Media Magazine

Branding Was Never This Fun

Posted on the 06 September 2011 by Themarioblog @garciainteract
Reporting from Dubai, United Arab Emirates this week

TAKEAWAY: Logos have traditionally stayed unmoved, representatives of a what a brand stands for, its history, the recognizable symbol that establishes a sense of familiarity and intimacy between user and brand. Google’s logo is an exception. It changes with the date, and it could even be different from one country to the next, yet we all recognize it, a cameleon that is always familiar.  Behind each logo transformation: a story. ALSOPreparing for the next big news event—-\the Hillary October surprise?

Part of the Google fun: the mercurial logo

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Watch the Google doodlers in action here

The Lucille Ball’s 100th birthday doodle: one of the best

Honoring Charlie Chaplin——and he reads a Google newspaper, of course

The Freddie Mercury 65th birthday

See all of the Google’s Doodles here:

These Google logos are heavily into storytelling: just look at the logo on any given morning and you get the instant story of that which you should be thinking about that day: environment, Father’s Day, Lucille Ball’s birthday, or some patriotic moment in whatever country you happen to be that day (indeed, the storytelling is local for the Google Doodles).

I am fascinated by the surprise element, but, more so, by the fact that today, when we emphasize storytelling as the key, Google extends the thought to storytelling through its brand. Nothing ecstatic about it.

And to think—for those of us who have been in the business for decades—that brands were the most carefully guarded of all visuals.

You can do anything to the newspaper, or the magazine, but please don’t touch the logo.“

I have heard that phrase hundreds of times—still do today! Of course, there were always adventurous editors and art directors who would place a cornucopia around the newspaper’s nameplate for Thanksgiving, or Christmas lights on Dec. 25.  But, in some houses, even these occasions were a NO NO to tamper with “the brand”.

But Google tells us that respect for the visual aspects of a brand does not mean one must put it away in the attic, along with grandma’s trunk and her cameo.

For Google, it seems, the logo is organic.  Like butterflies, a beautiful thing, lasts one day, disappears.

But, alas, the Google Doodles are filed and you can find them and study them.

When I taught graphic arts courses at Syracuse University, one of the early exercises was to have each student create his own logo. It was fun for them, it gave us a chance to discuss branding, and it gave me an early in the semester insight into how this student saw himself/herself.

Google provides a daily lesson on transmitting quick information and telling a story in those first 10 seconds when we look at its logo.

More on “dynamic logos

">The Future is Fluid: Inside Dynamic Logos

First paragraph:
During the research phase of a recent identity project, we spent some time revisiting numerous examples of what we like to call “fluid identities” — logo systems that use multiple iterations of a mark (or series of marks) to communicate a particular aspect of a brand. These might take the form of a logo that changes with each viewing, or a singular mark that gets impregnated with different imagery, depending on the context. At one point, these types of projects were few and far between, but now these isolated examples have grown into a full-blown trend. The days of the static logo are certainly not extinct, but this persistent way of thinking about malleable identities seems like a portend of things to come.

More about short messages and their impact

Please read my Poynter colleague Dr. Roy Peter Clark’s take on the powerful meaning of short messages (including tatoos!)

First paragraph: 
A much overlooked canvas for short writing is the human body. Think of the scene in the bar when a young woman writes her phone number on the back of a suitor’s hand. Think of the reporter who surreptitiously scribbles the name of a source on her palm. Think of all those sailors with the names of sweethearts inked on their arms.

Getting the “It’s Hillary Vs Obama” page ready?

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From time to time editors ask me about preparing for that big news event that they know will happen, and so let’s get ready for it.

Traditionally, newspaper editors have prepared obituaries ahead of time for dignitaries and VIPs, knowing that their time will come. I remember, as an intern atThe Miami News in 1967 working on research for the future obit of President Eisenhower (he died in 1969). The published obit had some of the material I had put together about his childhood.

In meetings the past weeks, a subject of “future” reference that comes up is what is called The Hillary Factor.  Will Hillary Clinton, who now serves as Secretary of State in the Obama administration, be approached about challenging her boss in a Democratic primary to seek the Party’s nomination for the 2012 Elections?  Not totally farfecthed, if you read what some political pundits are writing about.

Unbelievable as it may seem, it probably makes perfect sense, and I would not discourage any editor to start the planning of such a package.

Ads that rise into the sky

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When night falls in Dubai, the skyscrapers turn into giant billboards advertising everything from perfume to airlines to cars.

I was running early evening and took a picture of one of these giant ads that span across dozens of stories.

Dubai: the metropolis that sells night and day.

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