kottke.org posts about branding

Santa's brand guidelinesDec 11 2013

Communications agency Quietroom came up with a tongue-in-cheek set of brand guidelines for Santa Claus outlining a brand refresh for the jolly Pole dweller.

Santa Brand Refresh

Paris in logosApr 20 2011

Logo Tourist is a project by Risto-Jussi Isopahkala that depicts cityscapes and famous Parisian landmarks made up of famous logos. Here's the Arc de Triumph (sponsored by Pepsi and Adidas):

Arc De Branding

See also Logorama.

Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi brandingAug 06 2009

You know that image that's been going around that shows several revisions to the Pepsi logo while the Coca-Cola logo is the same as it's been since 1885? It tells a compelling story...Pepsi shifting its brand every few years in an attempt to catch up to steady market leader Coca-Cola. But of course it's bullshit...Armin Vit constructs a more accurate brand timeline that shows many Coca-Cola logos over the years.

Brand timeline portraitsMay 18 2009

A brand timeline portrait shows all the different brands a person uses and interacts with during the course of a typical day.

Brand Timeline Portrait

Originated by Jane Sample, dozens of other people have also created portraits. (via rocketboom)

Update: Make your own at Brand My Day.

The sucky new Tropicana orange juice cartonsFeb 06 2009

Steven Heller asks why Tropicana redesigned the packaging for their orange juice.

What could Arnell, the agency that did the deed, have been thinking? It's one thing to change the logo; it's another to abandon the mnemonic orange with the straw in it. As package imagery goes, it was pretty smart, and decidedly memorable.

He goes on to call the redesign "a big tactical mistake". I'm a Tropicana drinker and I think the new packaging sucks. It's impossible to figure out at a glance which juice is which because all the packages look the same, aside from some thin lines at the very top. Horrible.

Coke not Classic anymoreFeb 04 2009

I missed this a few days ago: Coca-Cola will finally be removing the "Classic" from their packaging, 24 years after their New Coke fiasco. What took so long?

Worst/best logos of 2008Dec 22 2008

Brand New runs down the best and worst new logos of 2008. Some of the bad ones are downright awful...the WGN one is crazy bad.

Designing the Obama logoDec 11 2008

Great two-part video interview with Sol Sender about designing the logo for the Obama campaign. Includes some early design sketches and other designs that made it to the final phase. (via quips)

The Obama "O" designerNov 24 2008

Steven Heller spoke with the designer Sol Sender about his iconic Obama "O" logo.

Well, the "O" was the identity for the Obama '08 campaign and the campaign is over. That doesn't mean that the mark will be forgotten; I think the memorabilia from this campaign will have a long shelf life and will stand as a visible symbol of pride for people who supported the candidate and for those who see it as a representation of a watershed moment for our country. As far as having another life, I can't say. Perhaps the 2012 campaign will hark back to it in some way.

Sender's web site has a bit more info on the development of the Obama brand.

New Pepsi logoOct 28 2008

What do I think about the new Pepsi logo? Eh. Companies spend way too much time, effort, and money building up feelings about logos -- like decades and billions of dollars -- and then they just go and change it all. Of course the new logo and colors are similar to the old ones and it's variations on a theme but the new designs feel like someone's idea of what packaging is going to look like 10 years from now, an approach that never seems to work out well (see Back to the Future II). Coca-Cola had such success refreshing their brand with a simple take on their classic look and logo, why can't Pepsi do the same with this classic look?

Branded ecstasy pillsOct 23 2008

Photos of 99 different ecstasy pills with logos on them, including those with McDonald's, Mercedes, MTV, Harry Potter, and Apple logos.

Brand posters for moviesOct 14 2008

Movie posters that list all the product placements in the films. (via quips)

Goth TweetyJun 12 2008

The huge media conglomerates are re-imagining their cash-cow brands like Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, and Strawberry Shortcake for today's generation of kids. Poochie, anyone?

You want a dark, Goth version of Tweety Bird? Have at it.

This isn't going to end well.

Swiss MadeJun 05 2008

From an article in Monocle about the Baselworld watch fair.

Swiss watch brands are patriotic to a fault. Rolex is one of the few high-end manufacturers that does not stamp "Swiss Made" on the watch face in the belief that Rolex defines Switzerland rather than the other way around.

Now *that's* a brand.

Brand TagsMay 12 2008

Brand Tags asks people what they think of in association with particular brands and then the results are displayed as tag clouds. For instance, Playboy, Nike, Apple, and MTV. See also Celeb Tags.

What I Learned Today asked an interestingMar 02 2008

What I Learned Today asked an interesting question on Friday:

What is the fastest "0 to global" brand? Basically, what brand (company, product, person, any entity that holds a brand identity) do you think gained awareness the fastest. Reblog your answer, if you're so inclined. TBC Monday (taking a snowboard trip to Stowe this weekend).

Tumblr doesn't allow comments, so let's open them up here. What's your best guess?

