This is Michael Bierut.
“I’m Michael Beirut. I’m a graphic designer”
You might be familiar with his work ,
he thinks that logos are just kind of overrated.
“I’m actually often very ambivalent about them.”
Let’s back out a second. What is a logo?
Basically a face of a company.
“Some are beloved.
Some… the swastika is a logo and it’s reviled. You know?”
They have to work at tiny sizes, and huge.
There are three specific types.
First type is the Wordmark.
“the wordmark is the easiest one.
And it’s the one we’re all the most familiar with.
I mean John Hancock’s signature is kind of a word mark.
It can look crisp clean and modern
like the new Google logo looks.
Or it can look somehow that it has roots and a shared heritage
the way the coca cola logo looks. You know?”
The second is PICTORAL.
“Pictoral logos often function as a kind of rebus.
It’s a picture, and you will say it wasn’t a picture
and it’s sort of is identifying the name of the company.
Sometimes directly like Target.
Sometimes more indirectly like LaCoste.”
The third kind is kind of the holy grail.
“It’s everyone’s favorite kind of category
because it just seems almost like magic.”
As a designer,
people will come to me and they’ll say
I want something like the Nike swoosh.
They think the Nike swoosh was
the Nike Swoosh the day it was drawn.
But it was nothing the day it was drawn.”
The company that birthed nike commissioned
a design student named Carolyn to draw some ideas.
And the Nike founders didn’t really like it.
“They sort of said awww let’s use that one.”
It wasn’t like an overnight success.
And then they started putting it on the sides of shoes.
The shoes were good
and then the genius of Nike’s marketing apparatus
made us further associate that product not merely with performance athletic gear
but with the very idea of athletic achievement itself.
And that’s how over a long time a little mark means something big.
“That’s exactly how religious symbols work –
it’s obviously not just anything inherent in these shapes,
but it’s about what those shapes have come to represent in the minds
of the people who are looking at them.”
But there’s a fourth type of logo
that goes beyond these three types,
and can use elements of each of them:
The Logo System.
A graph of framework,
but one that can have endless permutations.
The first giganticly, popular example of the logo system would be MTV.
But google’s daily “doodles” are another great example of the logo system .
A familiar mark that also can point to other ideas and issues.
This approach all has to do with technological change.
“It used to be if a company was doing a logo
there’d be this military operation
by which it would be inscribed on all their equipment
and on their airplanes and their retail facilities
and gold pins and cufflinks would be made for the executive suite
and put on spitoons in ashtrays,
the top of the skyscraper,
and everyone’s business card. Right?
Nowadays none of that’s important as an email signature
or your twitter avatar
or the little thing that sits next to your URL.
Those things are much more ubiquitous
and they can be changed at the drop of a hat.”
Bierut used this system approach for his Hillary Clinton logo.
“we wanted to have a mark that could reflect the electorate,
and reflect the issues.
The simple forms that comprise the H with the arrow in it
are actually designed to hold not just two colors say red and blue,
but any colors you want”
The use of logo systems seems to be continually on the upswing now
probably because it allows the the brand using it
to expand the conversation beyond it’s own name.
“The logo really reminds people that’s what our priority is today.”
But at the end of the day, regardless of the shape, style of the system,
但归根结底 无论什么形状 风格或样式
it might not matter what your logo is.
“It really is about thinking of these symbols as being empty vessels in a way.
And then you pour the meaning into them.
So what’s this all add up to?
Basically, those fights people get in about new logos are pretty misguided.
“They think they’re judging a diving competition,
but actually all these organizations are in swimming competitions.
It’s not what kind of splash you make when you hit the water.
It’s about how long you can keep your head above that water.”
Logos need to have a long life,
not win points in a discussion.
12 years after the birth of the nike logo,
Nike came back to that graphic design student Carolyn with a gift
“A Nike ring with her own trademark on it, the swoosh.
Thank you very much it’s beautiful.”
And an undisclosed amount of Nike stock.
In 1937 when it was designed,
her pay was 35 dollars.
This is Michael Bierut.