What Problem Does a Logo Design Solve?

31 januari 2022

“Everything is design. Everything!”

-Paul Rand, the legendary American graphic designer

What Problem Does a Logo Design Solve?

"Everything is design. Everything!”

True that!

From the beginning of your day till the end of it, everything you do or are involved in has some aspect of design in it. Even your thinking.

You wake up on a design marvel called bed. You light up the lamp which has been through centuries of design. Even the toothbrush design you hold every morning has eras of design behind it, beginning from 3500 B.C.E.

Even as I design this blog post, people are designing products, features, experiences, blending the creative and the conceptual with utility and functionality solving not only large scale problems but also everyday small ones.

But what about a logo design? Which problem does it solve?

Well, let us try to understand this with the help of IBM’s logo, the basic design of which has remained unchanged since 1972. Yes, since 1972.

IBM’s logo as is the poster below was designed by Paul Rand—the legendary American graphic designer who also designed logos for ABC, Morningstar, Inc., Steve Jobs’ NeXT, Yale University and Enron.

Source: www.iaddb.org

In 1924, IBM underwent a regrowth while working on a new design mission under the aegis of Thomas Watson Jr. It was making a move from being a Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company to being International Business Machines, IBM.

Paul Rand designed a 13 striped logo for IBM in order to solve the problem of representing its new transformed identity.

Today, IBM uses an 8 striped version of the same design, and for which IBM’s website says, “the IBM logo is one of our most valuable corporate assets. It’s among the most recognized corporate identities in the world, uniquely distinguishing us from our competitors and other companies. It’s the tangible symbol of our brand, representing everything we are: our expertise, our values, our people, our offerings.” IBM Developer Experience Guide having a dedicated page on IBM’s logo and its various forms for various purposes further connotes the value that resides in it.

So, Paul Rand’s design is an asset for IBM. Asset in business terms too.

A logo design is a powerful business tool and one which caters to the need of communication. It solves the problem of differentiating a brand in times of overcrowded marketplace. Along with that, it works by communicating visually what a brand stands for. And visual communication being primal for us humans, a logo quickly kindles us to generate and associate with meanings represented by the brand.

Therefore, one can safely say that logo designs not only solve communication problems but business problems too and bring good business as IBM’s Thomas Watson Jr once said, “good design is good business”.

If you find it worthwhile and wish to encourage discussion, share this post with your friends and family.

This post is made possible with the support of Design Museum Dedel. Design Museum Dedel has a collection of over 150 years of advertising and design history in the form of posters. The poster collection is made accessible by the collaboration between Design Museum Dedel and Reclame Arsenaal (IADBB).

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Chandrita Jaisinghani
Chandrita is a lifelong learner passionate about writing, creation, and marketing. She loves accessing and assessing her inner self through poetry and literature. Learn more about her on her website. You can also reach her at chandritawriter@gmail.com.