Like the sun, Oando’s logo streams its rays that emits an irresistible energy to all its customers. The blend of oval shapes of different colours and sizes has become its signature identity recognised all over. It is easy to tell that the company doesn’t just focus on distributing their products and services but also aims to create long lasting impressions.
Though Oando is an indigenous Oil and Gas Company based in Nigeria, it started out as a petroleum marketing company in 1956 and operated with the name Esso West Africa Incorporated that is a subsidiary of Exxon Corporated of the USA. Ever since, the company has evolved to become one of the largest energy brand in Africa.
The Oando brand has been through numerous rebranding stages from acquisitions to mergers. It is one brand that has experienced and survived many difficult times. Even though it has made tremendous impact in the Nigerian oil and gas sector, the company still works with a view of emerging as a world class brand.
The prestigious brand is known for its bold spirit towards the quest to succeed, the quality of its leadership and its well dug African root. It has consistently communicated its beliefs and values through every medium it has at its disposal. One of the medium it leverages to pass its brand’s message across is its outstanding logo.
The logo, which resembles the sun, symbolises warmth and the dawning of a new era for the organization. The oval shaped elements in various sizes encapsulates the company’s continuous expansion and growth. The elements also expresses the brand’s basic principles of vision, focus, and unity. The different angles of the oval shapes is an impression of movement–movement forward, movement to the future, and the movement of energy.
The company’s corporate colour palette was carefully and deliberately selected to uphold the image and energy that forms its identity. The brand ensures that the colour range and graphic elements remain consistent for all their official use as this has become their corporate signature. The consistency in the colour system is applied in order to establish a distinctive visual language and expression for the brand.
The wordmark is written in Helvetica. This font was chosen for its clean feel and readability, and its honest, open and approachable appeal. The font aligns with the brand’s simplicity, clarity and boldness. Also Helvetica is a contemporary and timeless character which secures the brand’s relevance.
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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Whenever and wherever e-commerce is the subject of discussion, Amazon is one name that would always be mentioned. Without a doubt, it has become an unbeatable name in America and all over the world.
What started out as an online bookstore has grown to encompass the sale of many other items. Its expansion strategy has set it to become one of the world’s leading e-commerce site. Amazon has become a trusted platform for both buyers and sellers who do not hesitate to express their satisfaction with the services rendered.
This air of satisfaction among their clients is one thing Amazon never waste an opportunity to boast about. The attribute of ingenuity in customer’s satisfaction is proudly expressed on the brand’s logo. The simple, yet sophisticated look of the Amazon’s logo now carries with it the story of growth and success of the brand.
When Jeff Bezos, the founder, established his online bookstore first under the name, “Cadabar” in 1994 and a year later changed to Amazon, the logo did not seem as exciting as it is presently. The initial attempts to brand the company and give it a face was not as remarkable or polished as what we have become accustomed to.
The first logo prototype featured the letter “A” boldly designed as a winding river cutting through its silhouette and superimposed on an aquatic background. Though this logo did not sell the brand completely, still it set the sail for the company.
Subsequently, other variations of the first logo were designed. The other logos were experimented with different colour schemes, icon fills and choices of typography. In 1997, the wordmark had extracted the capital “A” icon. This version of the logo had both upper and lowercase.
Amazon took a new direction in 1998 because of its exponential growth. As part of the revolution, the company had to redefine its identity to differentiate it from other online shopping platforms and make it stand out in its industry. Amazon was one of the first e-commerce sites to incorporate one-click shopping and email order verification. The company’s services provided convenience for shoppers with a comprehensive stock of books.
This successful phase extended the company’s model to include an audio library. With over 125,000 titles searchable by artist, song title and label, the music section would debut on Amazon. Following the expansion, there were a series of iterations on the logo to suit the rapid growth of the company.
