VOICE: BRANDS : The world’s smartest logos

What is it about logo that makes it work? Marketers the world over would love to know the answers. For international design expert, Fraser Gardyne, the key is few simple rules.
“The first thing is The Big Idea,” he says. “What can you see? What does that company do? What does it stand for? What is the logo’s personality? That’s what you’re looking for. If that’s obvious when you’re looking at logo, that’s great.
“Following that, you really need to see what they’re trying to achieve with the brand and the logo.”
Gardyne should know – locally, for the past eight years he’s been design judge, first at local level, then as one of 10 design judges globally for the prestigious WOLDA Worldwide Logo competition (www.wolda.org)
Locally Fraser is the current convenor of graphics judges for the Best Design Awards, position he has held since 2003. In addition, he has just completed two-year term as convenor of judges for the Pride In Print Awards.
In his judging role for WOLDA, each year he casts his critical eye over 2000 of the world’s top logos. “Each entry had descriptor, but the quality of the entries was down to the entrants, so sometimes there was very little information.”
Gardyne says the finalists for the WOLDA awards were an interesting group of logos from across many different sectors. This year’s winning entry was American and last year’s was Australian, but he believes the work Kiwis are producing is right up there.
“Having convened the Best Design Awards, I know that the local design industry is capable of producing work that’s as good or better than what’s being done overseas.
“I think it’s probably due to the fact that New Zealand is travelling nation. We head overseas and, in lot of cases, bring back experience. In lot of the skills we have in the advertising industry we do lead the world.”
Many companies fail to realise the power design has to build their company’s profile and profitability, says Gardyne. He points to research done in Britain that tracked the stock market performance of 166 companies that invested in design over 10 years, finding they outperformed companies that didn’t by 200 percent against the FTSE 100.
The British Design Council, which ran the survey, concluded: “This adds to the growing evidence that design measurably improves company performance. For the financial community, it offers new way of looking at investment.”
For proof of the power of logo, you only have to look at Apple’s, says Gardyne. “We know what we perceive when we see the Apple logo – exciting new products, its leadership and innovation, and the way it markets itself, the popular culture that surrounds it.
“Really, that brand has just moved out of selling computers, now it’s into entertainment. It has become the number three mobile phone company on the globe, and it’s only been selling phones for three years.”
Tiger Woods’ personal brand got knocked last year, notes Gardyne. “It doesn’t mean that he’s not still great golfer, it’s just that the concept of good, clean-living gentleman went out the door.” Locally we saw Telecom handling the XT controversy with dignity, he says. “Paul Reynolds, the head of Telecom, is pretty convincing. You need to have someone who’s got that strength of personality for that approach to succeed, and not many CEOs would be comfortable doing that.
“It’s interesting to see that in New Zealand our largest employer is Fonterra. I don’t think many New Zealanders would strongly know their brand as logo. In fact, the average Kiwi’s most trusted brand now is Wattie’s, which is around New Zealand’s 100th largest company.”
What about the future of logo design? “The way that we talk to our public and our clients changes, and increasingly younger people aren’t relying on traditional media in the way that we did.”
Gardyne is adamant design remains one of the best investments you can make in brand. “Common sense says if your company can tell clear and consistent story, your staff will believe it and your customers will believe it.”

Visited 4 times, 1 visit(s) today
Close Search Window