A Brand New Look
We see so many logos so much, one wonders if they mean anything. So we asked the experts. Here's what they say.
A Brand New Look
We see these logos so much, one wonders if they mean anything. So we asked the experts. Here’s what they say.
StarShipley is a full-service creative agency in Wilmington. Currently working with The Delaware Lottery and DuPont, it handles public relations for Dover International Speedway and Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. Tracy Donofry is a senior vice president and creative director.
The golden arches of McDonald’s. The magic castle at Disney. The Nike Swoosh. Most of us can identify such logos instantly. We understand Big Macs, Mickey Mouse and Michael Jordan. Yet other brands peel away like a Band-Aid ripped off in the bathtub. Why? We asked advertising folks Tracy Donofry of StarShipley, Linda Smith of Northlight Advertising, Brent Rapisardi of Advanced Results Marketing and Hugh Braithwaite of Braithwaite Communications to take a look at the brands and homegrown logos we see every day. Do they work?
Can you say “DuPont?”
Smith This is a classic with a terrific tagline: one color, locked up, looks good on everything.
Rapisardi I showed this logo to five people and asked them to answer yes or no if they were familiar with the brand. All five said yes. All five also said they have no idea what DuPont does. It is good that they add “the miracles of science” to the logo, but it still leaves one unclear.
Donofry This logo is an icon by itself. The letters encapsulated in the oval give the company the feeling of medicine and science.
You have to admit that the DuPont logo looks pretty good for its age. Believe it or not, the familiar symbol turns 100 this year. George A. Wolf, a member of the company’s advertising department, designed the logo in 1906 and the oval went public the following year. It was officially adopted as the DuPont trademark in May 1909. The oval has appeared on thousands of items, from gunpowder to nylon to the company’s modern day products. It also still appears on the No. 24 Chevrolet of Jeff Gordon. Wolf’s original carving of the oval is on display at Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington. If you stop by, be sure to wish it happy birthday.
Smith I think the most outstanding thing about this logo is the use of the color orange. I don’t even need to see the logo. Just the color makes me think of ING, and that’s what I call branding. One of my associates said, “Well, what about Home Depot? They use orange.” When I think of Home Depot, I see big white letters. Using orange in the financial arena was a little daring and did exactly what it was supposed to do: set them apart.
Rapisardi ING uses an orange color that is rarely used. Daring, sort of breaks the mold of the simple blue-and-white logos that dominate the financial industry. The white lion is a little lost in the royal blue-bright orange combo, not to mention in between text. If ING wants the lion to be a recognized symbol of their business, they should make it stand out more, either before or after the text.
Donofry This logo is very surprising to me given the fact that ING broke the mold of how banks do business. This logo is surprisingly conservative given the progressive nature of how this company does business. I don’t think this logo does an adequate job of communicating the nature or the essence of the company.
Rapisardi The Comcast logo is simple and direct. There are no fancy logos intertwined within it that would make it hard to read. The red C in the background is a nice accent to the logo. The only thing I would add to this is three words at the bottom: phone, cable, Internet.
Braithwaite Too simple and seemingly dated for such a powerful organization. Their flashy ads are more representative of their style and edge.
Rapisardi This logo is very hard to read. The design to the right looks like a twisted combination of the letters A and Z. This is not a logo that would be easily recognized on a national level, only because it’s hard for a consumer to re-create the logo in their mind, triggering instant brand recognition.
Smith Great example of the right font for the job. Usually a chef hat would feel a little cliché, but used with this font and where it’s placed, well, it just works.
Rapisardi This is a good logo, simple and yet effective. The chef’s hat isn’t completely necessary, as one assumes a pizzeria would serve food, but it does add an “our meals are made fresh” image. The slogan at the bottom reinforces quality of product, which always helps.
Braithwaite This logo was our favorite of the bunch. It evokes emotion with its color, artwork and font. It makes you think it’s a small ma and pa shop, but yet it’s a sturdy chain.