Functional colorDec 05 2007

Color Matters examines four legal battles over color trademark infringement in packaging and branding, each decided by a test of "color functionality."

The U.S. courts denied Ambrit's request for protection of blue, on the basis that royal blue when used to package frozen desserts was functional and could not be monopolized in a trademark. The ruling stated "Royal blue is a 'cool color;' it is suggestive of coldness and used by a multitude of ice cream and frozen dessert producers." Although the ruling acknowledged the issue of protecting the consumer from confusion, preventing a monopoly of a functional color was a greater issue.

(via CG Explorer)

Now you can buy a house modeledSep 11 2007

Now you can buy a house modeled after one of Martha Stewart's three houses. People love these houses so much that sales are bucking the downturn in new home sales. Says a representative for the company building the homes: "It's our version of the iPhone. It illustrates the power of something different with a brand tied to it."

An examination of the logos of terrorist organizations.Sep 10 2007

An examination of the logos of terrorist organizations.

On brand indentities that are flexible (vs.Jun 21 2007

On brand indentities that are flexible (vs. those that are static). Examples: Google's logo, Target's bullseye, and Saks' jumbly identity. "As advertising agencies lose their grip on the communications channels, the logos are starting to come out of the corner. Once pushed as far over to the bottom right as possible, they're becoming central to communication, no longer content to just be the the full-stop at the end of a piece of branded communication." (via quipsologies)

The difference between marketing, PR, branding, and advertising.Jun 11 2007

The difference between marketing, PR, branding, and advertising.

A rare positive review from Speak UpJun 05 2007

A rare positive review from Speak Up of the new London 2012 that everyone else in the world seems to hate. "I believe, despite any ensuing boo's, that this is some of the most innovative and daring identity work we have seen in this new millennium, and the lack of cheesy and imagination-impairing gradients gives me hope that identity work can still be resurrected on a larger scale."

Update: Coudal loves the logo.

A list of companies and the fontsMay 31 2007

A list of companies and the fonts they use for their logos and corporate identities.

Mocketing: making fun of your product orMay 16 2007

Mocketing: making fun of your product or brand in order to sell the product and build the brand. Found out about mocketing from this Book Design Review post on a book called Unmarketable.

I feel like I've linked to thisApr 06 2007

I feel like I've linked to this before but here it is again (maybe): a list of how companies got their names. "Mattel - a portmanteau of the founders names Harold 'Matt' Matson and Elliot Handler." (via khoi)

Instead of giving out wasteful schwag bagsApr 05 2007

Instead of giving out wasteful schwag bags and tshirts that no one wears, the Interesting 2007 conference is asking participants to provide their own used tshirts (they'll screenprint the logo on it) and will be using plain old plastic bags with the conference logo screenprinted on them. What a great twist on recycling. (via bbj)

The mid-2000s may be seen inMar 28 2007

The mid-2000s may be seen in the future as not such a fantastic time for logo design. One further piece of evidence: the what-were-they-thinking? new design for the Dairy Queen logo. "[The] gold and blue curved swishes [signify] food and treats." Don't know about you, but that blue swish make me want to cram ice cream down my treat-hole!

Zombie brands: products that were discontinued butMar 21 2007

Zombie brands: products that were discontinued but then come back to life. Examples: Tab, McRib, and Life magazine. More on zombie brands.

A list of well-know logos & brandsMar 02 2007

A list of well-know logos & brands and their design histories.

Update: I took out the link because several people told me that the site I was linking to has a history of taking other's content and passing it off as their own.

Food manufacturers are greenwashing their packaging, usingJan 05 2007

Food manufacturers are greenwashing their packaging, using homey organic colors and themes to sell food that isn't even necessarily organic or healthy. "Start with a gentle image of a field or a farm to suggest an ample harvest gathered by an honest, hard-working family. To that end, strangely oversize vegetables or fruits are good. If they are dew-kissed and nestled in a basket, all the better. A little red tractor is O.K. Pesticide tanks and rows of immigrant farm laborers bent over in the hot sun are not."

Scans of the New York City TransitDec 27 2006

Scans of the New York City Transit Authority Graphics Standards Manual from 1970. (thx, jake)

A look at Saks Fifth Avenue's newDec 20 2006

A look at Saks Fifth Avenue's new logo and identity. The identity system consists of cutting up the logo into patterns....98,137,610,226,945,526,221,323,127,451,938,506, 431,029,735,326,490,840,972,261,848,186,538, 906,070,058,088,365,083,852,800,000,000,000 possible patterns.

The Max Planck Institute of Molecular CellDec 08 2006

The Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics has a logo that changes every time it gets used on letterhead or displayed on a web site. The logo system was designed by Michael Schmitz and is based on cellular automata like John Conway's Game of Life. "Parameters [for the logo] are coupled to certain factors: number of employees = density, funding = speed, number of publications = activity. Different logos are being 'bred' and then picked by fitness in relation to the parameters or voted for by the employees." Schmitz's PDF document Evolving Logo is worth a look even if you don't read German. (Anyone want to do a translation? It looks fascinating.) (via bbj)

The brand new Brand New blog identifiesNov 10 2006

The brand new Brand New blog identifies and critiques new logos and other brand identity work.

