The growth in the power of brands in the 20th Century was partly achieved with the use of iconic visual imagery.
A sugary brown drink became one of the most powerful brands in the world using visual cues. There is a simple but distinctive colour palette, an immediately identifiable bottle and a logoscript so individual that you don’t need to read it. The brand guardians at Coca-Cola ensured that nothing was ever displayed in a way that fell foul of the brand guidelines. Brand guidelines are part of the culture in large organisations. Rules on the use of the brand logo, colour references, and how it should be displayed in monotone are ubiquitous.
An interesting ‘craze’ has arisen in recent years. People looked at how brands in the digital world were copying the brand rules of the past and also how the web was impacting on the newer net-based brand logos. For example the use of the word ‘Beta’ as a way of demonstrating how new a site was or the use of unusual names corrupted by say dropping a vowel as in ‘Flickr’.
People were starting to invent their own spurious logos or were using design programmes to reinterpret the logos iconic brands as if they were new web brands. Logo 2.0 interpretations take iconic identities and play around with them. My favourite is the one for ‘Quakr 2.Oats’.
This is harmless fun but what is interesting is the ease with which anyone can go to the heart of what brands spend fortunes trying to protect and overturn all of the rules.