Smith I was unfamiliar with this company, but looking at the logo, I immediately thought it was a trucking company. One of my associates immediately said, “heating and air conditioning.” Actually, it’s a chemical company. There is nothing iconic about this logo to tell its story.
Rapisardi What products or services does Hercules specialize in? The logo tries to pull off the simple (understood) stature of a GAP or GM, yet the product doesn’t have enough name cachet to stand on name only. Hercules should provide its service at the bottom.
Donofry I’m underwhelmed by this logo. While the heaviness of the font communicates a level of solidity and the slight slant gives the logo some motion, the logo overall does not tell me anything about the company.
Braithwaite The logo needs to show more strength, tradition and history. We would have expected more from such an industry player.
Rapisardi The Bank of America logo is concise and consistent. The colors are exactly what they should be, and the inverted American flag is a nice touch. The inverted flag is a logo that could eventually stand on its own with enough promotion and advertising for Bank of America.
Braithwaite The logo shows a sense of movement or evolution. Good use of color.
Smith This is a good logo, though I generally like logos that are a little tighter, not so long. However, the colors are obviously appropriate, and the icon brings the American flag to mind.
Rapisardi The logo used with Wilmington Trust doesn’t fit. It reminded one female co-worker of the Girl Scouts of America logo. Wilmington Trust should just keep it simple and eliminate the needless symbol.
Braithwaite The logo is a bit bland.
Smith I’m a fan of this logo. I like the use of the two different fonts and the red swoosh at the top. Mimicking an umbrella gives me a feeling of being covered or protected.
Rapisardi The bold of half the logo aims to stress the Citi in city bank, stressing the point that there are available branches easily accessible in every city. One thing that is unclear is the red curve above Citi. The Traveller’s Bank is a holdover from the past and doesn’t necessarily have relevance anymore.
Donofry There’s no mistaking the fact that this company is progressive. This does not feel like the bank of old, yet at the same time it feels like a solid and trustworthy bank. The red arch connecting the I’s gives the logo a forward movement without having to use traditional methods, such as italicized type. I also like the bold to thin font that allows the Citi part of the name to pop.
Braithwaite Using a progressive lowercase font and the artwork showed an interconnectedness, which was a big hit here. We also liked the use of multi color.
Rapisardi Many people outside the Delaware-Maryland-Virginia area are unaware of Delmarva and its meaning. Localized company logos are destined to be solely locally recognized, and rarely, if ever, will be recognized on a national level.
Braithwaite Block style doesn’t work, but lowercase letters display understated strength. The word “invent” is intriguing too. That works. It displays a mission statement in one word.
Rapisardi This logo is simple and consistent. The metallic blue background symbolizes stability, and durability. This says to me GM cars are sturdy, durable and tough.
Donofry I like the metallic effect of the GM logo. It communicates to me that this company makes a substantial product. The blue hue makes the company feel progressive, and I can easily see this icon on the hood or back of a car. This logo appropriately communicates the middle-American positioning of this company.
Braithwaite Poor use of the square, but the logo held up strong in our review because of its simplicity, coloring and font.
Rapisardi This is a great logo. The globe is consistent with the tag line “making our mark on the world.” The only thing that seems off is the globe. I know they are trying to make the color scheme all consistent, but the globe should have the standard blue-green globe colors.
Braithwaite It seems like a school trying to stand out yet is un-established. The artwork doesn’t work.
Rapisardi The shield design is a standard and recognizable symbol of education. The way the U and D overlap is a great way of promoting the short name of the school: UD or U of D. Many colleges today are known more by their short name than their regular full school names.
Braithwaite Shows standard tradition.
Braithwaite Stale, looks quite a bit novice and misrepresentative of a tech college.
Rapisardi This is a good example of displaying services underneath the company name. This is particularly effective for companies whose name alone may not be recognizable by the majority of consumers. The red arrow is a bit generic. One would think a worldwide creative tech company would use a more creative logo.
