palette is composed of 4 vibrant colours: Green, orange, soft and royal blue. They are blended together as part of the primary logo’s icon. There are 8 secondary colours (including black and white) that complete the full MBCM colour pallet, and support the MBCM visual identity. MBCM colour swatches The full palette is extensive and provides a ready-made scheme for any and all future marketing materials. It also accommodates potential expansion of programs and projects that fall under the Manitoba conference.

On delivery:

MB Church Manitoba unveiled their new brand during their November 2013 Church Assembly. Since then it has been applied to stationery and event marketing materials. In March 2013, they launched a responsive website designed and developed by SamsonStudios. MBCM.ca

The National Geographic brand is built to last

National Geographic's iconic yellow box

National Geographic (NG) understands branding. And here’s why:

They stick to the basics: Notice the 3 elements that make-up the magazine cover:

  • Signature nameplate (Typography – A condensed Times New Roman)
  • Signature colour (yellow)
  • Signature shape (rectangle)

(Here’s a fourth: Amazing photography)

NG has leveraged their signature yellow border across multiple global publications, their television channel, the web and as the central graphic for the NG Society’s logo. It’s everywhere. It also helps that they’ve maintained this icon for the better part of the 20th century, and of course,  into the early decades of this century.

Longevity and consistency will do a lot for a brand. they’re the keys to establishing successful brand recall.

Start-ups with a long-term vision and patience will win the day.

What’s your story?

Your story is your brand

Chances are, anyone who visits your website already has a pretty good idea what your business does. What it sells, what services you offer, and perhaps even what it costs. What they’re looking for, is why they should buy it from you. Continue reading What’s your story?

State of DesignBusiness, 2011

Like many other bloggers, I’d like to close the year out by looking back on 2011. Here’s how I fared:

Dropped goals

I’d hoped to post more frequently in 2011. The 3.6 posts per month in 2010 saw a slight bump to 4.9 per month in 2011. I’d have preferred to write a couple of posts per week, but alas life got in the way again. I’d also set a goal to reach 100 posts by the end of the year, but I fell short by nine. These are meager goals for most bloggers, so I’m pretty disappointed in my output. Continue reading State of DesignBusiness, 2011