Thursday, November 20, 2008

The "Golden Arches" of Logos?

"Just like the golden arches represent fast food, we believe this round sign will be the ICON for the private sale industry."

KEN LeBLANC, President National Conference
On board the Carnival Ship "Imagination"
Somewhere in the Carribbean
February 12, 2008

Would you know a great logo if you saw one?

What qualities are required for a logo to be considered worthy of greatness? And how do you know if your logo is truly effective or not?

When editorial cartoonist Pat Jollimore of the Halifax Chronicle-Herald decided to lampoon the federal governments decision to sell off crown assets, evidently there was a visual icon buried deep within the subconscious of the artist. Afterall, if the Harper government opted for selling their real estate privately, substansial commissions could be emptied back into the public purse.

"Sell the CN Tower. Keep the Power".

The caricature depicting Prime Minister Steven Harper and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty was published this past Saturday, indirectly adding more fuel to the re-branding wildfire generated coast-to-coast by Just as Ken LeBlanc envisioned at his company's 10th Anniversary Conference, the bold decision to stand out as a round sign among a sea of squares, has captured the imagination of home buyers and sellers in more than 110 Canadian communities where a franchise is located. Not only are they noticed, many people can even identify the street locations where they see the round signs popping up.

Which leads to an interesting question today on TSB.

What are the Top 5 logos today that deserve to be in the hallowed "Golden Arches" category? What images "swoosh" into your brain if you could only select the first five logos today that you think about upon hearing and reflecting on this question?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question, but because of the not-so subtle hints in the previous paragraph, we're going to exclude McDonald's and Nike from the list and reserve a special place them in the just-created TSB Logo Hall-of-Fame. So if you were asked today (which you are) to name the Top 5 logos that immediately come to mind, what would they be?

From where we sit, the Top 5 on the TSB list includes:

1. Google

2. Apple

3. Starbucks

4. Harley-Davidson


Many people confuse a logo as being the same thing as a brand.

Not so.

A "brand" is a story, embedded in the mind of the market, and made up of numerous aspects of a company, from a front desk clerk to a radio commercial. Logos are critical to anyone who is serious about brand building since they serve as the simplest visual trigger of a brand, attaching itself to everything the business produces and represents.The right logo - one with visual snap, crackle and pop - is something a company can use as a way to rekindle associative feelings that may leave one craving for everything from a Big Mac to a skinny latte as you shuffle your iPod searching for "Detroit Rock City".

A great logo can make a brand memorable, but it needs to be more than great art in order to serve its functional purpose for a business. TSB Logo Hall-of-Famer Nike continue to reap exponential value that results from iconic design as witnessed at the 2005 Masters in Augusta, Georgia.

What five logos do you think are cutting the Heinz mustard these days in terms of fusing business functionality with fabulous design?

And did TSB leave out any Hall-of-Fame candidates?

"You now have to decide what 'image' you want for your brand. Image means personality. Products, like people, have personalities, and they can make or break them in the market place"


Ken LeBlanc said...

Hey pal ...

FYI ... It's Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, not Joe.

Logo Hall Fame has to have the following:

1. MacDonalds
2. Nike
3. Microsoft
4. Mercedes-Benz
5. Toronto Maple Leafs!

stephenbrander said...

If you are talking most famous logos I'd have to add in Coke, Fed Ex, IBM, BMW, Olympic rings and the Superman "S"

Gair Maxwell said...

I think we are now officially ready to receive TSB Logo Hall-of-Fame votes ... the final list to be determiend by faithful TSB readers like Ken and Stephen but as the self-appointed chair of the selection committee I will reserve the right to make up the rules along the way.

That being said, there are certain set-in-Cold Stone Steve Austin principles this Hall-of-Fame will operate under including the absolute refusal to admit any sports franchise, such as the aforementioned Make BeLeafs, who have been unable to field a championship team for the better part of four or five decades.

Less than two decades we can consider but as TSB readers can appreciate, the line needs to be drawn somewhere.

Dave Waters said...

Great Post Gair!

The American Flag is a brand that immediately sprouts an emotion in people - positive and negative. And judging by today’s news on CNN, Obama could benefit from reading The Seamless Brand to work on improving the brand in the world.

Ken - The Leafs will never win the cup if they are always #5...

Mike Shanks PSP said...

Dave this was a great post. Here is Dave's Link on Obama.

In defence to the value of a brand in the TML. Fact - They have not one a cup since there were only 6 teams. Fact - ACC for a Leaf game is a tough and expensive ticket to come by. Fact - They are continually the one of, if not the highest valued hockey franchises.

Iconic, yes. Winners, no. The legion of fans and the continual battle that wages between Leaf faithful and Hab fans alike show this. The point is that any long time sports franchise has stong logos. Just ask anyone in Bean Town about the big as Gair has said we should leave them out.

What about Youtube, Facebook, Twitter for younger audiances?

The Remax hot air balloon?

The big E for Enron?