Why Boring Logos are the Most Successful

What Nike, Apple, Coca-Cola and all the greats have in common.

March 30, 2020

Let's get on the same page. By "boring," I mean logos that are less detailed. They don't have 10,000 colors, multiple elements, nor do they convey every detail of the company they represent. Truth be told, without being placed in a specific context, they are useless (unless you're a logo designer interested in analyzing them). It would seem that it is the elements that surround the logo that give the logo power, its longevity, and then structure would be last on the list.

Surrounding elements
Logos live on things. Lots of things. From app icons, billboards, collateral, even products. These logos are almost always accompanied by some form of messaging or other interactive piece. What's the point? The point is that the logo has little influence in making someone respect a company. Not nearly as much as the surrounding colors schemes, messaging, calls to action, or personality of the brand that it is encased within. If anything, the logo's job is to be there without becoming a blemish.

Longevity
Apple, Nike, and Coca-Cola have spent decades (over a century for Coca-Cola) using the same shape as their logo. There might have been slight adjustments in color or structure over time, but nothing that would make you think the mark was completely new. There's a reason for this and it's to drill the mark into people's minds. Thankfully, they have logos that have been able to serve them regardless of the surrounding political climate, era, or trends that make other companies feel the need to change their logos. It's the same reason cartoon characters don't change their clothes, the artists are making it easy for you, the viewer, to be visually primed for their character. By keeping the logo the same for decades, you are more likely to let your guard down when you see that logo, assuming the company is one you cherish.

Structure
This is the last point because a logo it's the cherry on top of the branding sundae. If the rest of a company's marketing, positioning, service record, products, and messages are on point, they can get away with having a less-than-great logo. Having a good one just seems to add the little extra delight or, at the very least, give a potential customer one less thing to have an issue with. This is accomplished be keeping the mark consistently recognizable regardless of where it is placed.

That's what all great logos have in common, they are boring and do their job really well.

More you say?

It's Your Fault People Don't Understand Your Startup

For those who think no one seems to get it.

1.14.2020

When you are creating a startup, it's easy to get sucked into the mindset that your product/service is needed and that everyone could benefit from it. Regardless of how true that is, people just don't seem to get it. You drill down on your marketing efforts talking about the features of what you offer, but no one understands.

You're bitter. You're frustrated. And it's also your fault.

Yea. It's your fault. It's your fault people do not understand the value of what you've created.

"Zach, that's pretty harsh," you might say. But, I believe it's better than the alternative.

Here's the thing: if it's your fault people don't understand the value of what you've created, then you can change. If it's everyone else's fault, you're shit outta luck.

It's never too late, it's all your fault, but that is the absolute best-case scenario. The question is: what are you going to do about it?

read more

No Heart in the Buyer

Why empathy is the most important part of building your brand.

2.24.2020

I was the best man in my cousin's wedding yesterday. I'd spent weeks trying to write a speech for this occasion, but found myself tearing up when I would start writing introductions. The memories I share with my cousin are that powerful.

Needless to say, the attendees of the wedding felt something when I was speaking with plenty of "awws," laughs, and, of course, tears responding to the speech.

Whatever the audience was feeling, the strange thing was that I felt it too. I was reminded of this quote from Robert Frost, "no tears in the writer, no tears in the reader."

Here's the thing:

When coming up with the personality of your brand, its values, mission, and purpose, YOU need to feel something. If you don't, how do you expect anyone else to?

No heart in the founder, no heart in the buyer.

In a cluttered market where people buy on emotion, it's the safest bet you have against becoming a commodity.

read more