Assumptions are vital. Despite the whole “when you assume you make an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me,'” maxim, assumptions can be valuable and speed analysis, decision making, and implementation.
But when evaluating what assumptions are being made, however, it’s vital to look at your own assumptions as skeptically as you view those of others.
Of course, that’s easier said than done.
Brand Identity and Logo Design
During a presentation on new brand identity and logo design work recently, the brand manager was, obviously, very involved in creating the new brand identity. Before unveiling the new brand identity recommendation, however, he reviewed the organization’s current, but long-ago designed, logo. While the old logo is familiar through repetition, the presenter highlighted two subtle logo elements that were a surprise to me. Although obvious after the fact, I’d never noticed one of the logo elements previously, and the other I had MAYBE noticed “subconsciously.”
When pointing out these two design elements, the brand manager mocked them because they are, especially to those unfamiliar with the organization, obscure. Although the two elements depicted in the logo are publically associated with his organization, the graphic representation is too subtle for the uninitiated (i.e., POTENTIAL customers). Because of that, he rightly identified the old logo as not working hard enough for most of the intended audience.
Then, after a little fanfare, he unveiled his organization’s new brand identity work.
The new logo makes the organization instantly recognizable. But (in my strategic view), the new logo is unnecessarily cluttered and has a retro feel clearly off strategy for an organization trying to promote its forward-looking perspective.
The brand manager addressed one graphic element that seemed particularly out of date: it’s an exact match of a visual element on display throughout the organization’s headquarters location.
Yes, it’s all over THE INSIDE of its headquarters.
Since the brand manager works INSIDE headquarters, this antiquated visual element made perfect sense to him. To most audience members (who NEVER see the headquarters), however, it screams “antique,” which is equivalent to “off brand.”
Interestingly though, THAT assumption made all the sense in the world to the brand manager even though it’s an even more gross oversight than the assumptions he’d been skewering just a few moments before about the old logo.
What Assumptions Are You Making about Your Brand Identity and Logo Design?
Yup, we love our own assumptions, and often think others’ assumptions are just plain stupid.
My advice: find someone who doesn’t know what you know. Ask this person what assumptions you’re making and if any of them are just plain stupid. Once you’ve had someone do that, see how strong your idea still is. You’ll be better off for doing this . . . trust me. – Mike Brown