Logo as Manifesto – The Split Logo Project

Case Studies · Journal · Perspectives · 4th August 2014

Over the past 12 months we’ve been using our logo as an opportunity to show why we do what we do – creating an ongoing series of different versions to build up a visual manifesto.

Every month or so we reimagine our logo, using our brand not only to articulate what Split does and why, but also to keep us asking questions of ourselves and exploring our values in the best way we know how, through the design process.

Each one articulates a part of our approach as designers, from the importance of creative play or our love of typography, to paying homage to the advances in coding that allow designers ever increasing freedom online or saluting that Friday night pint, the source of many-a-good idea.

However, whilst we hope our approach to the logo as a manifesto is at least relatively unique, we’re certainly not the only ones playing with the possibilities of a flexible, evolving logo mark.

Our thinking on brand has moved on. The brand is the platform, the brand is flexible, the brand is a place of exchange, and it is not fixed, so there is not one logo. There is a recognisable form and recognisable communication and behaviour, but it’s not one type of constrained and fixed thing.

– Brian Boylan, Wolf Ollins.*

Okay, so in talking with Adrian Shaughnessy, Boylan was referring to the London 2012 logo – not everyone’s cup of tea – but whatever our feelings on the jaggedy-edged new-wave-style Olympics logo, Boylan makes a good point. For a while now many logos have been refusing to sit still, rigidly constrained to a singular form.

From the Google doodles that greet millions of us daily; to Pentagram’s work for the Museum of Arts and Design or Wolf Ollins’ fluid logos for London 2012NYC IncNew Museum and others; to brands beginning to use multiple logo marks (Belgrave Music Hall’s identity by Catalogue in Leeds being a local example); there is more than just the odd example of logos becoming much more that just a single static mark.

Perhaps this is a reaction against the constraints or associations of traditional corporate branding, perhaps it’s in answer to the insatiable demand for continuous fresh content created by new media channels, or perhaps it’s simply the realisation that the static logo isn’t necessarily the sole means by which a strong visual identity can be established.  A recent article in the New York Times suggests increasing consumer power has also led to a major shift in traditional brand thinking that echo Boylan’s thoughts on the brand having to become a more flexible entity.

Whatever the reasons, a ‘fluid’ approach like this requires considered planning and execution to prevent confusion, lack of continuity or it just becoming a right royal pain in the arse to manage. However, it’s one that offers exciting creative possibilities… and we like those.

To see the Split logo project at work, visit our homepage on www.split.co.uk

*Essays: Scratching the Surface – Adrian Shaughnessy, 2013 (ISBN 978-0-9575114-0-8)

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