Tagged With branding

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It may feel like Google's colourful lettering has been with us since the dawn of time, but it's been a long, bumpy road getting there. When it comes to logo design, sometimes you have to face-plant before you can fly. And in Google's case, there's been plenty of face-planting.

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Companies spend millions of dollars coming up with unique and compelling logos that define their brands and make them stand out from their competitors. We see hundreds of them everyday, but do we really get what those logos mean? This infographic is a compilation of 40 famous logos and the hidden meaning behind them.

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When you wrap a gift in fancy paper, the last thing you want is ugly pieces of tape stuck all over it. That's why 3M created its Scotch-brand tape that's nearly invisible, and a selling point that Hamburg-based ad agency Kolle Rebbe perfectly drove home with this clever packaging for the product that looks like a completely empty box.

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Yesterday, a new logo appeared on fencing around World Trade Center construction site. To design it, developers hired one of the world's top agencies to try to create branding that's never going to be sufficient. The very expensive and almost impossible task of creating a symbol to represent a space that will always be haunted by horrific terror.

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We'd known that legendary designer Massimo Vignelli was sick: His son issued a plea to designers who were influenced by him to send him a letter, which surely flooded his home with well-designed well-wishes over the past few weeks. This morning, Vignelli passed away at the age of 83. Here, we've collected a handful of his most iconic contributions to design.

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Since advertising is all about the power of suggestion, it's fun to see what happens when the conceits of well-known campaigns are totally undermined. Honest Slogans takes well-known advertising and turns the slogan into some real talk about the product, or at least designer Clif Dickens's take on it.

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The horrors of New Coke have not been easy for the public to forget. We do not handle change well, especially when it comes to the brands that we've been conditioned to love. But did New Coke really taste that bad? And, likewise, is the new Yahoo! logo really that atrocious? And is iOS 7 really the flaming trainwreck of a redesign that some folks are making it out to be? Or is the problem not within the product but rather within ourselves?

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Is it possible to distill the character of a city into a single, striking logo? In some ways it seems crass to (re)brand a place, reducing the complexity of a locale into to what is, essentially, a marketing campaign. Done well, however, the efforts can unite locals and lure leisure travellers, who bring with them a major financial boon (check out the World Bank's map of international tourist dollars from the past four years — there's a lot of cash involved). But have we reached peak branding?

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The Black Flag logo is sort of like the Coca-Cola script: it’s been subverted and remixed so many times, it’s become bigger than its original intended use. Now, thanks to a mini-documentary produced by Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art, we know the fascinating story behind the creation of the iconic mark — which, according to Henry Rollins, “every cop in LA remembers".

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Designing a museum logo used to be a simple. Maybe you chose the outline of the building facade. Or a staid serif logotype. Or, hell, just the heraldic seal of whatever aristocrat was underwriting the whole operation. But in an era of faltering endowments and declining attendance, many museums are turning to high-concept graphic design to market themselves to the public.

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The logo is a volatile instrument. It can do more harm than good if it’s introduced the wrong way, or with too much fanfare, or with too much self-congratulation (remember the Gap debacle?). Which might explain why the unveiling of 21st Century Fox’s first identity, yesterday afternoon, could’ve easily slipped under the radar.

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As small businesses grow into large corporations, their identities and branding grow, evolve and often end up being a mish-mash of various names. A similar thing is done for companies named after their founders, so the folks at Mental Floss did their homework and discovered what several popular acronyms actually stand for.

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In a book called Branding Terror, Francesco Trivini Bellini and former United Nations counterterrorism analyst Artur Beifuss compiled the logos and brand identities of terrorist organisations "from al-Qaeda to the Real IRA" and analysed them as they would any logo. It's fascinating to approach the identity of the terrorists from a graphic design perspective.

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All the logos you see around you? They're eventually going to change some day. It might be because they get outdated, or it might be because of a new CEO's quirky taste. Just take a look at some logos of famous brands. Even those that still look the same have added some embossing or shading.