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Thinking of redesigning your logo?

Posted by Navin Harish - No Comments

“It takes 100 Million dollars and 10 years to associate a symbol with a company.” This is what Steve Jobs said while recounting his experience of getting a logo designed for next computers.

jobs

“It takes 100 Million dollars and 10 years to associate a symbol with a company.”
-Steve Jobs

All the great logos we see have been through that journey which is why they seem so great, the Nike swoosh, the Adidas’ flower, Mercedes’ three pointed star and the spirit of ecstasy were nowhere as aspirational as they are now, after completing that journey.

logo-redesign

Smart logo Redesign decisions

McDonald’s, Visa, Google, Domino’s, Pepsi didn’t have dramatic changes and the basic symbols remained the same and identifiable for their customers.

apple-logo-redesign

Apple had a dramatic change in their logo but that was before they had gone on their 10 year, 100 Million Dollars journey so the impact was minimal.

So the next time when you want to redesign you logo, think about it once again. Cosmetic change here and there are fine if the basic symbol remains identifiable but if you are planning to change it completely, be sure that you are ready for a 10 year journey and have budget of 100 Million dollars.

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Facebook got a new logo

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Facebook redesigns his logo. The old one is replaced by a new one that doesn’t look all that different from the old one. This is for a company that doesn’t even use its logo on its website.

New and Old Facebook Logos

“This new logo may look pretty similar to the average person, but it is regarded as a rather dramatic change to the typography-trained eye.”

It’s like me not noticing that my wife got a haircut. I sincerely hope Facebook won’t be mad at me for not noticing the change in the logo.

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Simplify, but don’t over-simplify

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one-tooth-icon

The current trend of flat icons tends to simplify things which is good because it makes it easier to identify things, especially at smaller sizes. This icon, however, is an exception. The simplification of just having one box for a date and two holes at top makes it look like a man with a one tooth smile. Doesn’t it?

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Can you serve the mobile version, please!

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While surfing the internet you see so many responsive websites, so many freely available responsive templates – for both CMSes and plain HTML. Add to that the pressure on companies to provide a mobile internet experience due to increasing number of people accessing the web from their phones and not from today but for a few years now, you’d think that the transition from a desktop computer to a tablet to a mobile phone would be seamless, but no, that is not the case. Not even close

When it comes to mobile internet experience, most people are writing cheques they can’t cash, like Vodafone and Hindustan Times that take you to sites that don’t work on mobiles.

Hindustan Times

I scanned a QR Code to get here so shouldn’t I be taken to a mobile version of this site?

Even now most people don’t do even the minimum required to provide a decent internet experience on a mobile phone. Take this example of Hindustan Times site. I got there by scanning a QR code. It doesn’t need a UX expert to point out that if a user is scanning a QR code, he is going to be using a mobile device and most likely a phone so shouldn’t it be obvious to take the user to a mobile site? Apparently not for Hindustan Times that take you to a site that is made for a desktop.

Similarly, Vodafone sent me a link in an SMS to their payment gateway. I guess they are a little too hopeful if they are expecting me to type the url they have sent in the SMS in my desktop to access that site.

The SMS from Vodafone

I get a link in SMS…

The site that opens on my phone

…and this is where I get. The intelligent thing to do, if you don’t have a mobile optimised version of your payment gateway, would be avoid sending the url altogether.

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Degrees of Separation and Empowerment

Posted by Navin Harish - 2 Comments

In Ogilvy on Advertising David Ogilvy talks about the time when he had gone to present an ad to a client. The client liked it and called his junior to take a look at it as well. While looking at the ad, he took out his pen, obviously to make a change but even before he could open he pen, his boss stopped him “Put that pen back in your pocket.”

“Teams from different functions should stick to what they do best and leave the creative delivery to the creative team. It is in the interest of the client, the creative team and your organization at large.”

With that said, I’d like to ask you how many people stand between your creative team and the client and have you empowered your creative team to ask the guys standing between them and the client to take a walk if the occasion arise?

I won’t say there should be no layer between the client and the Creative team. I am not even saying no one should review the work done by the creative team. What I am saying is the creative work should be reviewed objectively and not be judged by personal opinion.