The iterations would include a lowercase serif logo paired with a book and globe icon. With the future in view, the company’s ambitions were reflected in its new tagline “Books, Music & More” This logo would remain in place until the company had time to expand on the “More” part of the vision. Due to the diversity of the company, more changes were made; this included a sans serif, all-caps wordmark with a large, golden “O” in the middle. This version lasted for only a few months before being redesigned into the sans-serif, lowercase font.
In 2000, Amazon was gaining more visibility but rather than be complacent, Jeff Bezos constantly sought for ways to improve the company while exploring innovative ideas. The company gradually transited from consumable media into almost every product in the planet. To mark this new feat, Bezos desired a new logo – a timeless one that would bear the company’s message. To achieve this, he implored the help of Turner Duckworth, a creative agency that gave the company’s identity a tremendous facelift.
The current emblem came with new success; with the swooping yellow arrow that points from the “a” to the “z” of the logo, which explained the founder’s original plan for Amazon. The shape of the arrow has a round-edged, organic quality, and the right side bends the bottom stem of the “z” upwards. This symbolises a smile to represent the stellar customer experience the company is known for.
Apart from the smile interpretation of the logo, the arrow from “a” to “z” also means that Amazon sell everything from a to z. That is, almost every product can be found on the Amazon store.
The Amazon element is designed with a custom font, which resembles Officina Sans. This font gives the wordmark “amazon” a bold face. The well-crafted wordmark has become a recognisable identifier related to the brand.
Amazon’s logo with no word said, spreads the message behind the brand. At just a glance, it sends signals to each viewer.
The logo also serves as a reminder to both clients and staff. For clients they are assured of having a stress free customer experience whenever they make purchase on the Amazon site, which eventually leaves a smile of satisfaction on their faces. On the other hand, the staff are reminded that they have to ensure that every service or product meets the customer’s taste and satisfy them.
Amazon remains a leader in its industry, a timeless brand, and continues to evolve. From online retail, with everything from ebook readers, to delivery via drones and terrific automated hub that manages its ever-growing inventory of products. The company has never conformed to the norm and has always tied its progress and innovation to its logo and collective ethos that was inspired by the founder.
“We are culturally pioneers. We like to disrupt even our own business. Other companies have different cultures and sometimes do not like to do that. Our job is to bring those industries along.”
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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Have you ever purchased a product after seeing several of its adverts but in the end, it did not meet your expectation? If you have, then you must understand that deep feeling of disappointment that accompanies the irritating feeling of being played and the urge to put that brand on your blacklist of products you would never buy. What would you say went wrong; the over hyped advert or the brand itself?
Recently I had my fair share of disappointment from the dissatisfaction I got after trying a new tissue paper brand. Prior to that time, I had seen some interesting adverts on TV about this particular brand of tissue paper, bombarding its target audience with impressive visuals. Judging from the ads, you would conclude it had gained some degree of visibility in the market and based on the impressive content, from being one of the softest to being the whitest ever. All I expected was nothing but quality and didn’t bother much about its outrageous price. However, after purchasing and examining it thoroughly, I didn’t think it was worth the attention it got from me.
While I commend the brand for their striking marketing campaign that was quick to resonate deeply with most of their target audience – like me, I would hardly recommend them to anyone because their words painted an inverse image of the poor quality of the product. This oversight is not peculiar to this brand alone as there are many others who have faulted in this area. Every now and then, several brands make conscious efforts to woo potential customers with luscious promises, just to get a spot in their lives. Sadly in the end, most of these brands fail to keep to their words.
Now it is true a brand can get the attention of its target clients through remarkable marketing strategies but the chances are; it will attract a pool of customers but can hardly sustain them if the product is not up to the standard they expected. This leads us to one needful thing every company should consider before branding – Product Quality.
Quality is an irresistible attribute recognised all over the world. It knows no limit and would literally cast a spell on customers, making them flood the producer’s space just to get a product. In most countries, especially the developed ones, products are measured based on their level of quality – the higher the quality the more recognition it gets.
