Logo Soup

Certain

SATURDAY 19TH MAY 2018

“We were involved in this thing.”

Watch a footballer being interviewed on TV after next week’s Champions League final and behind him you’ll see a wall of logos. Similarly, all over a formula 1 racing car or a Tour de France cyclist’s racing kit you’ll see a mess of logos, each one saying “we were involved in this thing.” Seeing brands we know and love involved in events like these gives us a clue to what to expect, or at least how good it might be. The more prestigious the event, the more prestigious and well known the brands backing it.

A brand’s mark, their logo, is like a stamp, an assurance of what we can expect. That’s why they work so hard to protect their trademarks and brand identities, so customers don’t get confused about who they are dealing with.

Considering every brand has its own unique style, colour scheme and identity, when you mash them all together in one place, like a cyclist’s jersey, you get a lot of visual noise. Logo soup.

Think of the last conference you went to, or the last festival. There’s the key sponsors, the associate sponsors, the exhibitors… the drinks sponsors. Logos all over the delegate pack. Someone probably even sponsors the biros in the delegate pack!

Agencies usually have a page on their website that reads like a “who’s who” of customers. The higher the profile of the brands, the more experienced and capable we assume the agency is. Logo soup can be valuable.

Now imagine a public campaign with lots of organisations contributing to it - a real multi-organisation effort. Each of them wants everyone to know they were involved, leading to a case of logo soup taking up a huge chunk of visual space across the bottom of every poster, leaflet, customer letter, appointment confirmation and signpost.

Early in my career I made some of these monstrosities (I’m really sorry) and I frequently see similar material around. Mine had each of the 6 local authorites in North Wales, plus the health service plus the Welsh Government, plus a charity, and a sport governing body, and the Health Challenge Wales brand (a bit like Change 4 Life). So much logo soup was going on and it took up so much of the valuable space available, that the actual message disappeared behind it. It was a visual mess, and the impact it could have had, was compromised.

It’s great to tell customers that you cared enough to get involved with the making of an incredible service, campaign or life-changing partnership project, just be careful not to detract from the impact of the thing itself in the process.

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