Despite the way it may seem, no brand worth its salt was created overnight.
Rather, the best and most evocative brands are developed over time in what is typically a high-level, iterative process that can be influenced by many factors, including changes in technology, economics, global and marketplace trends, consumer preferences, demographic profiles, and so on.
When companies stay in tune with these changes, they are able to finesse their branding accordingly to ensure that their messaging remains on point. Of course, we've seen this play out over time with mega brands including McDonald's, Apple, Starbucks, Google, and Coca Cola, with each company tweaking its branding strategy to keep up with changing times — and achieving varying degrees of success.
Let's look at a local example. When Paula Scher, principal at NY-based design firm Pentagram, recently updated branding for The Philadelphia Museum of Art, she wanted to convey the message that the museum is an approachable world-class cultural institution that has so much more to offer visitors than a run on the “Rocky steps” out front. Scher gave the logo a lighter feel by eliminating the long-lived griffin brand character and incorporating a more playful custom font. Perhaps most important of all, she guaranteed that the new mark would continue to evolve over time by designing the letter “A” in “Art” to be interchangeable with an ever-expanding portfolio of images that each represent a piece of artwork in the museum's vast collection. As a result, the logo currently has 200 versions that will continue to grow and change over time.
“If you design an identity where a system is very rigid, it becomes boring very quickly, and it's likely to be overthrown because people need change. If you want something to last a long period of time, you need to have the ability for flexibility.”
We took a similar approach with our client, The Philly POPS. When The POPS recently introduced new leadership, a new Music Director, and fresh programming, we worked with them to update their branding and send a refined new message to the marketplace. The revitalization efforts included a new responsive website, and an array of multimedia campaigns spanning everything from digital to traditional, and bold yet sophisticated brochures and program books. On the brochure covers and related materials, we altered the POPS wordmark to incorporate images representing their current season programs and overall experience. We'll continue adapting the branding in a similar manner to keep the materials fresh from season to season.