Product quality is a product’s ability to adequately meet the needs of users and its durability and usefulness over time. It is an essential attribute of a brand that should never be overlooked as it could serve as a guarantee for business sustainability. In the long run, product quality is a marker that determines purchasing decisions and profitability.
Quality products are unbeatable commodities in the market that most people would pay any amount to buy. A shabby product can hardly compete with a well-crafted and detailed brand. They are naturally distinguished from the crowded market like stars in a dark sky. A quality brand also builds customer’s trust and commands constant patronage.
For entrepreneurs seeking to pull the crowd to their camp, they need to first invest more time developing their product to meet the desirable standard. Don’t push your work out without dealing with the essentials. In other words, don’t brand emptiness or a substandard product.
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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Symbols have long been a great way for brands to communicate their values and generally express what they do. Some brands have become widely known for their distinctive logos. For Nestle, the peculiar nest and birds’ symbol has formed its identity.
The Nestle logo is one of the few logos that never cease to make a statement about their brand to everyone who encounters it. It is regarded as a ground-breaking logo that has set the pace for other brands since its creation.
Let’s delve into its history to see the logo transformation.
LOGO HISTORY AND EVOLUTION
The premier logo that was used in 1868 was simply the Nestlé’s family coat of arms. The symbol was a bird on a nest, placed inside a shield shape. Based on the type of brand Nestle wanted to build, this logo was not suitable for it. The emblem did not communicate the company’s vision in any way and that led to the need for a better logo.
In 1875, Nestlé’s founder, Henri Nestlé drew inspiration from his family’s coat of arms to create a fresh logo for the brand. This new logo featured three birds in a nest, being fed by their mother. The symbol was a visual connection between the family name, Nestlé, which is interpreted as nest in German and the company’s infant cereal products for nourishment. With this move, Nestlé was rebranded to symbolise a safe nest for nourishment.
1938 came with a new swing of change; Nestle combined the lettering and logo to create a new identity for the brand. This unique mark unified all Nestlé products.
The company’s trademark was modified in 1966 during the celebration of the company’s 100th anniversary.
In 1988 one of the young birds, as well as the worm in their mother’s beak were removed giving the brand a new identity, This was to communicate that the subsidiaries were given homogenized names in combination with “Nestle” which then became a strategic umbrella trademark.
In 1995, the logo was simplified again and the four categories of products, milk product, ice cream, confectionery and baby milk were all given specific Nestle lettering.
The company made some modifications in the logotype in 2015. The logo was made bolder with other slight changes to the sketch. According to the company, the new Nestle symbol was designed to appear better on digital devices like smartphones.
Nestlé’s wordmark is written with sans-serif type with much emphasis on the letter “N”.
Initially brown-and-white were the only colours used to design the original logo but over time, colour schemes like grey-and-white or black-and-white are now being used.
In years to come, consumers all over the world will always remember Nestlé’s emblem with a sense of familiarity and fondness knowing its products never failed to meet their expectation thereby reflecting its brand value, “Good Food, Good Life”. This is the real definition of logo impact.
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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After several months of deliberations and restructuring, the long awaited merger between Access Bank and Diamond Bank finally came to an official conclusion on April 1st, 2019. This merger is by far one of the most remarkable mergers in Nigeria’s banking history and has placed Access Bank as the largest retail bank in Africa by customer base. Access Bank stated that the new brand which is recorded to have over 27000 staff spread across 592 branches in 12 countries distributed in 3 continents with over 29 million customers, has always been part of its vision.
Following the successful merger between the banks, the values of the both Access Bank and Diamond Bank were combined to create a new visual identity. The CEO, Herbert Wigwe, emphasised that the brand’s new identity is built on the long lasting philosophy with the vision to be the world’s most respected African bank.
