/ LOGOS: Three Hits, One Big Miss

Everyone knows that logos can make a critical and lasting impact. Very often a company’s image is a direct reflection of its logo. So, let’s see what makes a logo memorable and discuss why it’s so important for a company.

Briefly, there are five pivotal factors concerning logos:

Simplicity — a good logo is distinctive, practical and simple.

Delivery — the purpose of a logo is to deliver a clear, concise message.

Longevity — an effective logo should endure for 10, 20 years or more.

Flexibility — the logo should be functional and able to work across a variety of mediums and applications.

Visibility — a good logo combines shapes and typefaces with maximum visual impact.

The Cost of a Logo

Some of the most famous logos of all time have been created for next to nothing, while huge sums have been paid for others. For example, in 1971, Nike cofounder, Phil Knight, asked Carolyn Davidson, a design student at Portland State University to create a logo. He paid her $35. This iconic logo has remained unaltered since that time. Knight subsequently gave Davidson shares in the company — now worth $600,000.

Both the Google logo designed by cofounder Sergey Brin in 1998 and the Coca-Cola logo created by the founder’s bookkeeper, Frank Robinson, cost exactly nothing to create.  On the other hand, Pepsi’s 2008 rebranding cost a cool $1 million for a complete branding package.

Three Redesign Hits

A company’s logo is a powerful part of their corporate identity. But, sometimes logos need a makeover. Let’s take a look:

Kentucky Fried Chicken has changed its logo four times in 40 years and, with each redesign, it becomes more about Colonel Sanders. The current logo has bold colors and lines, which makes it visually striking. And, instead of a suit, the colonel now wears an apron.

Starbucks celebrated its 40th year in 2011 by rolling out a new logo. This meant it had to update 16,500 stores. The distinct mermaid logo speaks for itself.

Apple’s logo was designed in 1976 by Ronald Wayne, the third cofounder of Apple. The logo depicted Isaac Newton sitting under a tree, an apple dangling over his head. Wayne left Apple after 12 days and sold out to Jobs/Wozniak for $800. Four years later, Apple made 300 people millionaires.

In 1977, Jobs had graphic designer Rob Janoff design a new logo with a “bite” (making it an apple, not a tomato). The multicolored Apple was used for 20 years before it was axed by Jobs after his return to the company in 1997. The new monochromatic logo is still in use. It’s perfect for branding Apple’s products.

One Big Miss

When Gap released its new logo in 2010, it was a huge disaster. The old logo was in use for over 20 years. There was a major negative backlash which resulted in 5,000 comments on Gap’s Twitter page. It only got worse because Gap chose to remain silent about the whole issue. Shortly afterward, the new logo was ditched and the old one reinstated.

Gap president, Marka Hansen, was fired after the redesign fiasco. She had been with the company 24 years.



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