Monday, February 28, 2011

logos and birds

"Children at eight years old can identify 25 percent more Pokemon characters
than wildlife species" (Balmfold, Clegg, Coulson and Taylor, 2002)

This week I'm interesting in exploring logos and branding - such familiar parts of our lives that we can theoretically recognise the identity of more companies than we can species of native birds. A few posts on birds will also pop up along the way - so that we can perhaps begin to redress this imbalance, if only in rather a small way!

First up are some visual explorations of just how entrenched our recognition of logos is - the 'Unevolved Brands' project from Graham Smith takes the marks of well-known companies and reduces them to geometric patterns of circles. The viewer is then encouraged to try and identify the logos based based on colour and layout alone. I felt quite morally smug when i could only identify a few ("i'm a great example to our generation! i'll bet i can name at least twice as many birds as i can logos!") but I suspect that this has something to do with it being a British site (and my not being British). Here's a few to whet your whistle, but there are literally hundreds (with answers) at

The other interesting project, which is in a similar vein, is by design consultancy Antrepo who explored the idea of stripping back the packaging design of popular products in order to increase their effectiveness. 'Minimalist effect in the maximalist market' manages to reduce everything to look as if it belongs in a Scandinavian supermarket, but it must be said that most of the outcomes are not only preferable to the original, but could also tempt me into making a purchase (let's be honest though, nutella doesn't have to work that hard as it is!).

It's interesting to see that in both these cases, there is a real focus on a return to simplicity and essence both in style and content - hope yet for those of us who enjoy a bit of space on our cornflakes box...

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