Explaining the inspiration behind the new logo, it was revealed that the emblem is a fusion of both banks’ corporate values. While Access Bank has been attested for being fast, recognised and trusted globally, Diamond Bank is known for its youthfulness, vibrancy and humanness. In their words;
“The new visual identity fuses together the best of Access Bank and Diamond Bank. It builds on the layers of meaning that were built into two iconic brands. Diamond bank’s was youthful, vibrant, and human. Access Banks’s was trusted, global, and fast. Bringing them together to capture the strength created through the merger meant drawing from the essence of each logo but refreshing them to create a sense of energy and forward momentum”
Despite being a blend of both banks, the new brand is designed to have refreshing attributes of its own. “Bringing them together to capture the strength created through the merger meant drawing from the essence of each logo but refreshing them to create a sense of energy and forward momentum.”
In the new logo, the diamond shape was retained but with new features added to it. The diamond shape is embedded in three chevrons that is maze-like which is meant to give direction or access to customers. “The diamond shape is fused into the three chevrons, which radiate in all directions to create layers around a core.”
The new logo is designed in two colours- a dominance of the well-known orange colour which will be used in corporate application in order to retain the sense of familiarity among Access Bank’s customers while the diamond colour palette will be used in its retail application to ensure continuity for retail customers.
“The retention of the access typeface, colour and font is complemented by the orange logo, which draws from the colour palettes of both banks”.
SLOGAN AND IMPACT
Accompanied with the new logo is the new tag line, “Access. More than Banking”. They refer this slogan as their philosophy and a promise they will work to keep.
Having being in the picture for over two decades, Access Bank is confident about the impact they’ve made so far. Their brand’s history serves as an assurance to both Access and Diamond Bank’s customers that they would be able to keep and succeed their promise. Narrating their impact journey, they said;
“Almost 20 years ago Access Bank set out to change the face of banking in Nigeria. Its goal was to lift the continent of Africa through what it called sustainable banking, showing individuals and businesses across the country that ethical business was good business.
“Providing African businesses with access to intra Africa trade and global markets. Giving budding entrepreneurs the tools to build a business.
“Offering families the opportunity to realise their dreams. Across the country, another entrepreneur was also building a bank, with a dream that went beyond banking.”
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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A major problem business owners have with branding is that they delay the need for it. “I will start the business first and brand it later”, they say. But that’s like brushing your teeth without toothpaste and licking toothpaste later to make up. I know that illustration is a bit too extreme so don’t try to wrap your head around it.
Anyway, practically speaking, when branding is shoved aside or kept at the bottom of the to-do list in business that could be classified as one of the most unwise business decisions. For anyone venturing into the competitive world of business, the first thing on your mind should be how to stand out from others who have been there. This is not to exaggerate but no business would stand out without slight touches of branding.
No matter how basic, branding should be an intricate part of your business plan. For example, when thinking of your business name, also ask yourself if it will make a good brand name. Consider how the name will flow on marketing materials, souvenirs, stationery, and so on. It can be that basic and simple, even though branding runs much deeper than visual identity and communications.
Though branding is a broad topic and sometimes seen as complicated, it is still doable and never farfetched. I’ve observed that some people try to avoid it with lots of excuses to give, from limited resources to lack of time. In fact once a conversation about branding is stirred they literally begin to enumerate all the challenges that would prevent them from taking actions towards branding their business.
You may not have the funds, time or requisite knowledge to effect a full scale branding from the onset, but you should think ahead and lay the right foundation that you can build on later. I think it all begins from our understanding of what branding really is and that is why I urge you to learn more about the subject, by any means possible.
One thing you should understand is that branding affects every aspect of your business – visual identity, product development, customer experience, employee relations, organizational structure, office administration, marketing communications, and so on. You cannot afford to take it for granted if you really desire to grow a sustainable business.
When you lay a good foundation, you stand a better chance to survive the challenges that come your way. A whole lot of setbacks in business can actually be prevented from the beginning if the right branding strategies are employed. Wait no longer, now is the best time to start branding your business.
