06/17/2014 11:30 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

When In Doubt, Slap Another Logo On It

We are a branded society, swimming in an infinite sea of logos. We eat, drink, wear and, yes, even breathe practically every waking hour in an ubiquitous logosphere. The organizational icon has become the art form de rigueur for anyone hawking a product or service capable of making our all tomorrows more wonderful.

The intent of all these marks? To remind us, lest we forget, just who we must thank for the marvelous product experience we're about to enjoy. To reassert the refreshing superiority of one soda over another. To reassure us of the intrinsic promise inside each bottle of shampoo. A uniquely recognizable logo is the mandatory badge today's brands wield in an effort to reinforce their perpetual supremacy. But really, do we actually need all those stinkin' badges? When is enough too much?

As brand stewards charged with managing logo usage and placement, we encourage our designers at Tether to err on the side of restraint. We understand how inconsistent usage, overt positioning or overly liberal logofication can create a visual cacophony that defuses all the power of that singular, differentiating promise a logo is trying to assert. Impact, indelibility, quality of positioning (as opposed to quantity), these are some of the rational practices we employ when using logos to nurture the relationship consumers have with the brands they love; practices that accrue value to both the mark and the brand.

When featured in a simple and responsible way, a logo becomes considerably more striking, dynamic and memorable. And infinitely more meaningful. A good rule of thumb; never feature more than one logo on any one side of a product, within view of the consumer, at any given moment. It's a rule that exceptionally vibrant brands such as Apple have employed consistently, and with proven success.

I'm aware that there are cases when a large collective of logos is virtually unavoidable; instances when multiple brand marks are forcibly corralled onto products and marketing materials due to corporate partnerships, charity initiatives, event or venue sponsorships and/or government regulations. But when was the last time you walked away from a captivating concert poster with a clear memory of all the sponsors involved? Enthusiasm is usually generated by the headline act, as opposed to an obligatory sea of logos.

Which brings us full circle. While logos certainly have their place in providing brand recognition and, ideally, a level of quality assurance, they are merely supporting players. The product will forever be the headline act. A well-conceived logo, treated consistently and responsibly, reminds customers of all the reasons they fell in love with a brand in the first place and provides a justification for continuing the affair. But a less-than-stellar product experience? You can't fix that with the sweetest logo in the world. No matter how many times you show it.

Count the logos and count yourself well-branded.





(thanks to Alicia Mickes for concept + illustrations)