Saturday, July 16, 2011

Creative Brilliance and Logo Design

David Ogilvy, who's widely considered the father of modern advertising, focused heavily on creative brilliance - the BIG IDEA (which he always wrote in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS) was of extreme importance to him. In his opinion creativity and originality were useless unless they brought results for clients with whom he did business. When presenting something in an ad, it had to be functional and relevant. "Unless your advertising is based on a BIG IDEA, it will pass like a ship in the night", he preached over and over again.

Thankfully, his emphasis on the BIG IDEA doesn't need to translate into complexity. Simplicity, especially in the area of logo design is something we can still adhere to while following Mr. Ogilvy's advice. So, with that in mind, I'd like to offer a few thoughts for those of you who are just starting the process of thinking through a logo design for your new company.

There are many logos that can be highlighted as examples of accomplishing the BIG IDEA while remaining simple at the same time. There are many global companies who adhere successfully to this:



Adobe Systems

Caterpillar (CAT)

Citi Group


Electronic Arts




All of these companies have simple, yet incredibly effective logos that identify their companies. These companies are industry leaders and well known around the world simply through their logos. Several of these companies have created incredible revenue streams just through the marketing of their logos. Many of these companies sell apparel and other merchandise that displays their logos, which in turn generates millions of dollars in additional revenue for their companies. They are simple, yet extraordinarily successful logos.

Logo designs for some recent corporations would easily fall under the same, simplistic design parameter. Some examples would include such company logos as:




Monster Worldwide


Yum! Brands


Several of these companies are focused solely on the Internet. Google, Yahoo!, GoDaddy, and Monster Worldwide are primarily web based companies. However, their branding and logos are universally recognized symbols for them. Yum! Brands is an internationally recognized company. Not only is their logo simple and easily recognizable, but so are the restaurants it owns: Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Long John Silver's. Aflac's logo is simply a combination of their name and the primary character of every advertisement...the duck. However, every time someone sees it, they immediately recall the last advertisement they saw, they say "Aflac" in their best duck voice, and they recall the type of insurance services they provide. Their logo is simple, yet exceptionally valuable to their mission as a company. Their logo is the pinnacle of creative brilliance and sums up the BIG IDEA for Aflac. In fact, every one of these logos functions the same way for each of these companies. Their logo completely fulfills the mission of their BIG IDEA.

As we mentioned earlier, most of these companies generate millions of dollars in additional revenue for their companies by simply selling items that display their logos. Think about NASCAR, the NFL, and the myriad of other places where advertising reigns supreme; these companies are all present there. They have created an additional product by simply creating a recognizable symbol for their company that people want to purchase. The consumer is interested in attaching themselves to a company and identifying with them through the usage of their logo on apparel, stickers, and additional products.

The power of exercising creative brilliance and generating the BIG IDEA for your company logo is so amazingly important. This is the reason that virtually everyone recommends seeking professional help in designing a great logo for your company or new product. There are two very poignant quotes from David Ogilvy that sum up the importance of designing your logo correctly. Ogilvy said, "It takes a BIG IDEA to attract the attention of consumers and get them to buy your product," and "Unless your advertising contains a BIG IDEA, it will pass like a ship in the night."

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