Deron Bauman on design language: "What ISep 25 2006

Deron Bauman on design language: "What I am beginning to suspect however is that contemporary designers are spending more time creating products that reflect the design language of the brand than are perpetuating beauty. For instance, it seems more important to create a car that looks like a Pontiac than to create a Pontiac that is beautiful."

On the perfection of Tiffany's "little blueSep 21 2006

On the perfection of Tiffany's "little blue box" and how other luxury labels have failed to follow its seductive packaging lead. While Apple isn't strictly a luxury brand (they're more of an everyday luxury brand like Ikea or Muji...the luxury of well-designed items but without the price), but they definitely pay a lot of attention to their packaging. (via nickbaum)

Speaking of brand genericide, Heroin was actuallyJun 23 2006

Speaking of brand genericide, Heroin was actually a brand name trademarked by the Bayer drug company. (thx chris, who joked, "Can I interest you in some Heroin brand morphine substitute?")

Brand genericideJun 23 2006

Harris Interactive recently released a list of products ranked by brand equity, a measure of the brand's popularity with US consumers. Here's the top 10:

1. Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil
2. Ziploc Food Bags
3. Hershey's Milk Chocolate Candy Bars
4. Kleenex Facial Tissues
5. Clorox Bleach
6. WD-40 Spray Lubricant
7. Heinz Ketchup
8. Ziploc Containers
9. Windex Glass Cleaner
10. Campbell's Soups

Marketing can be a double-edged sword. The companies who manufacture these products have done a fantastic job in marketing these products, so fantastic in some cases that the brand name is in danger of becoming a genericized trademark. From the list above, I routinely use Ziploc, Kleenex, WD-40, and Windex to refer to the generic versions of those products, even though we sometimes use Glad products instead of Ziploc, Puffs instead of Kleenex, or another glass cleaner instead of Windex. If the companies on this list aren't careful, they could lose the trademarked products that they've worked so hard to market so successfully.

Here's a list of American proprietary eponyms, or brand names that have fallen into general use. Some of the names on the list are so old or in such common use (escalator, popsicle) that I didn't even know they had been brands. Two current brands I can think of that might be in danger of genericide: iPod and Google. (via rw)

The history of the NBA logo...andFeb 20 2006

The history of the NBA logo...and yes, that's Jerry West. (via th)

Some big brands like Coke, McDonald's, andFeb 16 2006

Some big brands like Coke, McDonald's, and Disney are growing more unpopular with "global teens". "What applies to young people is 'Did it break? And did my friends say it was cool?' [It's an] opinion process that goes on through IMs and text-messaging, and it applies to everything from movies to cargo pants." (thx, stan)

Connections infographic: celebrities, corporations, and brandsFeb 15 2006

Infographic of the connections between "3 celebrities, 35 corporations, 40 subsidiaries and more than 300 brands". For a closer look, check out the larger version.

A grid of logos of Web 2.0 companies.Feb 06 2006

A grid of logos of Web 2.0 companies. These names sound like a bunch of companies that make children's toys (which when you think about it, isn't too far from the truth).

Update: Original here.

Scott Nelson produces a "tribute brand" calledJan 30 2006

Scott Nelson produces a "tribute brand" called MIKE that's an homage to Michael Jordan, Nike branding, and shoes. After looking at his products (photos and interviews here and here), I'm amazed Nike hasn't sued him back to the Stone Age. Nelson's site is mike23.com.

Best new trend (if one is aJan 12 2006

Best new trend (if one is a trend...): personal annual reports. See also personal branding, personal outsourcing, personal board of advisors.

Kodak has themselves a new logo andJan 10 2006

Kodak has themselves a new logo and gosh it looks plain and boring and undistinctive. Who are the folks convincing companies like Intel and Kodak that these logo/brand overhauls are going to revitalize their companies? Revitalization is a hard business...a new coat of paint isn't going to cut it.

Update: More on Kodak's new logo at Speak Up.

One of the most popular cough andJan 10 2006

One of the most popular cough and cold products out there is not medicine at all and was formulated by an elementary-school teacher.

Intel is retiring the "Intel Inside" saying/Dec 30 2005

Intel is retiring the "Intel Inside" saying/logo and is getting a new company logo as well...no more of the familiar "dropped e" logo. Now they'll look like everyone else.

Story on Muji, the brandless Japanese retailerNov 04 2005

Story on Muji, the brandless Japanese retailer that has high brand recognition and customer loyalty. (Say wha?) I've got a few Muji things and love them.

Examination of how US states brand themselves,Nov 01 2005

Examination of how US states brand themselves, focusing on state logos, license plates, and slogans.

Huge collection of logos of metros/subwaysJul 11 2005

Huge collection of logos of metros/subways from around the world.

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