Brand Identity, as per by Prof. Jean-Noel Kapferer, an authority on Brand Management, is defined as: The outward expression of the brand including its name, trademark, communications and visual appearance.The brand’s identity is its fundamental means of consumer recognition and symbolizes the brand’s differentiation from competitors.
As per the framework created by Prof. Kapferer, a brand’s Identity is not exactly same as its Image. Indeed, a brand’s Identity is the outward expression by the Company and/or the brand and a brand’s Image is – not in brand’s control – something that’s inward understanding of the recipients, the customers, if you like. Mostly, the brand identities have a line and/or a few word’s as an essence of what the brand stands for in customers’ perspective, which we term as brand proposition statement (BPS) and which acts as the bridge between the Identity and the Image, so to say
In this context, while a lot has already been discussed about the new Wipro logo, let’s look at some perceptual take on some of the logos – a key part of identity and/or image – in the similar space as Wipro. Not the company or brand’s take on the logo; not experts’ take on the logo. What comes to my mind, when I see it, kind of take. Am picking up the logos of some of the Tech companies, most of whom are really on the forefront in the corporate world, and sharing the first-hand perceptions; the Instinctive & Intuitive feel & expression on seeing the logo; the Imagery that the logo creates in my heart & mind:
The alphabets are in capital. The font used is chunky and is bold. It reflects maturity, solidity and stature. At the same time, the ‘streaks’ within the alphabets, give it some movement. In a way, the name and the symbol are combined and so, its easier to use and there aren’t too many elements. At the same time, the graphic element within the alphabets is not hampering the legibility of the name. Also, since there’s no other element with it, space required isn’t much. For me, it would work pretty much the same in black & white, too.
Another tech leader and/or giant. Interesting similarities with IBM. Alphabets in capital. The font is not as chunky, but is bold, nonetheless. The little curve, instead of a straight line, inside A, is noteworthy. It gives a soft as well a touch of flow to the logo. At the same time, the angular side of the shape, in which the name is ensconced, gives it sharpness and forward movement. Otherwise its a simple and yet distinctive logo. The name and the symbol are integrated together, so the clutter isn’t there. However, the graphic element is bigger than the name, as the overall size comes down, the name will become even smaller. Also, a BPS would complexify the things a bit. If the statement were to be put inside, it would make it really cluttered; and if placed outside, it will become a disparate element. This would also work in black & white.
Another big one. The alphabets are in capital, but it isn’t any similar to either IBM or SAP. The font is not really bold and in fact, is sharp. Overall, there’s sharpness, but no movement. The symbol is another distinct element. It gives an image of a ‘screen’. Since the symbol is on the side of an already long name, lengthwise the logo is really big and is requires a certain optimum space. It isn’t a surprise that the company has been using the two elements independently. In line with a growing trend, including how International Business Machines became just IBM, if the company decides to change its name to just HP, the symbol alone seems to be complete and can become the name and the symbol, together. BPS would come as a third distinct element; though, given the length a line or a few rods would fit in easily under the symbol and the name. This would work in black & white.
The name and the symbol are the same. The font is in capital, again, but very simple. The tilted E, nevertheless, gives its dynamism as well as distinctiveness. ‘Technologies’ almost becomes the BPS and is aligned well with the logo. Overall, simplicity with just a quirk, is the hallmark. If Dell were to be used alone, it would fit anywhere and in smallest of sizes. Works in black & white, too.i
Another one in capital, but – a bit like Hewlett Packard – sharp font. In fact, almost edgy font. The font itself, is very different and so distinctive. Notice the O, like it never is; or even the E. Without any graphic element or any quirk, its rather simple. But it does seem to have a forward movement. The red color adds to movement and gives it some energy. In black & white, it will loose its energy, though will still work.
I feel like drawn towards the Fujitsu logo. It has mixed capital and small alphabets so very well. In fact, the natural protrusion of the small j – looking like a sword or something – gives it such sharpness; literally at the cutting edge. At the same time, the font seems to be really a tall one and gives an imagery of a ‘building’, suggesting that Fujitsu builds and/or creates. The symbol, the graphic element is again a quirky interpretation of the ‘dot’ of the small j. Symbol is both integrated and a distinct element, at the same time; and with such seemingly small effort, gives such substantial messaging…of infinite possibilities. The graphic element is both a symbol of infinity and of Japanese culture. The sleek and – literally – lissome font and the slightly upward looking graphic, acting as both the symbol of infinity and a symbol of Japanese culture, give the logo an arty, almost haute couture feel. The logo is talking about Sharpness, Creation, Building, Possibilities, Artistic skills , all at the same time. Its like Storytelling in & thru just a logo! At the same time, doesn’t require too much space and works in black & white. And the BPS for such an identity, ‘Shaping tomorrow with you’…well, does it work!
