Got to say, this has to be one of my favourite words at the moment! Probably as it reflects where I am right now, in a state of flux. Change can be scary, confusing and create uncertainty. It comes through many different influencing factors. Sometimes it’s a result of internal forces, or often in response to external circumstances.
One of the biggest changes of recent times has been the Covid-19 pandemic! The extent of the ongoing changes that are taking place on a global basis is not yet fully apparent. They will be ongoing for awhile yet.
In this time of discombobulation, it has created space (for me at least) to pause and reflect. To take stock, question previous ‘normalities’ – it’s one of the few positives that have come out of the Covid-19 pandemic! All this talk of wanting to return to the ‘old normal’… no, I want to look at the opportunity of a ‘new normal’, something better than I had before!
Change is inevitable
However innovative you are, time never stands still. Ultimately, change is inevitable, so it needs to be seen as an opportunity. Don’t fight it, embrace change.
I had been procrastinating for ages about creating a new Passion 4 website. What I had before was no longer relevant to who I was, or even realistically, what I do or even wanted to do moving forward. I had changed, work had changed, the working environment had changed, but my website hadn’t! Part of this hiatus was linked to the whole Passion 4 identity. I needed a rebrand, I needed to use this opportunity to change…
Rethink | Rebrand
Changing (or at least re-imaging) your identity is a great way to reinvigorate what you do. Sometimes it can be a subtle change. Occasionally, you need to take a sledgehammer to it!
It’s interesting to see how classic and iconic global brands take on this kind of challenge. Back in late 2019, car giant Volkswagen unveiled its latest brand design and logo. This I believe is their twelfth incarnation of the logo.
The VW thinking/claim behind the change is that its;
- Clear and simple
- Easy to use
- Reduced to the essentials
Do you think it’s their best version yet? Personally, I still feel the classic 1967 version is still the strongest and my personal favourite. However, I might be a tad biased and influenced by the choice of my daily drive!
Then of course the media institution of the BBC recently also rebranded its iconic logo in late 2021. It’s maybe not have had so many reincarnations as the VW logo, but it has developed considerably over the years…
In this instance, I think the current iteration is a really good one. Stronger, more powerful and with much greater impact. Then again I’m a strong believer in the idea that the space around the object is as important (if not more so) than the object itself. This is a truism from architecture that applies pretty much to all design disciplines. The new compact ‘Reith’ typeface combines brilliantly with the surrounding clear space to create a much clearer, punchier logo.
Social first branding
Then came the tech revolution. The advent of the smartphone in the early 2000s. This was the first ripple. The tsunami was the market-changing introduction of the iPhone by Apples Steve Jobs in 2007. This changed everything. The web design mantra was ‘mobile first’. Websites needed to be responsive, with mobile-friendly websites taking priority, or at least given a much higher priority, over their desktop counterparts. As a consequence of this, ‘apps’ became a thing. ‘Social media’ was the new digital landscape that companies sought to dominate.
In regards to branding and identity, this has a profound knock-on consequence. The stylistic-driven trends of 3D, drop shadow, and multicolour branding are rapidly falling from grace in favour of stronger (flat) designs. Funny how design trends come and go in circles! 😉 Companies need an identity that is designed to be social media friendly. This is what I call having a ‘social first’ approach to branding.
When taking a ‘social first’ approach to branding, a key component that’s (unfortunately) outside of your control, is how your logo gets cropped by various social media apps! It can be square, circular or even a hexagonal crop that’s imposed on your logo. These crop constraints need to be considered or allowed for in any branding concepts. If not, your kerb side appeal in a social media landscape will be nullified or non-existent!
Previous incarnations of the Passion 4 branding were horizontal, typographic treatment of the wording. There were a couple more real early versions that are probably hidden away on an archived zip disc somewhere. Never to see the light of day again, fortunately!
Often I notice that I self-reference or name things in an abbreviated P4 format. My revised rebranding highlights and plays with this. I have designed a system that allows for the logo to work in the three most commonly required formats;
- Logo as an icon
- Logo as a name
- Logo to include a website URL
What I’m pleased with (from a technical and aesthetic standpoint) is that each version works with identical clear space requirements regardless of any external social media crop restraints of a square, circle or even hexagon!
Less is more (hard work)
It’s taken a while to get the Passion 4 branding conundrum resolved to a point that I am happy with. You are always your own worst client and critic! Having that time to pause and reflect because of the pandemic has been put to good use. Reducing your branding down to its essential core components. Making it work in the primary required formats regardless of any external crop geometry was always going to be a challenge.
It’s a rare and beautiful thing. Like a snowflake in a furnace.
So what do you think?
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I’m interested to hear what you think. Agree or disagree? Add your thoughts or comments below, conversations always start somewhere…