Creating a strong brand identity is fundamental to a successful business. We – as consumers – identify with well-known brands through logo, tone of voice – the colours used on adverts and packaging. The Golden Arches of McDonalds – we’d know them no matter what town, country or continent we’re in, right? The tongue-in-cheek asides from Innocent Smoothies – we can spot them a mile off.
So how do the most successful businesses keep their brand identity recognisable – whilst staying ahead of the changing trends in modern marketing?
Although an iconic symbol seen on our iPhones, MacBooks and computers, the Apple logo wasn’t always as slick as it is today. The original crest showed Issac Newton sitting beneath an apple tree, experiencing gravity for the first time. It was fussy and elaborate – and not surprisingly, lasted only a year.
Steve Jobs settled on the apple silhouette for it’s simplicity. The bite was added to differentiate from other types of fruit (cherries and tomatoes, for example) – and there was a techy play-on-words (bite / byte) which helped seal the deal. But the original design was rainbow coloured, and not prominent on the company’s product.
Jobs wanted to move with the times – and make the Apple logo more visible. Which is why you now find the symbol, pride of place on your computer or mobile phone. Because of its prominence, Jobs opted for the monochrome version of today.
The very first McDonalds logo didn’t even feature the Golden Arches. They were introduced almost 15 years later, and were inspired by the very first franchise store – which featured two separate arches at either side of the building. Yep – the arches weren’t even joined. However, from an angle, they were said to look like a giant ‘M’ which became the inspiration for later logo designs.
Since the 70’s, the logo has evolved, but those arches remain constant. Simply playing around with colours and shapes has been enough to keep the logo contemporary.
Since the 1800’s Coca Cola has been playing around with fonts and colours, but have always preferred to show the brand name – rather than opting for a symbol, on their company logo. The rebellious ‘80’s saw Coca Cola drop their name down to Coke, using a clean typeface and single colour (it was the decade of dropping the surname after all – Madonna, Cher…) but they were soon back to doing what they do best, and have continued to evolve the Coca Cola logo ever since.
Today, the colours are stripped back, opting for a red-on-white design and no-fuss typeface. The clean look has been popular with marketers and consumers alike over the last decade.
Probably the most bookmarked website out there (purely a finger-in-the-air estimate) major online shopping site, Amazon, has been around far longer than you’d expect. The company was founded in 1994, and was nothing more than a small online bookstore – a far cry from the multi-billion dollar industry of today.
The typeface ‘amazon.com’ has been consistent throughout the logo’s history. But it is the use of colour, and more importantly – the company’s offering, which has proved changeable. The very first logo back in the mid-nineties featured the words; ‘The Earth’s biggest bookstore’. Clearly, they were already set about conquering the world, using a statement as big as this, but just how they would do it, wasn’t clear.
Then came sales of CD’s, which was incorporated into the logo with the phrase ‘Books, music and more’. As the range of product expanded, Amazon had to find another way to showcase their offering. They adopted the arrow symbol (now marketed as a smiley face) which points from the letter A to the letter Z in the brand name – giving us the subtle indication that anything we could ever want, we’d find on the Amazon website.
Over the years, the colours (when settled upon in 1998) have remained consistent and recognisable.
The BMW brand is one of those things that shouldn’t be messed with. The marketing team know this – referring to the symbol as ‘the promise to our customer, to receive something special’ – and they’re not afraid to stick with a successful formula. Consequently, the logo has stayed pretty much the same, with the odd typeface tweak and change in font colour, for over a century. Perhaps the simplicity of this is the reason BMW enthusiasts have hankered after a myth dating back to the 1920’s – which hints that the logo design was based on a rotating propeller in-flight.
Sadly, this is not the case. The design simply merges the colours of the Bavarian flag with the original Rapp logo (BMW’s predecessor). Consistency has worked in the company’s favour, and is the logo is now marketed as the ‘symbol for sheer driving pleasure’.
And what about us? Here at Clothes2order, we’ve seen some changes too
You’ll be familiar with our current logo – clean, succinct, with playful use of colour and imagery. But it wasn’t always so. Nope – we have also moved with the times, and adopted a more efficient way of marketing our brand, and our service (notice the subtle button icon to symbolise clothing).
Back in 2006, we were more conservative on colour. We wanted our service to be clear – and incorporated a slogan to drive home the message. But we’re a friendly and approachable bunch, and on reflection, wanted to show that in our marketing too. So just a few years later, we adopted a more quirky style – the focus here
on the speed of our service.
However, as we’ve developed and improved our business over the years, we made the decision to redesign. Yes, we’re friendly and approachable, but we’re experts in our field too.
Our current logo strikes the perfect balance – whilst maintaining clear brand identity, even from the early years.