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Why So Sans? Why a logo doth not make a brand!

One of the most popular LinkedIn posts I’ve seen recently is how numerous fashion brands have simplified their logos to a basic sans serif font. Surprisingly, this has caused uproar on social media with people furiously displaying their disgust in the comments section. Some of the more publishable comments include…

‘When brand identity becomes bland identity’ and ‘It’s sad to see nowadays that companies don’t realise that brand identity is important to be unique’  and ‘Brands have killed each other, firstly by being part all of the same luxury monster groups and by the lack of innovation and creativity.’

Apologies for such profanities and scenes of terror.

As well as demonstrating the deep, uncompromising passion there is for logo design, (which is nice – who knew?) the plethora of comments also brings to light the sheer number of people who don’t know the difference between a logo and a brand. Even more surprisingly, quite a few of those people claim to be brand consultants. Wow – but let’s save ‘what is a brand?’ for another time.

So, I commented on one of the posts: ‘I guess it’s easy to judge them poorly when seeing the logos out of context.’

When do you ever see a logo on a white background and not supported by some kind of reference, such as a shop front, or on a shopping bag? Very rarely, if at all will you see a logo flying solo.

I continued: ‘You have to consider the sheer volume of touchpoints/formats/platforms logos is expected to succeed on in today’s market.’

I continued some more…  ‘With the huge increase in promotional outlets comes an opportunity for brands to convey their personality, and not having to rely so heavily on the trusty old logo.’

It got a few likes, thanks for that.

Now, I’m not saying that these brands and others like them are all doing the right thing by changing their logos, but I do appreciate their reasoning – and it’s not just about keeping up with the times.

To reiterate: A brand is not a logo and those that try to encompass all of a brand’s personality and values within a logo will, to be blunt, fail.

Imagine your brand as a personality. Your visual identity is the uniform of that personality and the logo is simply the glasses/specs – just a small element contributing to your visual identity to reflect your brand personality.

When do you see glasses/specs not on a face? The same goes for a logo. We also like our specs these days to work for a whole range of scenarios. So, if we go with the Dame Edna’s we may not be taken seriously when it comes to the corporate sales presentation. Same goes for our logos.

In today’s hectic world, with its vast array of media outlets, the trusty old logo has a tough job to do and needs to be adaptable.

That adaptability is a tough ask if said logo is made up of many elements and intricacies. Hence why many are now choosing the route of simplicity.

Don’t sack the designer and drag the cursor to Arial Bold just yet.

Let’s remember, your brand identity is made up of many assets and you’re going to need a great deal of strategic, creative input if you want your identity to be captivating and resonate with your intended audience.

So let’s give the poor old logo a break and come to terms with the fact that specs don’t make an outfit.

Adam Arnold

Founder & Creative Director of award-winning branding agency Brandality.