WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2012
If we look around, us logos have
become the preferred language for
most brands. They communicate
much more than words. If your logo
denotes either or all of these (style,
stature, sophistication or substance),
your brand has truly arrived.
Executive Creative Director, South,
DDB Mudra Group
BY ANKITA SHREERAM
hy is McDonald’s logo yellow
and IBM’s logo blue?
Wouldn’t any other colour do?
Probably not, because nothing stimu-
lates the appetite like yellow and blue
is the colour of choice for inspiring au-
thority, success and security.
Omnipresent and discreetly influential,
different colours impact our psyche in
uniquely different ways. And marketers
have long since used this phenome-
non to their advantage.
“The colours in logos are very con-
sciously chosen. The colour that you
select would depend on the purpose
of the logo and the kind of product you
would be marketing. For instance, cor-
porate logos generally have staid
colours. Software companies go for
youthful and trendier colours.
Exuberance is the key word for youth-
oriented products as opposed to the
conventionality of corporate logos,”
says Adrian Mendonza, Creative
Director, Rain 7. Microsoft has opted for
a refreshingly colourful yet elegant
logo after 25 long years. “We have
modernised it, ensured it familiarises
well with our product logos and used
four colours that represent our her-
itage,” says Shafalika Saxena, CMO,
Microsoft India. She goes on to explain
the rationale behind the logo, “Just as
your genetic code creates similar physi-
cal traits among your family members,
Microsoft is the DNA that provides the
connection across our family of offer-
ings. Although our products, pro-
grammes and services may differ, the
Microsoft DNA ensures they work to-
gether. The logo is a visual symbolism
of that DNA.”
The repeating motifs of certain
colours in a particular brand category is
actually quite noticeable. “Different
colours come with different messages.
Some of them are synonymous with
brand categories. For instance, warm
colours like orange, red and yellow are
synonymous with food brands. Fashion
brands use bolder colours in their lo-
gos. Feminine brands would prefer
pastel. If you need your brand to have a
bold image, then red would help. So
depending on the image you have in
mind, you choose the colour,” advises
Amit Akali, National Creative Director
and Executive Vice President, Grey
The orange in Nickelodeon is de-
signed to appeal to kids and the pink in
Barbie denotes delicate feminity.
“Colour psychology is well recognised
as a key marketing lever. Colours are
imbued with rich connotation. Colour
changes can imply brand transforma-
tion,” agrees Saxena. Logos would cer-
tainly not be as effective or as evocative
without their consciously chosen
Colour me Pink!
Logos wouldn’t be what they are without their
artfully chosen colours
ujata Keshavan founded India’s first brand
design consultancy Ray+Keshavan in 1989.
In a career marked by many firsts, she has
helped to create the country’s leading
brands, been part of eminent juries and served as
advisor to organisations across the commercial, ed-
ucational and governmental sectors. She is a mem-
ber of the Global Design Council of the World
Economic Forum. Excerpts from the interview...
You are widely recognised as the pioneer of brand
identity design in India. Which was the first logo
you designed for an Indian company?
I returned to India after studying with Paul Rand,
who was the first designer to link business to de-
sign, proving that (good) design has an important
role to play in making a business successful.
This role of design was unknown in India at the
time, and Ray+Keshavan was the first company to
demonstrate it through the work we did. One of
the first major brand identity programmes that I
worked on was for Rajan Nanda's Escorts Group in
Delhi. Another important milestone was the re-
design of the Infosys identity when the company
was scaling up its international presence in the ear-
ly 90S. I have always been a strong proponent in
the fact that design is powerful and can be used
transform brands as well as organisations.
Why do brand identity programmes need so much
investment? Why should logo design cost hundreds
of thousands of dollars?
A brand identity programme is much more than
the drawing of a mark or a logo. In our practice, we
look at ways in which brand strategy and design
can align across all touchpoints which range from
the logo to employee behaviour. When brands are
viewed through the lens of design thinking, creative
solutions emerge across the board. We help inte-
grate all brand delivery channels around a clear
idea and intent which provide the centre of gravity
of the brand. Brands are constantly evolving, and
the programme takes heed of this, so that the pro-
gramme stays relevant for several years.
Tell us about the process you follow.
We have a proprietary trademarked process called
LIVE the brand which starts with a brand audit and
ends with large scale implementation.
The process integrates art and science, logic and
magic. We take a brand, shake it inside-out and see
if it holds tight without unravelling. We then make
sure that the idea and vision we agree on in the
boardroom is translated seamlessly to real-world
markets. We believe that a robust process actually
frees the team up to reflect, ideate and experiment.
We use our years of experience to make sure that
undue time and energy is not spent on needless it-
eration or panic-stricken crisis management.
We want the concerned teams to think with their
brains as well as their hearts. In fact, I believe that
the role of intuition is often underestimated. We
believe in listening to gut-feel which often provides
the magic behind the logic.
What is unique about India when it comes to brand
India is unique in its diversity. It has a population of
1.2 billion people (one sixth of humankind), has
seventeen languages, each with its own script,
1600 dialects, all major religions, 330 million gods
and goddesses, the world's richest and the world's
poorest people. It lives simultaneously in the 16th
and 21st centuries. Finding common ground across
all this diversity is a real challenge. Other anomalies
include an excessive reliance, on empirical evi-
dence on the one hand, and strong belief in astrol-
ogy and superstition on the other. Indian clients
from the larger companies, also tend to be more
risk averse than their western counterparts, seeking
reassurance in safe solutions that are known to
have worked before. For example, a telecom client
will take comfort from the fact that one has worked
on another, similar, telecom project earlier. We
have even had a prospective client ask us which
front-loading washing machine we had branded
Steve Jobs said that if Apple did consumer research
there would be no iPod. What is your point of view
on design research?
Research is useful in helping you understand peo-
ple, why they do the things they do, how they use
products, how they shape their environments,
what they aspire to, what they dream about, and so
on. However, people cannot tell you how they will
react to or use something that is new, untried –
something they have not experienced before.
Market research, especially through the use of fo-
cus groups is not helpful as it invariably throws up
the safest, options, the lowest common denomina-
tor. Unfortunately, there is an overwhelming re-
liance on this sort of research as a crutch on which
a manager can base his decision making. So I total-
ly agree with Steve Jobs on this matter.
If there is one thing you could change about the in-
dustry, what would it be?
As the brand consulting and design industry ma-
tures, it needs to introspect and self-correct.
Creative work done for a pitch is facile and under-
values one's own philosophy.
“A brand identity programme is much more
than the drawing of a mark or a logo”
Research is useful in helping you
understand people, why they do
the things they do, how they use
products, how they shape their
environments, what they aspire to,
what they dream about, and so on
SUJATA KESHAVANIN CONVERSATION
Sujata’ s five point test for
a great logo
1. Relevance:Does it do justice to the brand po-
2. Differentiation:Is it sufficiently differentiated
3. Memorability:Does it make an impression
and prompt recall?
4. Integration:Does it lend itself to a compelling
5. Endurance:Will it stand the test of time? Can
it be easily implemented?
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