Branding Ideas℠

What’s in a Logo?

The Obama administration recently unveiled a new logo for its massive economic recovery bill. Yes, a logo for a government bill. It seems that the folks who so shrewdly branded the new president during his run for office last year is using the same approach to help communicate his agenda. The logo is simple, comprised of three segments that represent energy, manufacturing and country, and will be used to help Americans identify economic projects that have been “stimulated” by the legislation. What the administration understands is that people respond to things that are easily identified and understood. After a rocky first few weeks of the Obama presidency, the new logo accomplishes both.

One defining trait of both Obama’s campaign logo and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act logo is that they both utilize simple, primary colors (sans any gradient effects) and soft, rounded edges. It’s a recent trend in graphic design that can also be found in the refurbished logos for Pepsi and Walmart. Pepsi’s logo has been the topic of much conversation and debate; it takes the cola company’s classic, well-known logo and gives it a new twist, similar in style and presentation to Obama’s logos. Last month, Gawker leaked a 27-page document detailing the concept behind the Pepsi logo: magnetic dynamics, the theory of relativity, the renaissance, ancient Chinese art, the human body. Clearly over-thought and over-sold. Is any of that actually communicated to consumers by the new ad?

Walmart’s logo is slightly more effective. Transitioning from big, blocky capital letters hyphenated with a star to a more elegant font and a yellow starburst that evokes an organic, eco-friendly message, the popular chain store has successfully softened its image. Yes, it risks looking like an energy company, but Walmart has become a household name and its new slogan, “Save Money. Live Better.,” communicates both the company’s reputation for saving its customers money while at the same time improving their lives—and, having made efforts to reduce fuel consumption and offer eco-friendly products, maybe the planet too!


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