From Fujitsu to Panasonic. Two Japanese brands and if the former is so very smart, the latter is really simple. A journey from the Artistic to Simplistic! Absolutely no touch, no quirk, none whatsoever. Simplicity has its advantages, but is it too plain? In black & white, it won’t loose anything, but that touch of a distinct blue color will also be lost and the logo will become even simpler. Interestingly, BPS here is ‘Ideas for life; there seems to be no idea here and no life, too. But really, immediately juxtaposed with Fujitsu makes it look too simple, but we do recognise it, when we see it, don’t we?
There are several others in this space. Simple fonts, no graphic elements and no quirk in the font to give it graphical touch….A lot Japanese brands like Toshiba, Hitachi, Sharp, Sony…even Lenovo. Its perhaps works…if there’s nothing stand-outish about it, there’s nothing wrong with the approach too! Though, when it came to a brand, Sony chose something really distinctive and different for Vaio! Another story, another day!
From Japanese, back to American. Unlike an IBM, a SAP or even a Dell, CISCO isn’t simple. Also, unlike the three, its using small alphabets. The graphic element on top is supposed to be the take on the famous Golden Gate bridge; but what if we don’t know about it?! Compared to the other three American logos, it ins’t really compact. Each alphabet has space in between, each line in the graphic element is standing on its own. The name is not dwarfed by the lines above, but the lines are tall and in smaller sizes, the name will get impacted. CISCO did an IBM, in taking a sorter part from San Francisco for its name, but the logo is not short.
Talking of simplicity, Microsoft, arguably one of the best known brands in the world, is ah so very simple! Well, it does have that graphic element, the symbol, with it. Its a stuff for yet another discussion, but a brand of course, is not its identity. Its products, its services, its offerings…in personality terms, what a brand does, its acts, its behaviour, its values, its traits…all substantiate to the imagery and the personality. So, Microsoft means so much to so many people. But purely from the logo perspective, there’s nothing to write home about. Though, as said earlier, sheer simplicity seems to be working for a lot of brands. One of the reasons could be, absolutely no clutter and also easy to relate with as it reflects – perhaps – simplicity.
Yet another popular brand. Similar to Microsoft, it has a simple name and a graphic element. But it isn’t so simple. To begin with, alphabets are all small. Make it look younger. Really young. The bottom of the ‘Z’ is also a bit different. Then, the moving arrow – yeah, the movement is back- connects ‘A’ to ‘Z’…yeah, its A to Z. The arrow is also not a straight-line arrow, but a curvy, swishy kind of stroke, which also adds ‘spring in the steps’ kind of feel. By the way, is it like a smile…likely and that’s makes Amazon really clever, isn’t it! The curved bottom of the ‘Z’ and the soft curve of the arrow seem to be going together. The ‘orange’ kind of color in the arrow also brings in warmth. So, will black & white look as nice. Maybe not. But the youthfulness and the connect of the arrow still works. Plus, its compact. I have a doubt, though. Amazon is indeed a celebrated ‘Tech’ company; does the logo give a tech feel!
Ah, isn’t it interesting! A large, respected corporate. In the core tech business and not really in consumer space like Microsoft or Amazon. Somewhat like IBM. But, the logo is not chunky and mature like IBM. The font used is classic style and not really modern. But, the upper-lower alphabets and the all-small ‘BPS’ alphabets, make it a bit more sprightly than IBM. At the same time, the font of ‘Sun’ has warm, tender, caring as well as, movement feel to it. Interestingly, while the boldness of the font gives stature to IBM, the font here in ‘Sun’, seems to be giving it another kind of stature…there’s feel of grace and of class! However, lets compare it with Hewlett Packard (HP) logo. Both have a name and a distinct symbol of the right of the name. But, while HP name font is very sharp and almost cold, Sun font is nice & warm and seemingly ‘social’. The symbol is really intricate..one can read Sun from all the sides, but is simple to catch and yet gives a feeling of something complex…almost literally saying, ‘micro-systems’! The color is nice & warm, but it would work in black & white, too.
