Ink roller? Snowflakes?

 
IMG_6240.JPG

My good chum Paul, and his good chum were sitting in Luppolo’s, a pizza restaurant/bar in Wanstead having a spot of lunch. They were sat facing a neon sign and for the life of them couldn't decide what it was. Now both of these chaps are in the creative industry and are very visually aware, but they were flummoxed at what this strange neon shape in front of them was. They finally agreed it looked more like a lino inking roller than anything else but also thought that was a strange object to make a neon sign of. It was only when Paul’s wife came in to join them that it became apparent. “It is a pizza cutter you idiots!’ She revealed. When I heard this story it didnt seem that strange to me. I also went there for lunch before I heard their story, and was looking at the very same sign and couldn’t come up with any ideas at all as to what it was!

This scenario happens an awful with brand identities. Take, for example, our identity for Wire. We use several different symbols as a visual language to represent our identity. We have had clients and friends describe them as snowflakes and flowers etc but not one person has ever guessed correctly. The symbols are actual cross sections of wire cables. We chose them because we are from Warrington and the nickname of Warrington is ‘Wire’ due to its history of wire manufacturing. So we thought these symbols would work well as our identity. To us they represent history, a sense of place, company values of innovation, creativity and hard work. They are also visually appealing (see our identity examples at the end of the blog). So, being called Wire, why would we use flowers or snowflakes? I can not for the life of me make that connection.

Cross section of wire cables

Cross section of wire cables

Rylands wire foundry, Warrington

Rylands wire foundry, Warrington

This hasn't only happened to Wire. There are plenty of examples of famous brands where the agencies and clients have become far too close in development. Also, there is an awful lot of post rationalisation. A good case in point is the Cisco identity.

Cisco_logo.jpg

“Cisco Systems is known for their telecommunication equipment, so it makes total sense that they’d choose a symbol that represents electromagnets for their logo. However, what many people don’t realize is that the electromagnetic waves are in the shape of the Golden Gate Bridge. Why? Because Cisco is extremely proud of their birthplace.

The company was founded in 1984 in San Francisco, so the Golden Gate Bridge shape is an homage to the company’s roots. The name “Cisco” itself is even taken from “San Francisco” (which is why it’s not capitalized in the logo).” Vladimir Gendelman, Company Folders 2015

So it begs the questions, ‘How many visual identities actually convey their meaning? And does it matter anyway? 

 


Examples of Wire’s identity

Website landing page

Website landing page

Presentation screen

Presentation screen

Business cards

Business cards

'We are the Wire' poster

'We are the Wire' poster

Icon poster

Icon poster

T-shirt

T-shirt

Wrapping paper

Wrapping paper