I keep deviating but this reminds me of another thing I want and share with you before I move on. In a one day cricked match, Shane Warne walked to bat at number 3 or 4. The commentator said “You send in a pinch hitter up the order to score a few runs quickly so your team can consolidate on it and the player goes in, takes time to settle and start thinking of himself as a batsman. This defeats the whole purpose.

More often than not this is what happened when different functions are involved in reviewing the creative work. There are six degrees of separation between you and a complete stranger sitting on the other side of the planet but sometimes there are more degrees of separation between you creative team and a person they are working for – the client.

The more people that are involved, the bigger the problem. While on one hand it eats up your men hours, it also dilutes the message that is to be delivered. Design by committee has often been criticized by a lot of people so I don’t want to go there. Another negative effect it has on your creative team is apathy. When a creative team feels their work is anyway going to be dissected by so many people they are quite likely to lost interest and do something mediocre and then just wait for the inputs and make the suggested changes. “Why should we screw our brains when the final work is not going to be what we will suggest” is the most dangerous attitude your team can have.

Teams from different functions should stick to what they do best and leave the creative delivery to the creative team. It is in the interest of the client, the creative team and your organization at large.

There is a creative team that should be doing the creative work, the marketing team or the HR team or the Finance team should not start thinking of themselves as creative people and start offering a critique on the work of creative team. They should only evaluate a creative work by how effectively is it communicating the intended message. “I think Green will look better than the blue”. Really? May be you should consider painting your bedroom green.

So the next time you see someone taking out a pen, you know what to tell them.

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Should you really be chasing that client?

Posted by Navin Harish - 2 Comments

Like everything else in life, the interactive work is available in varying quality. While it is easier to spot rotten apples before you make the purchase, it is not so easy to spot a poorly executed interactive project before even starting it.

Quite a few times we have lost clients because the price quoted by us was not the lowest. Last Saturday I called up a client who wanted a site to be done. We had met a few days ago and they wanted to get a site done in a very short deadline. To speed up the process, I provide them an approximate cost. When I asked about the price, he said it was too high “We have spoken to someone else and they are offering to do the same site for a much lower cost, they are charging less than 30% of what you are asking.”

What is important is how a website affects your bottom line. If your Profit and Loss account depends directly on the performance of your website, you will spend time in finding the right people to do it and pay them the price they ask for doing it. It is money well invested.

Do we charge too much? No, not at all. The price we quoted was based on the time required and the cost of that time for various profiles required for that project. The cost for the sale site done by anyone else should be same, give or take a small percentage. So how can anyone quote a price so much lower than ours? The answer is in selling rotten apples. We have seen in past, the work done by other agencies at a significantly lower price than ours never matches up with what we provide to our clients. The important question now is “does it really matter?”

Thinking about it, may the other agency was not selling rotten apples, maybe they were not selling apples at all. Let’s see how. I have seen ads for companies designing websites on a “per page basis” where the rates are as low as Rs.350/page and I often wondered how can those people managed to make a site for such a low price.

One day I got an SMS for designing a website for Rs.7500 and I decided to call. I asked how much a site for a photographer would cost and they gave me a reference of a website they did for a photographer. The cost of the site was Rs.20,000. Sure the site was not something even a half decent designer would be proud of creating but there it was. The website may have its problems but it served the purpose of the photographer who probably only wanted a site to showcase some of her work, have a bit of info about her and have a contact form. The other aspect of the site didn’t matter, neither to her, nor to her clients.

You see, what is important is how a website affects your bottom line. If your Profit and Loss account depends directly on the performance of your website, you will spend time in finding the right people to do it and pay them the price they ask for doing it. It is money well invested.

On the other hand if your business is not affected by the website, you won’t want to invest serious money in a website. You are making a website so you can have a URL in your business card; you know, to keep up with the time.

So the next time you get a call from a client who wants to have a website and wants to pay you 30% of your regular fee, ask yourself if it is worth chasing that client and trying to convince him why he should pay your fee, or is it better to look for clients who are already aware of the value you bring to the table and are willing to pay for it.

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