Braithwaite Artwork (steeple) shows tradition. The color is nicely used, even though they have it in a square.
Rapisardi This logo is a little misleading, to be honest. The logo used for Christiana Care looks more like a crescent moon, not something associated with healthcare. One would expect a logo color scheme more conducive with the medical industry. Red and white comes to mind.
Donofry The icon for this company is interesting in that it creates a concave center with the knocked out C and adds a level of dimension to the logo. The rest of the logo communicates a conservative organization. While this logo is nice, it doesn’t go far enough to tell the viewer what is unique about Christiana Care.
Braithwaite This logo could use some nursing. It is not representative of its industry. It needs some emotion. The color, artwork and font are seemingly outdated.
Donofry The birdlike icon of this logo bothers me. Being a company whose business is oil, any appearance of a bird takes me to the Exxon Valdez. I would have thought that there were other symbols that would communicate forward thinking, and keeping the world moving better than a bird.
Braithwaite Could have displayed more strength and opportunity.
Braithwaite Color and artwork work to show movement. Artwork also shows structure and strength.
Rapisardi Simple yet effective. Royal blue and white are almost understood colors for financials. The addition of the Chase logo keeps it simple, yet effective. This logo is aided by long-term advertisement and promotion: “Our services sell themselves, so we don’t need a flashy logo.”
Donofry While this logo is probably known worldwide, the icon is what makes this company’s identity unique. Without the icon, the logo feels very one dimensional, and starts to fall slightly flat.
Braithwaite The colors are conservative and the feeling is safe, which is good considering their industry. However, it struggles to stand out.
Rapisardi Similar to JP Morgan, the bull logo is a long-time association of Merrill Lynch, not to mention a good tie-in with the services they provide (e.g. bull market). This logo would still work even without the words “Merrill Lynch” next to the bull, the logo is that recognizable.
Donofry This logo is extremely effective for a multitude of reasons. The main reason is that there is no doubt left in the viewer’s mind what Merrill Lynch does. It communicates very quickly financial gains. The logo feels substantial and solid, and the icon of the bull is done in a progressive manner, which conveys a forward-thinking organization
Braithwaite Similar to JP Morgan, the colors are conservative, yet the bull represents strength. The shape is standard, yet the artwork within is unique. This is a great logo.
Smith I felt that this was a strong logo for a lot of reasons. The font is powerful and easy to reproduce. Even without the full name, the oval with the V and the swoosh is easily recognizable, and the yellow gives the whole thing movement. One of our designers disagreed. “I don’t really get any clear message from it,” he said.
Poor color choice and use of font. It’s not representative of their status.
Braithwaite This logo showed poorly because of its lack of uniqueness and its shape. The color was OK.
RapisardiAt close analysis, one wonders what the appeal of the MasterCard logo is. However, this logo has become a very recognizable one, whether it is seen on television commercials or at retail stores that accept MasterCard. This is another example of a logo that is so well known that one could remove the “MasterCard” text and the majority of people asked would still recognize it. This goes to show that even a simple, bland logo can be instantly recognized at first glance if promoted correctly.
Braithwaite This logo went against the typical square logo, which is a good thing. It stands out. The colors are recognizable.
No one knows image like Northlight Advertising. The company has served Delaware and Southeastern Pennsylvania for 17 years. Clients range from educational and financial institutions to museums, restaurants, hotels, retail stores and auto dealers. Vice president Linda Smith guides the creative team.
Advanced Results Marketing, in Marlboro, Massachusetts, specializes in short-form television commercials. For more than 15 years, the company has created successful campaigns for brands such as Carvel and vegas.com. Brent Rapisardi is a senior media buyer and account executive.
Braithwaite Communications of Philadelphia has specialized in branding and more for over a decade, working with clients such as Wawa and US Steel. President Hugh Braithwaite is a guest lecturer on public relations and marketing at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.