Lame notions in re-branding, Part One


Michael SemerIt’s mainly an exercise in self-promotion by a company nobody’s heard of (and may never hear of again) named Zafira Consulting & Trading.  Doesn’t sound like a design company, and their clubfooted suggestion for revamping the famous BMW roundel doesn’t show much in the way of true Design Thinking — it’s just a flashy exercise in grabbing attention, and is not just wildly impractical out in the real world…but what’s the point?

You don’t mess with a logo as singular, identifiable and resonant as the BMW mark just for the sake of showing off some kind of technical verisimilitude.  Animating it, as they suggest, brings nothing to the brand — in fact, it’s so glaringly obvious a frippery it actually lowers the perception of the marque, rather than enhances it.

bmwnewroundel

Proposed animated logo

That’s because it’s the sort of thing that quickly wears out its welcome by virtue of relying on momentary sizzle; it also throws each and every vehicle, display, Web site or other element where it’s used out of balance, because an element like this automatically violates any precept of holistic design.

A good logo isn’t about drawing attention to itself for attention’s sake — it’s about presenting a clear impression of what the brand represents.  BMW is about technical wizardry, yes, but it’s also about a certain Teutonic reserve and sense of order, especially institutionally.  And anybody who bothers to do their research finds out how the roundel isn’t referencing an airplane propeller, as legend has had it, so adding “motion” ceases to have a sound connection with the brand — instead, it’s an interpretation of the colors of the Free State of Bavaria.

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