Written by Maple Dappa
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Universal Parcel Service is unarguably one of the world’s most remarkable package delivery company. Asides being one of the oldest package delivery and supply chain management companies known all over the world, its logo has continued to give the brand a bold and unconquerable face.
Though UPS has always kept its logo simple, it has never fallen short of communicating the company’s values to the customers. From the delivery trucks to each parcel delivered, the UPS logo leaves its stamp in the memories of people. The logo has added to the global recognition the brand enjoys.
The UPS logo has so far experienced four transformations since it was designed over a century ago. At every point in time, as the company evolved with different market strategies, it ensured the logo evolved with it.
The first UPS logo was created the same period in 1916 when the company was established. The logo had distinguishing features such as an eagle carrying a parcel with its claws and the famous bronze shield. To further define the brand’s values, the words ‘Safe, Swift, Sure’ were written on the sides of the package. This logo symbolized the brand’s strength as regards its service. In no time, it became the company’s identity.
Even though the first logo was remarkable, UPS needed something that would align with its growth. With this in mind, the company redesigned its logo in 1937 to match the company’s new goal. This logo has the letter UPS written on it but the bronze shield was retained. Following this change, the company’s slogan was changed to “The Delivery System for Stores of Quality” in order to get the target customers.
In 1961, a new logo emerged which was designed by Paul Rand. The logo had a package tied with a string above the UPS shield. The aim of the logo was to highlight that the company’s core service was package delivery.
The logo was reviewed again in 2003 and this time the shield was recreated to give a pleasant look. The new logo was designed with the colour brown and was accompanied with a new slogan, “What can brown do for you?”
This logo was designed by FutureBrand, a brand consulting firm. The new logo was used on delivery trucks and had a new font called UPS Sans.
Brown has remained the colour that has distinguished the company since 1916. For UPS, the brown colour means elegance and professionalism, which also hides dirt on uniforms and delivery vehicles. UPS uses two shades of brown that are their registered trademarks. They are both used for their vehicles or clothing.
Though there has been some proposals and research to change their famous chocolate brown colour, no other colour has been able to meet the company’s standard. Rather than change their primary colour, chocolate brown, the company adds brighter colours to it like red, blue and green to form a sort of colour palette. While they add these other colours, they also try to maintain the brand’s original identity.
The simplicity of the UPS logo has beaten the idea of sophistication. While some brands seek to create abstract designs, UPS focused more on the message each logo passed to their potential clients. It has remained consistent with the shield identity that has also increased its popularity. With its simple but yet powerful logo, UPS continues to stand out.
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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If you have a flair for creams then at some point, you must have tried a Nivea product or even if you are not a cream fan, we can bet you must have seen a Nivea commercial televised on your screen or a billboard with NIVEA boldly printed on it or even an online advert.
For over 130years, the brand has consistently spread its fragrance through different products. Though a German based company, Beiersdorf, which is behind the famous product NIVEA has established itself in the Nigerian cosmetic industry. Today we examine how NIVEA which started in a small scientific laboratory exploded to almost every part of the world.
NIVEA, which is the trademark for one of Beiersdorf’s popular cosmetics brand, was derived from the Latin word “nix, nivis” meaning “snow-white”. The brand was birthed from quality research, and a great deal of creativity and a good business sense.
The brand’s success story traces back to the Pharmacist, Paul C. Beiersdorf, who first invented the coated plaster in his small laboratory in Hamburg in 1882. Subsequently, after his invention, Beiersdorf started the company and till date the company bears his name.
The company experienced a change of ownership in 1890 when Dr. Oscar Troplowitz took over from Paul C. Beiersdorf. Troplowitz expanded the company and further developed the water-in-oil emulsifier as a skin cream with Eucerit which was the basis for Eucerin and later became NIVEA.
In 1911, Dr. Oscar Troplowitz produced the first NIVEA Creme with the help of chemist Dr. Isaac Lifschütz and dermatologist Prof. Dr. Paul Gerson Unna. The skin cream was a stable oil-and-water. In 1914 the company operated the business in over 34 countries and as a result it gained global popularity.
