Last weekend at its annual AMG, the Co-op revealed its latest rebrand which incorporates a return to its classic 1960s cloverleaf logo design. A brave and controversial move which got us thinking… if you could bring back any branding, what would it be and why? Check out what some of the TN team chose and join the conversation here #bringbackthebrand
The Summer Olympics of ‘68 are one of the most memorable in my time. Not because I was around to witness it I hasten to add, but because the branding and graphics live long in the mind. Centred around the Olympic rings and number ’68, the sheer simplicity of the geometric lines radiating out like sound waves, is for me, gold medal standard. Echoing the folk art of Mexico whilst sitting comfortably in the hippy-trippy late 60’s era, Lance Wyman’s solution gives a powerful expression of place, culture and purpose. Creating the graphic language for the Olympics must be one of the most challenging tasks anyone can undertake. It has to cross cultures, language and time. Anyone remember Sydney 2000’s boomerang man, the vines from Athens in 2004 or even the rubber-legged runner from Beijing in 2008? Thought not.
Brand Strategy Director
As a child growing up in the 80’s the NASA ‘worm’ logo was iconic. It’s so simple and subtle, but with a purity and confidence that epitomises a golden age of ambitious space exploration. It represented a vision of a glamorous future and a sense of adventure that made every kid my age want to become an astronaut.
Created in 1974 by New York design studio Danne & Blackburn to replace the original NASA ‘meatball’ logo, its beautifully crafted curves and carefully engineered geometry reflect the streamlined silhouette of the space shuttle.
The logo became the foundation of the NASA Graphics Standards Manual, widely considered an incredibly thorough and detailed example of a graphics system. It's very telling that this manual has recently been given a modern makeover by Pentagram’s Hamish Smyth and Jesse Reed, who are hoping to raise funding on Kickstarter to reprint and sell a hardcover version of the manual - they say the manual still has a lot to teach us about design and branding.
Ultimately, although loved and appreciated by designers, many of NASA’s employees hated it and the ‘meatball’ returned in 1992.
When the new YSL logo was introduced back in 2012 for their ready-to-wear collection, many of the fashion faithful were worried about the classic logo disappearing and raced to snatch up clothing with the original label while they still could. The original was such a classic that it was considered these items would increase in value once it was no longer used.
I can see why. Created by Adolphe Mouron Cassandre in 1961, this iconic logo reflected the classic fashion house, it’s unique design emulating the character and heritage of this iconic brand. It was and still is one of the most recognisable in the fashion industry. The new version has a much more generic feel. Yes, it’s classic and sophisticated but it could be for any high end brand, lacking as it does that personality of the original that so represented the YSL brand.
Saul Bass Logos (Various)
New governance and changes at the top often initiate the need for a brand refresh. The majority of the time this entails the refinement and simplification, or modernisation of an existing logo. Fine tuning, smoothing the edges and removing anachronisms. In the history of logo design there are few people who can improve, or dare, to redefine the work of Saul Bass. The master of simple and iconic logo design and an unparalleled practitioner of the concise. Some have tried and, in our opinion, failed to modernise his immortal classics. Most believe you just don’t need to mess with the work of a genius. Leading examples of the attempts to modernise the logos of Saul Bass include, United Airlines, Dixie paper products, AT & T and Quaker Oats.
British Rail 1965
I remember walking past this symbol everyday on my way to school, the iconic white and red colour way was instantly recognisable and simply brilliant, explaining the network in one simple marque. Although still used by the now named National Rail, it’s been cropped into a blue circle and accompanied by a poor choice of typeface, it’s just not the same.
The 1965 Marque, accompanied by the iconic manual guidelines which can be seen here (http://www.doublearrow.co.uk/manual.htm) is a marque that can stand the test of time, it’s as modern and fresh now as it was then. Just like Co-op reverting back to its original simple bold marque would make British Rail feel as new and groundbreaking as it was in the sixties and maybe, just maybe make those delays a little more bearable.
Since I was a little girl I have lived for stories, and when it comes to fictional literature, I don’t think there is a more widely recognised publishing company symbol than that belonging to Penguin. The characterful monochrome icon was created to stand proud on a spectrum of boldly coloured book covers, lessening the need for busy and complex book cover design and instead representing an instant stamp of quality. But I can’t help feeling that the little penguin we all recognise today, was much more appealing in its earlier form.
My favourite form of the Penguin logo is from 1944 - The dancing penguin. His creator, Allen Lane, described him as ‘Dignified but flippant’ a description that is instantly appealing to me! This little guy represented warmth, excitement, movement, progression and pure happiness! He is so full of life, you can imagine him dancing across the pages of books, relishing every word. I’m much less keen on his modern day counterpart, who has lost his personality almost completely, instead he stands frozen, staring bleakly out at us, trapped in an orange bubble. Although I cant deny the nostalgic appeal that this marque still retains, I do feel sad at the loss of the happy, lively little penguin that preceded him and if I could, I would bring him straight back to life.