Why ‘make the logo bigger’ is a sign of a weak identity system

Advertising starts with a name. If you are proud of that name, make it bigger. The prouder, the bigger. The result may not be particularly aesthetically pleasing, but at least you’ll please the client. The ongoing battle between clients and creative departments is: ‘How big is too big?’ How about 1px?

How about putting no logo at all? Before you frown, a quick test: without checking, what size is facebook logotype in the facebook app? Google in gmail app? How big is the Apple’s wordmark on its website? There aren’t any. Still, these products are distinctive enough to be identified with their brands.

 Brand identity is a system, and as most systems, the whole is greater than a sum of its parts. Logo, colors, imagery, layout, look and feel, typography, motion, iconography and meaning etc. – these are the fundamentals of an excellent identity system. The more integrated, flexible and coherent yet distinctive this system is, the less you need a big logo. If you need to make it bigger to make the product, magazine ad or billboard recognizable, then most probably at least some of the elements of your visual system have failed. asf Is the copy and image placed on a website distinctive by itself? 

 Sitting comfortably through creative pitches with your undivided attention focused on crisp printouts of ‘big ideas and good design’ doesn’t bring you any closer to real-life marketing environment. Put the printout at the end of the hall. Hide half of it behind the door. Is the copy and image placed on a website distinctive by itself? How about a button? The brand should be obvious without seeing the brand name. Differentiation and coherence are survival. To stand out and transcend the visual clutter you need much more than splashing a symbol all over brand touch points. The latter infects it with visual rash rather than proper identity system. 

 Advertising starts with a name but that name is much more than a logo. Logo works only as an association with a brand or product linking the graphic emblem with real meaning. It would be a waste to squander all the other identity elements on blandness, wouldn’t it?

Robert CampinThe Madonna of Humility
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