Living identities, not dead logos


There’s a bit of a debate going on about dead logos in the Metro and a few design blogs.  Of course it’s something we feel strongly about…

Businesses need living identities, not dead logos

A brand is an evolving story not an unchanging visual stamp. A logo can help to identify a brand, but in a fast-moving world it is just one of many elements a brand needs if it’s to connect and interact with people. We’re much more interested in the many different ways a brand inspires people to think about – and contribute to – it’s story. This could be anything from a colour to a sound, gesture, image, material or phrase. Think about Apple’s pinch or swipe. Think about Intel’s sonic mnemonic. Think about the brown delivery vehicles of UPS. The way a brand’s different elements combine over time is what really brings it to life. Logos only die when they are part of a fixed system that can’t respond to a changing world. The huge opportunity for designers is to create and express a great brand story using the array of media now available to us, from film to social media, music, environments, graphics and so on. Businesses need living identities, not dead logos.

This is a subject close to our hearts, we’ve just written a paper about it.


  • Bob

    Without being too scathing, this article in the Metro and indeed the title of this post and the way this subject matter is presented is slightly ridiculous.

    Perhaps you’re not being literal, but how is it even possible to compete brand identity against logos?

    You even say it yourself; that a logo is just one of many elements a brand needs…

    Why even bring the word logo into it?

    Who are we educating here?

    Is the point here to dismiss the importance of a good logo?

    ‘Logos are dying’ – honestly, anyone subscribing to this thought clearly shows a lack of understanding of the true purpose of a logo and it’s function especially in contemporary terms.

    The logo, logotype, mark etc, is not meant to play the role of conversation.
    It’s a signifier. A badge that brands pin conversations to.

    Surely the point you are trying to make, albeit a point finally concluded at least 5-10 years ago, is that it is the supporting brand elements, whether that be the a choice of corporate colour or the way a brand chooses to use technology or the way a business conducts itself etc, that plays an integral roll in building a brands’ continuing story?

    Perhaps ‘story’ is the wrong word; stories tend to be one way communications.

    Regardless, I’m pretty sure that the key learning for brands and their supporting agencies (as well as students etc) is that brands need to continually ‘interact’ in new and innovative ways with the world and let the world become part of the brand in order for it to be successful.

    There is nothing new about this thought.

    There is nothing dead about logos.
    They are the cornerstone to brand identity, and should be respected as such.

    Having said all that, (and apologies for the rant) credit to you for echoing the and supporting best practice in brand communication. ‘Living Identity’ seems to be a perfect way to think about brands.

    Anyway all the best,
    Mr. Logo Lover.

    Ps. As a side note, I am no fan of this work for Euro2012 – the concept has legs, but I’m really not sold on the garish child like illustrations etc.

  • hi bob
    that’s quite a rant about many things you think shouldn’t be ranted about…

    i think a story is very much two-way – it is created in the audiences mind, not the tellers.

    Aside from that, thanks for the Living Identity compliment – we think it’s a strong way to view branding. And please note the Euro 2012 work is nothing to do with us.