It is interesting that the “brand bashing” cover story (MW April 28) made no mention of the role of design in brand building. I say interesting, because I have always considered No Logo to be a classic piece of powerful logo design in its own right. The book jacket has the basis of a striking, recognisable brand identity. In this way No Logo is no different from Nike – design has helped it to become the latest brand that we like to buy into. Carry this identity across an entire series of similar titles, and the “brand bashers” will be rushing to the tills. It would also make a great t-shirt – if it hasn’t already.
What is more, any implication that there is something sinister about the use of symbols and logos is wrong. At a time when consumers are bombarded by choice and face a huge amount of information clutter in the media, in retail environments and on packaging, the use of symbols is one of the few ways in which brand owners can effectively steer customers in the appropriate direction.
Good corporate design is based on providing information. It should be a natural signpost consumers can easily follow to help them to make informed choices. For instance, if more financial organisations made better use of symbolism, there would be much less confusion about the products and services they provide.
It is easy to be critical of the acquisitive behaviour that branding can create. Many consumers want to own clothes, durables and even foods that carry a particular logo. There is nothing wrong with individuals perceiving brands as rewards for their work, or as a way to become part of a “club”. We all do this to a greater or lesser extent countless times every day through the choices we make, whether it is the newspapers we read, our choice of coffee or the car we drive.
What is crucial is that symbols should clearly convey the right meaning and true benefit. They help brand owners to communicate and sell products and services more effectively, and allow consumers to choose those that are most appropriate for them.