Would you identify a Mercedes Benz car even without the logo on it?
Would you identify the voices of people you know personally even without seeing their faces?
Would you recognize the taste of your favorite food brand even with your eyes closed?
Where are we going with these questions?
It’s simple. Whether done intentionally or not, every business brand takes on an identity for itself. There’s a way customers perceive and interpret your brand the more they interact with it, you need to define your identity and project it the right way to the market.
What should you do?
a) Build your name. Beyond choosing an appealing and appropriate name for your brand, you need to build a healthy reputation for your brand. This is derived from the last point we looked at, sticking to your brand values.
b) Visual identity. Your brand is an unfolding story and one of the ways it tells the story to the market in a distinctive manner is through your logo, colors, icons, packaging concepts, and so on.
c) Your brand mark. Every solid brand has certain things that are unique to it often referred to as “the XYZ way”. You have to deliberately decide how you do things in business from your designs to marketing communications, website outlook, social media strategy, product development, and more.
The central idea of brand identity is what you want to be known for because, if your business does not have any defined perception that it is projecting, it will eventually become a case of anything goes regardless of the size. Solid brands don’t take their identity for granted.
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There is so much power that lies in our hands, thanks to the evolution of technology. This power is acquired from the moment we purchase a gadget, connect to the internet and log on to a social media platform. With the emergence of social media, the world has not only become smaller but also several barriers have been broken to gain access to the high and mighty in society. Notwithstanding the wide use or far spread of social media, only the bold and creative minds can leverage its power to get what they want. This should be your aim as an entrepreneur or corporate personality.
A few days ago with just a single tweet, a Twitter user who is a brand identity designer, @osuolale_farouq, shared a proposed logo for the first indigenous automobile manufacturing company in Nigeria, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing (IVM). This strategic tweet alongside the expertly designed logo started a conversation that got through the digital gates to the table of the target company.
IVM took up the conversation to its platform asking its followers to choose between the company’s current logo and the proposed one by @osuolale_farouq. Eventually, this caught the attention of the CEO of IVM, Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma, who asked that a meeting be fixed with the creative designer. While the congratulatory messages keep trooping, we all wait with our fingers crossed for the outcome of this meeting, and we greatly commend @osuolale_farouq not just his bravery but also his eye for detail. Let us look at some of the things that make his design unique.
@osuolale_farouq gave more meaning to his design in the breakdown of the different shapes and symbols he used. He explained that the phenomenal Eagle bird inspired the concept of the entire design. Knowing the striking attributes of the eagle, the proposed logo created a fresh identity for the IVM brand. According to him, the two characteristics that connect the IVM brand and the eagle are “…strength and the ability to sail through hard times…”
The logo designer singled out each letter that make up the company’s acronym and backed them up with a deeper meaning. He indicated that the letter ‘I’ represents the beak of an eagle which denotes strength, then the letter ‘V’ symbolizes the wings of the eagle and its ability to fly against storms, and the last letter ‘M’ depicts the eyes of the eagle which can see its target from a distance.
A notable comment concerning the logo meaning was that of HRH Oba Alao Timi Kennedy on Facebook who posted;
“I love how this man coined the PROPOSED new logo for INNOSON VEHICLES from the three letters, IVM and link it to the eagle, with suitable interpretations. This PROPOSED new logo if endorsed or accepted can increase patronage because the brand image is very important in sales and business. The eyes need to love it first before other things. It’s a great logo and I wish and pray INNOSON adopt it.”
This unfolding story could be linked to the popular saying; “when preparation meets opportunity, success is birthed”. From his skillful execution of the logo design, there is no doubt that @osuolale_farouq was prepared for this and with the ‘window’ of the opportunity provided by Twitter, he has successfully sold his idea to the world. Now that is the power of social media!
Once you conceive to take a shot at something, do not contemplate, just clear the hindrances, and take that shot!
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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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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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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The Shell brand started out as a small London business selling antiques, curios and oriental shells. I feel this gave the idea behind the brand’s name and its visual identity system, specifically the logo design because in time the business grew to export these seashells to the Far East and made profit doing so. The first time the word ‘shell’ was cited was in 1891, when it was used by Marcus Samuel and Company (the original founders) as the business trademark in the shipment of kerosene to the Far East. We would not do justice to this article if we skip Shell brand’s influence – also enhanced by its visual identity system -in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.
The brand’s history in Nigeria began as far back as when oil was first discovered at Oloibiri in the Niger Delta region. In fact, this discovery was made by Shell-BP in 1956. Shell is a major stakeholder in the country’s oil and gas sector with a history of over 50 years of doing business in Nigeria since the late 1930’s. According to Shell on its website,
“For more than 100 years the word Shell, our pectin emblem and distinctive red and yellow colours have visualized the Shell brand and promoted our values and the quality of our products and services all over the world.”
