Your branding and logo is the window to your business. It should speak to your target audience, let them know who you are, what your purpose is and set you apart from competitors. Strong branding and logo design can make your brand memorable and even increase your sales. Pretty much every business strives to be so big and iconic, that their brand requires no introduction. So, what happens when you take away everything that makes a brand? From colours to typefaces, every element is important when it comes to brand recognition. Designer Kunel Gaur decided to try it out by transforming some of the world’s most iconic brands into generic, black and white products.
Less is more
First up, we have Kellogg’s Cornflakes, a cereal staple in almost every British cupboard since they arrived in the UK in 1922. Kellogg’s products are often the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to breakfast cereal. The Kellogg’s branding is well established and often associated with childhood as it plays on the nostalgic aspect of brand personality. While Kellogg’s Cornflakes might not be the most exciting or popular cereal choice, one thing it does have is reliability. Consumers trust the product and know exactly what to expect from it. From the iconic cockerel to the simple cereal bowl, the Kellogg’s Cornflakes brand is ever-present despite the lack of colour and signature typeface. However, the artwork does still contain the brand and product name, so it’s always going to be immediately recognisable. This makes us think it would have a greater impact without, and wonder if this stripped-back look would have a detrimental effect on their sales and brand presence? It’s important to remember how a product like Cornflakes would look on a shelf. Without its bright colours and cross-brand typeface, it would risk fading away amongst the sea of supermarket cereals.
Coca-cola is a brand everyone knows. Even if you’re not partial to a carbonated soft drink, you’ll have come across this brand before. Cola-cola dominates the soft-drinks market, so it comes as no surprise to us that taking away the brand colours and trademark curly typeface does not affect our ability to recognise the iconic product. From the classic shape of the glass bottle to the smooth lines that run down the side of the cans, Coca-Cola’s branding is simple but does the job. Coca-cola has relied on branding throughout their market dominance, even getting into some friendly rivalry campaigns with competitors Pepsi. Coca-cola has dabbled in minimal black and white branding already, amongst their wide range of products, stands Coca-cola zero. This zero-sugar drink is set apart from its product line with black branding rather than the classic Coca-cola red. This shows that the brand is established enough to think outside the box when it comes to branding. They don’t need bright red to communicate the Coca-cola brand to consumers. It’s fair to say, brands that have been around long enough to stand the test of time and become established as some of the best in the world, have an advantage in this experiment.
Today, the advertising world can often seem overwhelming. Hard sells and in-your-face advertising can drive consumers away. More and more consumers are looking for genuine advertisements that they can relate to and connect with. Stripping back the branding of these big brands takes us back to basics and encourages us to think about why we buy these products. Is it because of the branding, or do we genuinely prefer the products? Once brands have become established, simplifying their branding allows them to focus on service, performance and purpose. This experiment forces us to try and remember exactly what is missing from the brand aspect of each product, something that isn’t too challenging considering the brands in question. A tougher test would be to see if the iconic brands were strong enough to exist without a brand or product name.
The name game
Big-name brands everywhere have adopted a nameless look when it comes to their logos and branding. Removing a brand’s name from its logo is no longer deemed outlandish our unique, it is, however, a risk that might not pay off. Some of the biggest brands in the world simply no longer need to include a name because of how established they are; Nike’s swoosh, Adidas’ three stripes and Apple’s…apple. Other brands are beginning to follow suit to give their brand a refresh, gain attention, or test-out going nameless to see if it would work for them.
Last year, iconic tortilla chip brand Doritos launched a campaign that stripped away their brand name in a bid to target Gen-Z and their preference for more subtle advertising. The campaign kicked off with an advert containing unbranded bags of Doritos that relied on the classic colours, triangle shapes and iconic “cheese dust” to show consumers who they are. The Doritos name was removed from the iconic triangle-shaped logo and replaced with the phrase “logo goes here”. There was a digital focus across the campaign, with ads being pushed on YouTube and social media platforms to reach their target audience. Consumers were able to “triangle” themselves with a Snapchat filter and Doritos.com was replaced with LogoGoesHere.com Doritos took a humorous approach to the campaign and use it as an opportunity to show everyone from consumers to competitors just how big they are. Simple logos are more memorable and that’s exactly what Doritos have understood with this campaign. if you asked consumers what the first thing they think of when you mention Doritos, you can bet they’ll talk about the “cheese dust”, triangle tortilla chips or bold coloured bags rather than the logo font. It just goes to show that when it comes to branding, it’s not just about what your logo looks like, it’s what you do with it. While Doritos haven’t removed their logo from advertising material and products permanently, it could be a sign that this is where the future of Doritos is heading.
Last year also saw Mastercard go nameless on their logo. The credit card brand has removed its name from their famous intersecting red and yellow circles for the first time since their 1968 launch. Mastercard has earned the brand recognition to make this change, it’s clear that consumers don’t need a name to recognise the Mastercard logo. The rebrand takes their brand into the modern age, where communication is visual-focused and words aren’t always necessary. The design has been rolled out across all digital and physical Mastercard communications, allowing Mastercard to join the likes of Nike and Apple in the elite nameless logo club. Simple logos like Mastercard’s can help improve business. By simplifying your logo, it’s easier for a consumer to remember than that of a complicated, intricate logo. A simple logo is easy to understand and digest and allows you to make your message crystal clear. Remember, attention spans are becoming shorter when it comes to consumerism, you only have a few seconds to grab your audience’s attention, so make it count.
Starbucks is a multi-billion pound company and market leader in the hot drinks industry, so it would be fair to say it’s the king of coffee. Taking a gradual route into nameless branding, the coffee shop giant released an announcement on their creative-dedicated site, explaining all things Starbucks branding. They announced that while they aren’t completely eradicating the Starbucks name from everything, they prefer to use the iconic Siren image as the standalone logo. The classic Starbucks green and white logo allow their logo to stand prominent, a step ahead of their competitors Costa and independent coffee brands. There are many advantages to removing logo word-marks. Simplistic branding is favoured by consumers and spacing can be minimal when it comes to logo design so if a name or slogan gets in the way, removing it can solve this issue. when it comes to gaining customer loyalty, simple branding is the way forward. Customer experience and product quality trump branding and in the long-run, help your brand establish a positive reputation, something that can’t be achieved from branding and logos alone. Nameless branding is the stepping stone into becoming an iconic brand, but it must be established and earned. Simple, wordless logos are the same in every country, ideal for universal brand recognition. While it may seem risky, we like the way the world is going in terms of communication. With emoji’s and gifs seamlessly integrated into our everyday conversations, the world is becoming more and more comfortable communicating without words.