current writings on all things

The Problem with Dimensional Marks

In recent years there has been a growing trend among well-established, large corporations to update their logos or brands. Sometimes this change is justifiable—for example, when merging with another company a changed logo must reflect the qualities of both companies. Most of the time, however, the reasons for an update are asinine. logo_globes   Perhaps a new CEO has been brought on board, and in order to justify both their ego and high salary, their first order of business is to implement a massive, company wide change. Or perhaps it is thought that a new image will bring a failing company or brand back to life. If a company’s core focus of business has changed logo updates are thought to communicate that it is more progressive or cutting edge than before.   Shiny new John Deere logoMost companies fail to realize is that just because a logo or brand is changed or updated doesn’t mean that more people will buy their product or service. The quality of the user’s experience with both it and the company’s representatives influence purchasing decisions. If a product or service is bad, then no amount of improvement with the company’s image will help. A good logo or brand design does not a company make. logo_UPS   The current trend in branding and identity has been to add dimensionality, shininess and reflective qualities to a brand mark or logo. Even brands that had remained unchanged for decades feel prey to the lure of updating—first John Deere introduced their new badge, followed by UPS. The latest and most upsetting victim is the new AT & T mark. Like so many other marks, it has become a three dimensional globe with a generic typeface.   AT&T old and new logosThe problem with adding dimensionality is more a technical issue than anything else. When shown on a television or computer monitor, these new logos look great—print them on paper in anything less than full color, however, and they lose their effectiveness. The new AT&T logo, when printed in two colors on billing statements, ends up looking unrefined like a first or second year design student’s project. Companies should consider testing the new identity in all forms before implementing them. One simple way to do so is print the logo or mark in black and white and then fax it to another machine within the office. If a mark doesn’t translate well after printing it in black and white or faxing it, then  a redesign should be considered.   NOTE: All names, logos and trademarks used are the property of their respective companies and used for illustrative purposes only.   By: Ryan Hembree