This spells our focus for today’s article – Shell’s logo unravel. There is more to the shell’s emblem than meets the eye especially concerning its essence in promoting shell’s values, product and service quality and visualizing the shell brand globally.
Shell’s first logo was designed in 1901 carrying the symbol of a mussel shell. This happened the third year after the formation of the Shell Transport and Trading Company. Thereafter in 1904, a scallop shell also called the pecten emblem was debuted to give the company a brand name and its visual identity. When the afore-mentioned company formed a merger with the Royal Dutch petroleum company three years later, the former absorbed the pecten symbol and the brand name – Shell. The Logo having the pecten emblem and brand name has been like this since then.
However, the shell emblem has undergone a series of modifications in its design; the emblem design used presently was introduced in 1971. Finally, in 1995, the Shell logo underwent its final modification when the logo colours were dimmed. Prior to this time, its colours were very bright and some felt it made the logo look offensive. Therefore, the present design looks more appealing to the eyes. With over 47 years of great usefulness to the brands visual identity, it has grown to be one of the most popularly recognized logo in the world today.
The primary colours of the shell logo is red and yellow. These colours were preferred because of their connection to the Spanish flag since many of the people who settled in California migrated from Spain especially because; during Shell’s formative years, California was its central business region. The red colour gives the emblem a colourful look.
The font used specifically for the brand name element typography is the Futura Bold typeface.
The logo symbol represents the pecten shell which also names the brand – shell. The logo portrays excellence and brilliance of Shell in the corporate world. In addition to this, the logo emblem apart from symbolizing the Pectin shell, it also takes the shape of a crown; signifying Shell’s position as a leader in the oil and gas Industry.
Written by Rejoice Emmanuel
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Beyond the obvious fact that a logo becomes a company’s identity, it can also be referred to as the custodian of a brand’s history and culture. It reminds both the staff and customers the journey the brand has travelled so far and the milestones it has accomplished over the years.
With its historical attributes, the FirstBank logo can be seen as a symbol holding so much more than what meets the eyes. To the common man it may look like a simple blend of elements and colours but to those who work behind the scenes, its meaning is deeper.
THE LOGO JOURNEY
Being one of the oldest banks in Nigeria since 1894, FirstBank’s identity has become a household symbol and is one that is easily recognisable by all. It has earned itself a grand reputation for consistency and as a result has gained a huge popularity to the point anytime one sees an emblem with an elephant inscribed on it, one of the first thoughts that crosses the mind is the FirstBank brand.
With many decades gone by and as a way of commemorating the brand’s 120th year anniversary, they felt the necessity to redesign their legendary logo in order to reflect the new strategic direction the company was taking. The bank unveiled their new identity in January 27th, 2014, informing the general public about their new brand position.
THE LOGO ICON
The African Elephant
One icon that has always been associated with the FirstBank logo is the famous African elephant. For the brand, this icon symbolises their strength and growth. It is also an indicator that the brand is a leader in the financial industry. With this single icon, the bank has continued to earn respect and visibility.
Though this element was retained, there were some slight modifications to its appearance which were made to communicate the evolution the bank was going through in order to remain relevant in the financial sector.
- A Raised Head – While the elephant in the old logo had a straight face, the new logo bears an elephant with a raised head. This they indicated was a way to reassure their customers about their commitment no matter the challenge. It is a promise that says they will face any financial challenge with their head held high.
- A Raised Foot – The raised foot in the new logo is a reminder that they will always put their best foot forward for their customers.
THE LOGO COLOURS
From a lighter shade of blue to a deep blue colour, the FirstBank logo took on a new feel. The deep blue colour signifies a heritage of trust and distinction. The colour also represents their brand principles of momentum, innovation and evolution. These principles ensure that the bank strives to continuously develop solutions.
One significant change in the new logo was the infusion of gold. This rich colour represents a promise to set the gold standard of value and excellence in their services as a financial establishment.
Through its logo the brand has continued to fulfil the promise it made to its customers which is to always deliver the ultimate gold standard of value and excellence. Merely viewing the logo reminds their customers and partners about their position as one of the first and leading brands in the banking field.
The logo, images, fonts, patterns, icons, colours, symbols, words, all combine to visually communicate the brand’s corporate identity and brand language. The colours are also a reflection of the brand’s personality and their tone of voice towards their customers.
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
Do you need a logo that sets your company apart? We can help you design a unique logo. Reach out to us at email@example.com