In 1918 when Dr. Oscar Troplowitz and his brother-in-law and partner Dr. Otto Hanns Mankiewicz died, the company’s trademark was changed severally until June 1, 1922 when it finally settled for P. Beiersdorf & Co. AG corporation.
After its first commercial in 1920 with “Eulalias Verjüngung” (“Eulalia’s rejuvenation”) which was shown in a German movie theatre, NIVEA got more spotlight on it. The aim was to convince prospective customers of the effectiveness of the snow-white skin cream.
Though the NIVEA brand had existed and made itself visible in the Nigerian market for over fifty years, it was not until 2017 the company Beiersdorf officially announced its arrival in Nigeria. Believing that the Nigerian soil had become fertile enough, the company invested N7 billion in the economy and described it as the right place for investment.
It was also forecasted that by 2050, Nigeria will become the 14th largest market in the world. The company assured its Nigerian customers more quality products and more innovative brands. Since then, the brand has continued to thrive and keep to its promises.
BRAND CORE VALUES
The company has always been guided by four main core values from the beginning. The brand’s core values has informed the manner the business is being operated, the way employees are being treated and the also the way colleagues associate with each other. The four values are as follows;
One major culture the brand believes in is the importance of showing care. They are concerned about employing a culture which encourages individuals to lead their own unique ideas and convictions and are also inspired to take responsibilities for themselves and their teams. They welcome and promote diversity, which they believe breeds innovation.
The company is run with flat and flexible hierarchy system. They make conscious effort towards honesty, sincerity and straightforwardness in order to ensure everyone knows where they fit in. They try to strike a fair balance between work and life so they embrace teamwork in a means to devise individual solutions.
The brand ties its strategy to “care”. In their words, “For us, “care” is more than just part of our business, it expresses our responsibility to people and the environment. We manufacture high-quality skin care products and have more than 100 years research expertise. Our efforts form part of Beiersdorf’s international sustainability strategy “We care”.”
Being a well-known brand, NIVEA has used its influence to seek for alternative ways to improve the lives of people and the society. The brand continues to support sustainable sourcing which would enable them produce more quality products. They serve as an educative platform to enlighten people health wise.
FEEDBACK FROM CUSTOMERS
Knowing NIVEA as a brand most Nigerians have patronised, we decided to get some feedbacks from some customers;
“Nivea products are affordable. Though I think it doesn’t really last for 48hours as we are made to believe in their adverts, but then I like the fact that there are no harmful chemicals in them. Nice fragrance too,”- Grace
“For me, Nivea roll-on and deodorants are long lasting even beyond 24hrs. Another amazing fact is that they are non-alcoholic and can be used immediately after shaving without the burning/peppery sensation other products give. Unique fragrance I must add. They also have varieties of products one can choose from,”- Oswin
From the feedbacks above, one would observe a high level of consistency and impact the brand has made which can be considered as their strength. With its firm foundation, NIVEA remains a brand that will forever live in the minds of many in years to come.
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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Reputation is something that sticks longer with humans and it’s usually difficult to correct whether good or bad. In business, a first mistake could be pardoned and considered an oversight but when it becomes a reoccurring event, it becomes your company’s reputation. Once people get to know your brand for a particular thing, negative or positive, that image stays glued on your business until you’re able to create a stronger impression that is remarkable enough to replace the former. A bad reputation therefore tarnishes the image of your business.
The fact is customers never forget the kind of emotions they felt when they encountered your brand, how fast or slow you delivered, the process in which you got the work done either efficiently or otherwise. If they had a terrible experience caused with your brand, they would always remember.
