Tag Archives: corporate identity

Can luxury brands stand out?

My recent blog, “Does your logo stand out in a crowd?“, elicited a comment stating “Can a great logo that suggests refinement and sophistication stand out as well? “. Well I never thought that luxury brand logos don’t stand out so I did some on-line research. I went to the home pages of 12 luxury brands and captured their logos in the array you see below. I aligned them utilizing the “rule” that each sample must be the same height.

luxury logo array

Now the first thing that popped out to me was the almost universal dominance of the brand name in the logo. Even the Rolls and BMW names are there even though not too prominently. The second thing: Seven of the 12 logos used reversed type (light colored type on a darker background). Third thing: except for Prada and Chris Craft, they used traditional type faces, and none used a sans serif face. Fourth thing: half of the samples use capital letters exclusively in their names. And fifth, Except for the Tiffany logo with it’s “Tiffany blue” background, there’s not much color represented in luxury logos.

As far as a small-sized logo is concerned, I’d vote Brooks Brothers being the worst of the bunch because of the lack of color contrast, the very fine lines of the type swishes, and the strange icon on the left that loses any recognition as it shrinks in size. Rolls comes in second. The only thing that saves it is the familiar RR configuration.

Now to address “anon’s” question, can a logo for a luxury brand stand out?. I’d say there are three or four examples of dominant logos in the group above, led by Prada.

Prada has the advantage of a short name which inherently leads to a clean and bold look when the typeface used is bold. Tiffany stands out primarily because of their traditional and world-famous use of  the “Tiffany blue” background. The Broadmoor with the “small” A does not diminish no matter the size and is distinctive. Finally, the Chris Craft logo is distinctive and the type face imparts speed even in a much smaller size.

So in this small sample of luxury brand logos you have some that dominate and some that don’t. I’m not sure that this proves that the logo isn’t important, but I think it does state that for this class of brands there are many attributes more important than the logo that contribute to their success.

But if I may be so bold as to make a suggestion to luxury brands, get out of your “me-too” rut and dance to a differnt drummer if you want to differentiate the brand.

Does your logo stand out in a crowd?

Quite often you’ll have occasion to submit your logo to a medium that will group your logo with a myriad others as the images here demonstrate.

It’s a good way to determine just how well your logo stands out in relation to others, including your direct competitors. And two things become painfully evident to those with poorly designed logos.

logo array
NOTE PROPORTIONS OF LOGOS THAT STAND OUT

Continue reading Does your logo stand out in a crowd?

Brand icon should be relevant

I finally “got it.”

In the American Express commercial featuring Ellen DeGeneres on a movie lot, there’s a man costumed as a Roman centurion who triggers Ellen’s memory: call American Express for concert tickets. What?

Then I vaguely remembered that American Express used the icon of a helmeted centurion. And I guess they’re bringing “him” back as an identifier.

American Express CardI don’t know why. In fact, I don’t know why they used it in the first place. What does a Roman soldier from 2,000-years ago have to do with America (discovered about 500-years ago)? He represents neither America nor Express. The winged messenger, Mercury, delivering flowers for FTD works fine. It’s not only relevant, it makes a point about speed.

But American Express should be represented by a minute man or an Indian scout, not a Roman.

The official logoThey have used a square with the words American Express for several years while the soldier took a back seat in their branding. I guess their research showed customers wanted something a little more personal. So someone remembered they had adopted a figure from the past in the past – never mind that it never fit the company – so let’s revive it.

This is the same short-sighted decision-making that causes the improbable line extensions Ries and Trout lambasted in their book, Positioning – the Battlefield for your Mind.

Oh, well. People do get used to improbable and disconnected brand imaging. With enough money, repetition and consistency, American Express will probably succeed with their historic Mediterranean icon.

And what’s up with that name for a global financial and travel services company? I’ll save that issue for another blog.

Martin Jelsema
303-242-5975