Tuesday, 19 October 2010 at 01:25
New logo Old logo GAP logo
Ok. Its time to stop painting and provide an opionion on the GAP logo dilemma, since branding and identity develop are my specially. Check out this article for background if you have not heard: debaclehttp://adage.com/article?article_id=146417
I think to really understand a new logo, one must understand the REASON for rebranding.
I agree with Alina Wheeler that there are generally 6 major reasons to alter or create a brand identity.
1) When a new company is created
2) Name change
3) When the brand needs repositioned
4) When the brand needs “updated”
5) When the overall ID system is all over the place
6) When companies merge
In my career only one of those reasons when mentioned, makes me cringe. The fourth reason — the brand needs updated, modernized, more edgy etc. The challenge with this is the ephemeral nature of those words. They really don’t mean anything. The other is if I really make it hip and cool and now, it will probably polarize the current base. This needs to be ok and understood. This was the mandate for GAP…”We need to update the look.”
The disconnect for me in this case is the new Gap logo featured 60 year old Helvetica as its primary font with the simplest of geometric shapes connected like an exclamation point as its logomark. Now I know this would make Massimo Vignelli and all the ultra minimal modernists very happy, I’m not sure the GAP audience is there. The other big issue is the fact that this is a fashion logo. They behave differently from your ubiquitous corporate logo when after unveiled, slinks away to the company website and “signage” or excuse me, way finding devices. A fashion logo is plaster all over things, like bags boxes and even as a part of the fashion design itself. It is worn as a part of the fashion. People will notice when you change it. You can’t just slip it under the email.
Regardless of the like or don’t like meter of one’s personal preference here, isn’t odd that now the knee jerk reaction of social media can dictate a long-term shift in a company’s personality. Whatever happened to branding from the inside out, or we will become the brand. Maybe it’s a function, like in the case of our local new/old Wegmens rebranding, people just felt too comfortable with the current logo (Which by the way is always the case). The difference here is folks are not in the “forge a new vision and follow me” mode, or at least the corporate leaders are not. No, I believe we are in the hunker down and give me as much familiarity as I can take mode. During bad economic times, it’s comforting to hang onto the old I suppose. One thing I always tell clients going into an update identity project…if anyone really noticed the old logo, they will generally feel more comfortable with that ANY new logo. You need to build the need for a new brand first before you can allow yourself to redo the logo.
Tuesday, 05 October 2010 at 23:27
Brands and Landscapes. Is that Brandscape?
I actually did work on a brandscape. I can show you the animation some time. I had a very good meeting today with a smart young guy who would make a great addition to Kurt Pakan Design — a new businessperson. He wants to get a job, which I realize at this time is tempting. But hey, you miss out on all the stress that comes form having to chase down your next meal by working on your own.
After spending time talking with him it made me realize how the intuitive the whole branding process is to me. I need to do a better job of communication the importance of the initial correct input and then proving the ability to take that position into effective images and words. Once a client learns the process it seems tempting to dabble with it. Easy to do once the
After spending the day around brands and their development, it is nice to focus on the wonder of nature at this moment in time. This all lead me to a theme that will no doubt be revisited
throughout my life, twilight Autumnal skies. This is almost a study for a larger painting. After a lay down the Burnt Umber wash and lift, there is something raw of unfinished about painting that I’m driven to. Maybe it’s a more abstract graphic approach as opposed to finishing and blending evenly across the surface. I seem to want to always play with finish vs. unfinished. Many of the great, the Masters, had that about their work. They selectively used finish and polish and left the process of the piece, reveled.
Anyhow, I though you might like to see this oil landscape I have been working on in between projects.
Thursday, 30 September 2010 at 14:09
Guitar series # 2 - The Telecaster
I’m just finishing my second painting for Bernunzio’s stringed instrument store. Developing an idea for a painting of poster or whatever the application is one thing. Taking that idea and extending it to a series is something else. What is the thread that runs through all the pieces that makes the series a series? What stays the same to provide continuity, and what changes enough to create a strong individual piece that can stand on its own? Believe it or not those are the same principals that drive brand identity development. Stuff I use every day as a graphic designer.
Thankfully I had already thought of this concept as a series and not a one off from the get go. I had a strong format in mind with the scripty type (resembling stringed instruments) I created as visual anchors for the series. I then had the good fortune of having a great friend and photographer to work with. Mark Sampson took a shot of Roy Buchannan at Red Creek way back when; Red Creek was Red Creek (gotta be from Rochester). Mark has a series of images in black and white of different guitar folk that he allows me to use as reference images for the paintings.
I think what makes the series conceptually interesting and a bit different is how the focus is on the instrument and the hands as part of the instrument and not the rock god or goddess. The signature name and type always want to overlap or push into the identity of the musician. The areas that are painted more tightly and thickly emanate from the instrument, in this case a classic Fender Telecaster.
The instrument is the guitar Hero here and the mood of the surroundings, personality of the artist and color and tone all create a personality associated with the Guitar sound and the type of music it plays best. This in turn translates to a type of environment and color palette.
The first painting featured a D’Angelico acoustic guitar in a casual daytime outdoor sun filled setting. The second is an electric blues guitar feel that seems to come out of the shadows of a smoky backlit nightclub — two different guitars, two different personalities.
Friday, 17 September 2010 at 12:18
By special request — my portrait of former Kent State and Pittsburgh Steeler linebacker, Jack Lambert. THis rather large colored pencil drawing took me forever. To get the grain of the board to come through I kept a very sharp end on those Prismacolors. I also went through a ton of pencils. The lesson, work smaller when doing those tight colored pencil drawings.
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