Following the recent event of the Ethiopian Airlines crash of the Boeing 737 Max 8 jet, we realised the magnitude of a bad reputation. The Boeing 737 brand that had also crashed five months earlier during Lion Air flight generated a lot of bad publicity for the airplane manufacturer, Boeing. Due to the reoccurred misfortune, some countries have grounded the plane, labelled it unsafe and it has already cost the company its shares valuation, which dropped to 13% with the snap of the finger, in the stock market. It is a thing of certainty that people whose families died in the plane crash will always relive the grief anytime they hear Boeing 737. This has automatically put the Boeing brand on the black list of many potential passengers and even shareholders.
From the event, you would deduct that a brand’s reputation creates a certain perception of it among clients, stakeholders and its target market. Unconsciously, the type of reputation you have could stir several emotions in customers who try to patronise you. What they feel becomes what they would associate with your brand and eventually would turn out to be your brand identity.
Companies with bad public image run at loss and never make high sales most of the time. They are usually seen as not being trustworthy or reliable and also lose customer loyalty as time goes by which affects their relevance in the society they operate. It obviously points out that a bad reputation is one of the fastest ways to ruin any business even the greatest of them all.
For any business to thrive in its sector, it must pay attention to the kind of reputation it has earned from when it commenced. People would either connect or disconnect with your brand based on what you have been known for as a company’s reputation always guides the decision of prospective investors or clients.
For the Boeing brand, we think it would take a lot of product re-engineering, rebranding, remodelling and reassurance for it to gain back a good public image. What’s your take, do you think it still has any reputation left to build on?
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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What’s a computer without a Microsoft software? That’s a bit hard to imagine, isn’t it? Think about it, virtually every computer is operated with the help of Microsoft products from the Windows Operating System to other easily accessible software that give users a better experience.
Now if almost all computers come with Microsoft products installed in them, it invariably means its logo is also imprinted in them making it one of the most recognised brands in the software industry. This way it has gained massive visibility and relevance.
The Microsoft logo is one which has communicated the brand’s message over the years and has left a lasting impression on its customers. With a minute glance at the Microsoft emblem, most people instantly recall what the brand stands. Speak about logo impact!
Today we decided to slide the Microsoft Windows to get a clearer view of how it has evolved since its inception.
HISTORY OF LOGO
From the onset, Microsoft established itself as one of the most creative software brands. Its exceptional operating system, Windows, and the line-up of Office software products, the company created a brand that will last in the minds of people all over the world. For many decades, Microsoft has consistently been a part of businesses, system
The founder, Bill Gates and his cofounder, Paul Allen, designed the company’s first logo in 1975. They created this version using a programming language to draw concentric lines and rounded edges that forms an all cap. This logo, which was inspired by a disco aesthetic, served its purpose for the time but the company needed something more radical to represent its brand.
After a few years, in 1980, the logo was recreated to suit the partnership between Microsoft and IBM. The aim for creating this logo that had sharp edges, diagonal lines and exaggerated stems concentrated on the letters M, R and F, was to retain the company’s visual relevance, making it bolder and more appealing to the new market. In no time, the new logo gained its popularity among computer enthusiasts and programmers.
In a bid to increase the brand’s awareness, the previous logo was changed again in 1982 to a solid, geometric sans-serif font. For this particular logo, more details was added to the letter ‘O’ with series of parallel lines drawn inside which represented an icon known as the “blibbet” by the employees. This logo gradually became the face of Microsoft’s flagship brand, Windows operating system.
The blibbet also served as a standalone logo, which was used as a watermark on the company’s stationery. This particular logo made a reasonable impact on the employees and alumni of Microsoft academy. Larry Osterman, the lead engineer, stated that there was even a customised Blibbet Burger on the Microsoft’s campus, and a campaign was organised by employees, and current CTO, Dave Norris, to “Save the Blibbet” when a new logo was proposed in 1987.
