Sunday, November 16, 2008

Logos and Luxury Don't Go Together?

The November 16, 2008 issue of the New York Times Magazine has an interesting piece titled "The Brand-ness of Strangers."

It reports some research on the effects brands have on us. Among other findings, people who saw photos that included a bottle of Dasani were more likely to choose that brand when given a choice of four brands, even though they didn't consciously notice the bottle when looking at the photograph (they were asked to focus on the expressions of the people, not other things in the photo).

The article concludes with a discussion of Ralph Lauren's many lines. The Polo logo is widespread, but the logo "is completely absent from Lauren's high-end subbrands, presumably on the theory that the discerning self-identities of such status-conscious consumers clash with flashing an emblem worn by the masses."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

More on American Apparel

In the previous post, I mention American Apparel, which sells clothing with no logos. A little digging finds a more detailed 2005 article on the company from
"So what is this American Apparel? A company of basics built upon a foundation of simple, plain-colored T-shirts. Tees were the first items Charney produced when he set up shop in 1997 and still account for the lion's share of the business--but the line is spreading like a rash. Today American Apparel makes socks, underwear, sweatshirts, jackets, dresses, tank tops, polo shirts, baby clothes, dog clothes, and, as of this summer, swimwear. The clothes have no logos, no ornamentation, not a single flourish or bauble; differentiation comes from an array of colors that now includes fluorescents and from slim and sexy cuts that attract young buyers and allow the simple cotton garments to serve as something larger--core elements of a fashionable wardrobe."

The Best Brand? No Brand.

Such is the title of a brief story in the June 30, 2008 issue of Newsweek. It reviews Rob Walker's new book Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are (Random House, 2008). The article mentions two particularly interesting companies and logos (of lack thereof). Back in 2003, Dunkin' Donuts paid people to wear temporary tattoos on their foreheads. On the other hand, American Apparel sells clothing with no logos. I'm with them, and will have to look into their offerings.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

TV Logos Revisited

Several months ago, I noted annoying "bugs" on television channels. Dish Network just revised its channel offerings, which encouraged me to go though the line-up to look for interesting new channels. Instead, I found new, and sometimes even more obnoxious, logos.

The first I noted was the History Channel's vivid red and gold logo:

The Discovery Channel made theirs more vivid as well, adding a rotating globe, which is not evident in this still, to further distract the viewer's attention from the programming:

The Learning Channel still wants to be in the running for impossible-to-ignore logos too, having made their previously obnoxious logo even more so:

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Searching for a Logo-less Bicycle Helmet

Having decided I needed the exercise, I bought a bike. A helmet seems like a good idea. It's hard to find one without an obnoxious logo. Giro wants to make sure everyone knows you're wearing theirs:

Limar is a little better:

Bell at least keeps its logos small, but puts one on the front as well as the sides.

Trek looks to be the least obnoxious.

I need to do some more looking, but Trek so far seems to be the choice.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Public Logos

Leonard Pitts, Jr. dicusses corporate logos in public spaces in his column on April 16, 2008. His column is occasioned by the renaming of Shea Stadium to Citi Field. Stadiums used to be named after interesting people or locales. Pitts writes: "We don't do that so much anymore, name public spaces for people who have done things. Nor even for the cities in which things are done. The Miami Heat used to play in the Miami Arena. Now they play in an arena named for an airline. "

At least corporate sponsors have paid big bucks for the right to have their name displayed, unlike clothing or automobile manufacturers who ask us to pay to display their logos. I'm waiting for the day, however, when highways, trees, natural landmarks, and sidewalks will begin to sport paid advertising.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Appliance Logos

We've got an Amana microwave. The front constantly reminds me not only that is an Amana, but also that it is a Radarange, and that the name is a registered trademark. I want a microwave that heats things, not one that reminds me of its manufacturer and brand every time I use it.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Adbusters and Anti-Logos

