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How to make friends and logos

What is it about that new Orange - sorry Partner - logo that turns people off?
The Hebrew version of the Orange Telecom logo. The text says "The future sounds Orange." (Flash90)
The Hebrew version of the Orange Telecom logo. The text says "The future sounds Orange." (Flash90)

For the past 10 years, I have passed Park Afek on my way to and from home. At least 5 times a week, I saw the Orange logo on top of the Partner building. I instantly noticed when partner employees covered it, after French CEO Stephane Richard made it known he wanted to disengage from Israel almost a year ago. The Orange logo was one of the good things the brand had going for it. In the generally overpriced and underserviced Israeli telco market, it was a landmark banner with an outstandingly powerful brand recognition.

When the newly changed network name showed up in the top left corner of many mobile devices in the country, I wondered if anything had changed on my way home. Was I in for a surprise that afternoon!

In the days that followed, I debated with my colleagues how anyone could have come up with this, and why they got it wrong on so many levels. It is one thing to pay a scandalous amount of money for mediocracy, but how this ever got past the board is quite another. As the saying goes: “If you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait until you hire an amateur”.

close, but no cigar

On the subject of good taste, it feels a lot like modern art. Pretentious, more often than not. Half a million for a wet fart. I never really “got it.” A Keith Haring-esque logo could have been interesting though. Maybe.

Yet this is not about personal preferences. It concerns the elementary rules of marketing. What makes a good logo? What are the trends and where is the world moving to? Let’s hint at a few basic concepts:

Can we print it? The petrol green background color is a nightmare. Not just because it does not stand out, but because it is impossible to consistently get the same color across all media. I have it on good authority that several meetings with one of Israel’s bigger print houses have already taken place on this subject.

Ready for Mobile? World’s biggest brands are all moving focus to the smallest possible element of recognition, the symbol. The textual name has faded into a thousand shades of grey (pun) and moved to the background. Think the apple of Apple and the swoosh of Nike. If people are trained to fully recognize your brand from a small symbol, you won’t waste space (real estate) on apps and mobile sites. So where is the symbol?

Next we can dig into the subjective matter of what message the logo is supposed to send out. Does it translate the company values and explain what you stand for? Are you strong, bold and trustworthy? Does it take a slogan to explain more? This is a discussion that can go on for ages and some would say “less is more”.. but not me… I would just ask for my money back.

About the Author
For the past 15 years Weeb has led global marketing activities for a wide range of Hi-tech start-ups, creating lead-machines that exceed targets. With a passion for people, business and all things tech, he uses his toolkit to hack business growth for a living. When not at Anodot you can find him on the trails or slopes, crash-testing yet another mountain bike or a pair of skis.
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