With Windows operating system becoming a recognised brand worldwide, there arose another need to revamp the logo. Following this, Scott Baker, the in-house designer was given the responsibility to refresh the logo to something that would better represent the company’s goals and vision in the new era. Narrating the meaning of the new logo, Scott said;
“The former logo, the ‘Blibbet’, was more in keeping with how we saw our company five years ago. The new logo, in Helvetica italic typeface, has a slash between the “o” and “s” to emphasize the “soft” part of the name and convey motion and speed.”
This logo, a bolder title- cased wordmark, was used to represent the transition of the brand from the old era to the new one. The triangular silver carved between the ‘O’ and the ‘S’ had slight similarities with the Pac Man logo and this eventually earned it the title “Pac Man Logo” given to it by the employees. The logo was used for a period of 25 years until the year 2012 when another logo was introduced.
Having observed that all the previous logos never really presented the company’s major product, Windows, the in-house designers were tasked collectively to brainstorm for a new logo. Finally, on the 23rd of August 2012 the present logo was launched. This new vibrant logo consist of the wordmark written with a new font and an emblem with four colourful squares. This logo was designed to represent the company’s known products; the red for Office applications, green for Excel, blue for Word and yellow for Outlook. In addition, the Microsoft uses its own typeface, Segoe UI, which was created by the designer, Steve Matteson. Asides being used for the company’s marketing and designs, it is used within the operating system and software for mobiles and desktops.
According to Microsoft:
“The brand should evolve to visually accentuate this new beginning, as the company prepares for the launch of its new products. The logo takes its inspiration from our product design principles while drawing upon the heritage of our brand value, fonts and colors.”
MEANING OF LOGO
The icon symbolizes the Windows system. The logo simply feature a window with four panes of different colours, red, green, blue and yellow. This window version of the logo moved from the flying windows to a static one.
The logo also emphasises the company’s innovation in technology, which it offers people daily. The company continues to include new technological features in order to improve customer experience. The Microsoft logo stands as a symbol of quality in an operating system that allows people explore the world of technology through its Windows.
According to the general manager, Jeff Hansen, the logo signals the heritage and the future- a newness and freshness.
In 1995, the first Microsoft Office logo was introduced which featured a wordmark, and a square shape. When the XP version was introduced, in 2001, a gradient tool was applied to the logo. After the 2012 emblem was released, it became an abstract orange shape, which was supposed to reflect the company’s new design language.
The earlier Microsoft Excel logo featured the letter “X” that had the “L” on one of its sides that could be read as “XL,” or, Excel. From 1985 to 2013, the logo was modified eight times but retained the same visual effect. Finally, in 2013 variation, the logo was changed to just “X”.
The first Microsoft Word logo was designed in 1983. It was then just a wordmark with a recognizable “O” character but after four years a new emblem was adopted which featured the character “W” instead. The new logo was positioned in a way it looked like a sheet of paper. The same idea was recycled over the following years until in 2000 when a new logo was introduced. It had character, “W” craved in a square shape with the colours white and blue. After several other modifications, the company designed the open book with the letter “W” on the cover in 2013.
The Microsoft logo consist of six colours; the grey wordmark and the blue, yellow, green, and red or orange emblem, which are all on a white background.
The colours are a representative of a division or product line of the corporation.
The light blue colour stand for the Word or most times the Windows, which is the ‘background’ of everything one does on the PC. The blue colour also is a cool and slick colour, and symbolises Microsoft’s vision for Windows which to be slick and quick, and still be cool and easy to use.
The orange/red colour stands for Microsoft’s Office products. Red means business and suggests busy and productive which is what Office does, to get things done.
The green colour stands for Microsoft Gaming, mainly XBox. Green is a fun colour, which is what Xbox was designed for.
The yellow colour stands for Microsoft Hardware. Yellow is a bold and strong colour meaning that Microsoft hardware is built to be durable and efficient.
As seen above, at every stage of its evolution, Microsoft has always tried to communicate its brand values though it visual identity which reflects a part of its brand strategy. This is the reason why the Windows of Microsoft will always be one which attracts the freshest air of new ideas.
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi.
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