Much debate has recently been going on in design and branding circles around whether “the logo is dead,” as British designer and brand consultant, Simon Manchipp, publicly claimed. But before we write our eulogies for this superstar of branding, let’s first see if it is not worthy to be placed on life support.

The gun to the logo’s head

So, why is the logo’s life threatened in the first place?

Well, the logo is traditionally thought of as the main actor of an enterprise’s visual image. In fact, for some companies, their logo is their branding. But in a technologically-advanced era, a single, static symbol is probably not going to stand. Your target market is most likely used to things moving, flashing, entertaining and ever-developing. They get bored easily and they want their senses to be stimulated. Besides, branding has become more complex as there are simply more platforms in need of branding – especially in the digital sphere.

The logo’s role is thus maybe rather shifting to that of supporting actor. It still serves a fundamental function in tying all the various brand elements neatly together, but it is no longer the star of the show.

Larger than logo

In other words, the branding business has a big cast with many defining components, including a logo, which should make your brand immediately recognisable.

What are some of these ingredients in the brand box? Typeface and colours, various images (e.g. favicons and photographs), sound design elements (like jingles), other design features (e.g. product, packaging, architectural and display hardware design), tone of voice, advertisements, videos, mascots, associated celebrities, and so forth! All of these aspects and more act together to form a cohesive and comprehensive brand experience.

Where will the logo go?

So what then lies in the future of branding’s “retired” core performer? Different opinions prevail.

Some say that smart branding will entail the design of a simple wordmark of the company’s name as unifying logo (without a symbol that could become restrictive in future as the company develops), while the other branding role players should be potent enough to do the rest. And if this “brand world” becomes sufficiently effective, the logo might lose its job altogether.

On the other hand, with all the exciting technological advancements out there, the logo might get a makeover, make a career comeback and take another few Oscars. Especially in digital spaces, the logo is not restricted to a lifeless image anymore!

So what then is the logo’s prognosis? In the end, the question might not be whether to go logo or no logo, but rather whether the logo is still the leading lady of the branding show and if it is not time to lean less on an individual, inanimate image and more on a vibrant and varied sensory experience when it comes to a company’s brand identity?

As visual engineers, Gawk can help you create the whole cast of branding bits (including your logo) and, as specialists in customised display hardware, we will also help you “stage the show” at your point-of-sale, in exhibition or advertising spaces (or anywhere else)!

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