Today on FastCoDesign, Steve McCallion ran a piece called “The Real Lesson of the Gap Debacle: Logos Aren’t Key Anymore“, which asks how important logos are these days. Among a string of well-made points about what people find important, McCallion writes, “Simply put, no one really cares about the logo anymore.” Balance that against the other recent giant-brand identity news that Chevrolet has chosen “Chevy Runs Deep” as a tagline, which has been widely panned, and you’ve got yourself something to think about.
Let me say this about Chevy’s line before going any further: awhile back it came out that a GM exec decided that the company should no longer refer to the brand as Chevy (an idea that died as quickly as it was memo’d), and the story just gets funnier* (ironicker? not a word!).
Anyway, we asked AdWeek’s Brian Morrissey as well as Adam Wohl and Darrell Whitelaw of MIR for their thoughts.
Morrissey is on the fence, noting, “My knee-jerk (and obvious) reaction is advertising is moving from taglines and logos to experiences. That’s not to say visual identity doesn’t matter, just that it doesn’t play such an outsized role anymore.” Which is true. But a better question is, when a new brand is born, do agencies still start defining its visual identity by coming up with a logo? Probably. He goes on, “I don’t know the tagline of Google or Facebook. (They both have recognizable logos, of course.) Their chief brand attribute is the experience of searching or finding people to stalk, er connect to…That’s boring, right? I think more brands need talking animals.”
Agreed. OK, so that’s your non-ad-agency-guy answer. How about some guys for whom creating brand identity isn’t in the “core business” category (don’t take this as a limit on what MIR does, btw). Co-founder Adam Wohl broke it down thusly, referring to Gap: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Word. How about them taglines? “We forget about the 46 states in the continental US between CA and NY. There are a lot of people living in that land mass that don’t use iPhones, don’t have their computers hooked up to their TVs and spend billions of dollars every year. Ask them what foursquare is. Then ask them what ‘I’m Lovin’ it’ means. Goodnight, everyone.”
OK so what about Whitelaw, the other half of MIR, on the importance of logos, “Fucking critical. Nothing will ever replace identity.” As for that story about the Gap logo: “Whoever wrote that is a fucking idiot.”
So there you have it. A bunch of people said stuff and you’re no smarter than you were 500 words ago. You’re welcome.
*It first got funny when “that’s what she said” popped into your head. You can’t even control it, can you?