Saturday, June 9, 2012

Intelligent Copying

Good Designers Copy, Great Designers Steal -- Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso, the first living artist to be featured in the Louvre, influenced the artistic world in a uniquely original way. Then why would someone as original as Picasso say something as ironic as that? And what did he mean? There are a plenty of opinions and interpretations as to what he really meant.

What Picasso did mean was that great artists rummage through the great junk heap of lost, bypassed, and forgotten ideas to find the rare jewels, and then incorporate such languishing gems into their own personal artistic legacy. Picasso implied that great artists don’t get caught stealing because they transform so thoroughly into their own persona, that everyone ends up thinking the great idea was theirs in the first place. To summarize in one sentence: copy the inspiration, not the outcome.

A wonderful example of intelligent copying would be the logo of Bajaj Auto.
If you carefully analyze, it closely resembles a rotated version of the very famous Volkswagen (VW) Logo. Volkswagen is a German automobile manufacturer and the original and biggest-selling brand of the Volkswagen Group, which now also owns the Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Ducati, Lamborghini, SEAT, 49.9% of Porsche, Giugiaro, and ┼ákoda. Volkswagen has seen a glorious 75 years journey and along with the cars they manufacture, their logo has also seen many stages of evolution.
The present logo (VW) is a perfect example of a Brand Mark Logo (Check out for types of logos). Now, when we consider the Bajaj logo and rotate it clockwise by 90 degrees it almost overlaps with the ‘V’ and ‘W’ of the Volkswagen logo.
It is worth appreciating the logo designers of Bajaj for making an intellectual copy of a strong rival, who cannot claim for what Bajaj have achieved using the logo. To support the theory, if you notice, the text and background colour of the Bajaj logo are just swapped from that of the Volkswagen logo. Bajaj must surely be proud of having a designer who has created a successful and powerful logo simply by looking in a different angle at the already hit logo. Kudos to him!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Types of Logos: Logo-102

Hi friends this is my second post on logos. The first one was a tutorial on designing the logo of ‘Design Club IIT Madras’. I hope you have tried that and learned something out of it. There are no pre-requisites to Logo-102 and there are no tests, quizzes or Endsems. So just sit back, relax and know some facts about logos so that next time when the topic is raised, even you can participate in the discussion.
A logo is the visual representation of a company/brands values, beliefs and functions. It serves as the first recognition point for any entity looking to build awareness of their brand. I prefer calling it the simpler and aesthetic version of something. Instead of having the human mind remember a name or face, a unique and well thought out logo does a much better job. A great example of logo design is the McDonald’s logo, one of the most known logos in the world. It is a brand so powerful, young children instantly recognize the golden arches (some can’t even read). The beauty of the logo lies behind it’s simplicity and use of color which creates an instant visual representation of the corporation. Some people even go as far as to believe that red and yellow elicit hunger. You be the judge on that one.

Today, when I was googling types of logos, I came across many search results which said ‘3 basic type’, ‘5 basic type’ etc. After going through all the posts, I could classify the logos in four basic types. Let us have a look at some examples of each type.

Brandmark Logos

This type of symbol represents the company in a simple but bold manner. Most often represented through an abstract design. Usually, the ideas and concept behind the logo are complex, yet are represented in the simplest form possible. Examples of a brandmark include Shell, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, MSN, Apple etc. The human mind can easily remember a simple form better than a complex one. It is best to use a brandmark symbol if you plan on building a global brand and have the funds to back it up. In order for a symbol to be a truly effective logo, it should conform to these maxims:
  • Instantaneously recognizable.
  •  Memorable.
  • Clarity when reproduced in small sizes.

Wordmark Logos

Wordmark Logos incorporate the brand name into a uniquely styled type font treatment. Type fonts come in thousands of possible variations, shapes, sizes, and styles, each conveying a slightly different impression upon the intended audience. Technology companies usually use this type of logo, as stylized text looks best on electronics and expresses the sophistication of a company. Examples of a wordmark include Google, Sony, Samsung, Microsoft, Coca Cola, Disney, FedEx etc. 

Lettermark Logos

These logos are exclusively typographic. The lettermark uses the company name written out, yet has a symbol representing the company through the use of its initials or the brands first letter. The best usage for this type of logo depends on many different variables such as; the initials can graphically illustrate the company better than the full name, the name is too long, hard to pronounce, or is just not distinct enough to carry its own weight. Some common Examples are HP, IBM, Honda, Hyundai, Suzuki, GE etc. 

Combination Mark

They are combinations of a Brandmark and Wordmark logos. The purpose of the combination mark is to create an identity that embodies a given company through the use of a symbol and type treatment. In certain situations and with proper investment of time & money, a strong combination mark can use its symbol to represent the company without the use of text. Great examples include; Mc Donalds, Mexicana Airlines, Bank of America, AT&T, Pringles etc.