Adbusters is an interesting organization encouraging, shall we say, a dubious attitude toward advertising and consumerism. One of their projects is Blackspot Sneakers, which they describe as "the unswoosher." However, their "anti-logo," hand-painted or not, is still a kind of logo. Why not simply offer the shoe with no logo at all. What better "anti-logo" than no logo at all?.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Logos Do Not Have to be Obnoxious

Although I generally don't like logos on anything, there are exceptions. Discreet symbols are often decorative. Take, for example, Apple. Besides producing excellent hardware and software, the company is discreet in advertising its presence. Here's the logo on the front of my iMac, for example:

It is a polite reminder that Apple made the thing. Since Apple's products are visually distinctive, in an attractive way, a subtle logo is fine. Imagine a big APPLE in place of the logo. Does anyone think that would be an improvement?

Other computer manufacturers are less pleasant. Here's the bottom of the monitor from a Dell machine, for example:

In silver against black, the logo stands out obtrusively.

That's one more reason why I've been a Mac user since 1985.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Logos on TV Sets

Last month, I looked at the "bugs" television channels put on the screen to be sure I am always aware of the kindly souls offering the programming.

TV manufacturers, too, don't want me to forget whose brand I own. They prefer to put their logo in a way that contrasts with what is around it. Phillips, Toshiba, and Sharp, for example, put their logos either in white or silver against a black background, or in black against a silver background:

Panasonic, at least, offers some sets with a silver logo against a silver background, which makes it a tad less obtrusive.

I'd be delighted to find a television set that didn't insist on advertising itself every time I look at it. Does any major manufacturer have such a product?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Creeping Logoism

Logos seem to grow. I have a Marmot down coat, bought about ten years ago, which has an inconspicuous logo that I was happy to tolerate, even though I generally do not like to display product names.

A little later, I bought a Marmot rain jacket. It had the Marmot "M" in an acceptable size. Unfortunately, I lost it. I replaced it with the new version, but now logo creep had struck. It had a white Marmot logo against a black background on the front:

And another on the right shoulder:

And yet a third on the back:

Now I'm a walking advertisement for Marmot, a firm whose clothing I appreciate, but whose unpaid billboard I am not happy to be. Is it my imagination, or are logos becoming more frequent as well as more obnoxious?

Friday, January 18, 2008

More Obnoxious Logos on the TV Screen

I suppose it's partly the fault of the news channels, which fill their screens with every manner of electronic busyness. Television channel logos have become increasingly obtrusive. I don't mind an occasional brief appearance of a logo. It may contribute to making copyright infringement harder? However, when logos are there all the time, and even change to make sure one doesn't tune them out, we have the makings of an abomination.

The worse example is Voom. At various points, a rainbow loco flashes in the corner of the screen. The last time this happened, I was watching a program on Italian art. Suddenly, the Voom logo appeared over a Carravaggio painting:

This hardly adds to one's appreciation.

Or take BBC America, which sometimes insists
not only on advertising coming shows on the bottom left, but thinks I need to be reminded what program I am watching on the lower left:

The Documentary Channel is a particular offender, with at least four different logos, among them:

The Learning Channel has its own vivid addition to my viewing pleasure:

Then there is the Discovery Channel:

Over time, one tunes these obnoxious logos out, at which point some channels change the logo, or add vivid color to make sure viewers don't forget what channel they are watching.

Am I the only one annoyed by these things?

Monday, January 7, 2008

Is anyone else annoyed by obtrusive product logos?

In a world filled with advertising, I dislike adding to the clutter by prominently displaying the manufacturers of the products I buy. I don't mind discreet product logos, but the more vivid the logo, the less likely I am to buy the product.
A few months back, I bought a Columbia jacket. Its logo was a little bigger than I like, but what was even more annoying was that there were six zipper tags, each with a prominent Columbia logo.

On the other hand, discreet logos like those of Apple, Nike, or Mercedes are appropriately unobtrusive. I can tolerate them, though I still prefer not to become an unpaid advertising agent for products I buy.

In this blog, which may take a while to get going, I plan to include photographs of what I think to be obnoxious and obtrusive logos. I welcome digital photographs of your "favorites" as well.