From a very different place and yes, very different! The alphabets are all in capital, but still sleek and young. The font is straight, except for the ‘E’ and interestingly it reminds me of the ‘E” in the Oracle logo! distinctive, but is perfect in its balance of being of being bold & solid to make its presence felt and yet, sharp & young to reflect tech. However, the most distinctive part is the symbol on top. Its like an extremely vibrant world opening up. It reminds one of those humongous Chinese dragon…gentle giants, colorful, benevolent, symbols of good times. Perhaps the most distinctive identity…again, its rich storytelling…like Fujitsu. But the trouble is, its just too big and it won’t work in black & white. By the way, does it remind anyone of Tech!
So, we have traveled across the world and now, come back to India. Infosys, competitor, peer, compatriot, whatever, of the one Tech company that has sparked off this and many other discourses around logos. Its indeed in the domain of the ‘simple’ logos…the Panasonic, Hitachi, etc., of the world. Like Panasonic, its in upper-lower. But then, the font is not really as simple, off-the-shelf, as Panasonic. The font has little touches here and there….Like, Fujitsu – though not as deft. Also, Fujitsu has a symbol, too. In that aspect, its closer to Oracle. Only a font story, but not straight & simple font, like Panasonic. The upper-lower, the sleekness, the character of the font, makes it younger – even as compared to Oracle or Panasonic. In fact, even contemporary. In terms of inclusivity and warmth, its similar to Sun. In a way, it seems to have good aspects of Oracle, Panasonic, Sun and even Fujitsu. Its more distinctive than Panasonic and Oracle, but not as distinctive as Sun. I would have liked it to tell some story, even while being simple and uncluttered, like Fujitsu. But then, one can’t have it all, only some can! At the same time, given the name ‘infosys’, the logo is effective enough. There are hardly any cues of tech and there isn’t any ‘telling’ symbol/graphic’, but the name itself is full description of what its all about. The name is almost like a BPS! It’s interesting or perhaps, intriguing, to note that ‘fosys’ are connected and ‘in’ are separate. Is ‘in’ India? Shouldn’t ‘info’ and ‘sys’ have been two sets, connected within? The point is not what company says about the concept & development of the logo; point is, what are we able to make out of it…and we actually have questions looking at the logo! But yes, its nice, warm, simple, uncluttered, works in small space and in black & white.
Finally we come to the protagonist of the story…really. From both the aspects, how it makes me feel and also technically, this new logo for Wipro – which incidentally is a great company – is perhaps the worst of the small set of logos that I have here. Even the simpleton, Panasonic, is better, as it has some sophistication, some understated-ness, etc. The simplicity, the inclusivity of Infosys, the other Indian, is also a comparison telling us what this Wipro logo isn’t. Too much color. Though Huawei too, has a large & colorful symbol, but the Huawei symbol is really distinctive and has single color. Brands have association with colors…Coke with red, Pepsi with blue and so on. Too many colors and many sizes of the dots here, lead to utter-clutter and utter-confusion. Too many colors also make it so kitschy, so bollywoodish…yes, in black & white, it would be like nothing on earth. The formation of the dots in concentric circles is not distinctive, at the same time. The formation actually is used in various ways in numerous logos, in the tech industry and everywhere else. The name – which is the key identity – is disproportionately small and is already lost; as the logo gets smaller, the name will move towards oblivion. Unlike Cisco though, Wipro is at least anchored within the symbol. But, while Cisco is still a single, soft color and the graphics make it into a distinctive symbol, this one isn’t going anywhere. Also, the Wipro font – and its indeed my perception and is subjective – is too ordinary, just too mundane. Am also trying to imagine, as to where would a BPS fit here! Wipro name is too small to have even one or two words under it; aligning it below the extended circle, will make it too far away from the name and also make it hang. Of course, like Microsoft, which too is like not really cool, Wipro has the history and the potential to do great stuff and have that rub-off on the brand identity. Perhaps, we would all start finding it nice & cool, as we have been with Microsoft and the change in brand image that Wipro is aiming for, is achieved. Yeah, but for now, given the new brand identity, let alone being positive, its tough to even stay neutral.