Take a good look at that top logo. Does it look familiar to you? Odds are good the answer is no. Of course looking down below at the rest of the images shows you what logo you are actually looking at.
I think logos are really interesting. I have a friend starting a business and it’s been quite the process to find something usable. There are a lot of things that look great when they’re huge, but scaled down for a business card or some other small use they lose all the detail. Designed for something tiny, blown up they look like they are lacking. Finding that balance has been really tough. Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks so, either. As time marches on, there are a number of logos that have changed over time. Nokia is just one of the companies covered by Neatorama in this post about tech companies and their logos.
I found in a quick search that not only are there a lot of logos that have evolved, but the companies themselves have put that info on the web for everyone to see. Canon, Kodak, Castrol, Shell, and Bic have all posted info on their logos, and I like seeing how they started and where they are now. In unofficial formats I read a fascinating post about Atari‘s logo, and a cool post about PBS over time.
As is usually the case, I even found a couple of blogs devoted to JUST this sort of thing! Both Brand Autopsy and Logo Design blog about different brands and their current visibility and design choices (good OR bad). I love this stuff! Brand Autopsy has a nice post on Starbucks, and Logo Design has a great article on the evolution of a few other brands.
I find that branding and logos and such are always a good read, but especially now that I have a friend who is going through this process I am looking at them completely differently. This has also been interesting because as I talk to him about the logo he is looking for and trying to find the balance I mentioned, I am discovering that spending all this time working at Extensis has REALLY changed my perspective on design and informed my opinion in ways I didn’t even know about until I started answering questions and telling him things that were just rattling around in my head. I had no idea this is where I was until this last few months when I was telling him what logos were good and bad and why and I was listening to myself and thinking, “where did that come from?” and being very surprised that I had this opinion, let alone the info to back it up. I mean, I know that I’ve been influenced and informed by every single place I’ve ever worked, but finding out I was turning all creative as a result of being here makes me all kinds of happy. This is the kind of stuff I always had an opinion about but now I can tell you why. And believe me, I will TOTALLY tell you. 🙂