Friday, August 10, 2007

Six Requirements for Sonic Logos

According to his company's website:

"Steff Geissbuhler is among America’s most celebrated designers of integrated brand and corporate identity programs. His work for a broad spectrum of international and national clients includes identity systems for Merck, Time Warner Cable, NBC, Telemundo, Voice of America, Toledo Museum of Art, National Parks of New York Harbor, Crane & Co. and the May Department Stores Company. Prior to forming C&G Partners, he was a partner and principal at Chermayeff & Geismar Inc. for 30 years".

I agree with Geissbuhler when he suggests during a presentation at the HOW Conference in Atlanta, that:

“A successful mark is informed by a deep strategic understanding and is deliberately designed to provide a distinctive, memorable and appropriate visual expression of the organization it represents.”

Geissbuhler’s breaks logo requirements down into six main categories.

Each category can also be applied to Sonic Branding and Audio Identity assignments (perhaps change #2, 'Legible' to 'Articulate' or 'Clear', in order to more fully relate to audio expression).

1. Appropriate
2. Legible
3. Memorable
4. Flexible
5. Consistent
6. Lasting

To my mind, Geissbuhler only falls short when neglecting to also add that a great logo also requires acceptance (by audience/consumer/user). Maybe he does so elsewhere. Personally, I'm of the opinion that a logo doesn't actually become BRANDING until it becomes an accepted currency by consumers. –Meaning that ideogram or audiogram becomes synonymous with company, product or service.

For instance: Consider what it must take to coin a word for a heretofore-unarticulated concept. It's not enough to point out the necessity of the concept, or to even come up with the actual neologism. You must also create a word that other people will agree to use.

In other words, the word/symbol has to circulate.

Regardless, Geissbuhler gives good advice, and members of the creative class engaged in sonic branding, sound identity and audio mnemonics –be they music designers or brand analysts– would ignore it at their own peril.

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