Corporate Identity
When a larger, mature company
undertakes an identity reevalu-
ation, it does so for a variety of
reasons. One may be that the
focus of the business or scope of
services offered has changed. Per-
haps the business is expanding
through acquisition. Sometimes,
when a new CEO or president
takes over, they think that change
is both inevitable and necessary.
Whatever the reason, the fi rst
question to ask must be: does the
identity need a complete make-
over or will a simple enhance-
ment or modernization suffi ce?
How much change is necessary to
revitalize a corporate identity de-
pends on several factors. Psycho-
logically, our minds are hardwired
to detect and respond to sudden
change—when something is sud-
denly new and different, we im-
mediately recognize the difference
and pay attention; conversely, slow
and incremental change is much
harder to detect. If a company
has made big changes, such as in
management or the focus of their
business, a completely revised
mark will call attention to this fact.
Sometimes, a company’s identity
becomes so static and unchanging
that it will actually fade in impor-
tance in the mind of the customer.
For this reason, companies will
periodically update their marks by
making them more dimensional or
changing the typeface.
Identity Design
When GoTo.com’s name could no longer be
trademarked and its business model changed,
C&G Partners was hired to reposition the
company and develop a new visual identity. The
name Overture was ultimately selected to con-
vey the fact that the company makes introduc-
tions to Web content. The two concentric “O”s
not only represent the name of the company
but also resemble a target.
Design: C&G Partners
This logo for Spirit Aerosystems, a company
that manufactures components for commercial
airplanes, is suggestive of both a star and airplane.
Rich blues associated with high-altitude fl ight have
also been incorporated into the color scheme.
Design: Gardner Design
For obvious reasons, blue is a prominent color in
aviation and aerospace companies. This logo for
CitationShares, an airplane timeshare company,
incorporates a deep blue to represent the idea of
both the sky and high-altitude fl ight. Stylized jet
windows shown in perspective comprise the logo
mark and suggest the idea of a jet taking off.
Design: Hornall Anderson Design Works
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The Complete Graphic Designer
Choosing a Style
How a corporate identity will be used is a determining
factor for the physical look of the identity. It has been
argued that “form follows function” and nowhere is this
more true than in the area of corporate identity. The size
of the logo, the type of products or collateral it will be
placed on, and the amount of time the viewer will have
to look at and interact with it are all important things
the designer must take into account. Furthermore, it
must also appeal to and connect with the emotions and
expectations of the target customer or audience. If a
logo or identity is not relevant to the intended customer,
it will be ineffective and possibly detrimental.
Thoroughly exploring the client’s industry and any
preconceived ideas and perceptions customers may
have toward the company is helpful in determining
the type of graphics or motifs that should be used.
This initial research will set the design on track from
an early stage by establishing a visual vocabulary or
point of reference for the new design. If a company
has built a tradition through design, the designer
must determine the elements that have the most
“equity” and build on those strengths. Referencing
the old identity reinforces the customer’s perception
of an organization, and eases the transition from old
to new.
Graphic design, especially in the corporate realm, is
undertaken to solve unique business problems such
as increasing customer recognition, retention, or
sales. Corporate identity is a strategic way of solving
these needs. A designer’s ability to partner with an
organization and take a lead role in developing a new
corporate identity will cause him to become a trusted
consultant and advisor.
Sometimes the designer does not
necessarily know how an identity or
logo will be used, so it is essential
that logos are designed to work
at all sizes and for a variety of ap-
plications. In this case, the logo for
Excalibur knives has been etched
into the blade of the knife itself.
Design: Turner Duckworth
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