The hard drive archives: "Make the logo bigger."
I’ve been going through a hard drive of mine recently finding a lot of little nuggets from my past advertising agency experience. As most who have been in the biz 15+ years would attest, you pick up a lot from different people along the way – mentors, business leaders, creative people, and yes, the internet.
I ran across a doc I must have pulled off the web somewhere (I wish I had a source but I don’t) that tackles the age old bane of creative people: “Make the logo bigger.” It quotes legendary creatives Neil French and Luke Sullivan. I’m guessing the page numbers refer to Sullivan’s “Hey Whipple Squeeze This” book (which I highly recommend). There’s a lot of wisdom in these words:
Neil French, a stellar copywriter, once told stellar creative director, Luke Sullivan: Every element you add to a layout reduces the importance of all the other elements. And conversely, every item you subtract raises the visibility and importance of what’s left (65-66).
A logo says, “This message brought to you by…” An ad without a logo just says, “This message.” (Sullivan 208).
Now, we’re not suggesting that we take logos out of everything. In some cases, a logo makes a strong point.
Take recent Nike ads for example. They tried to get rid of the swoosh and replace it with just Nike. It wasn’t working. Some ads don’t even say Nike anymore. They just have the swoosh, and you even have to search for the swoosh. They don’t scream it. They don’t have to. And neither do you.
Your logo tells people who you are. That’s it. It’s like signing your name to the bottom of a letter. You don’t put your signature across the entire page. As Luke Sullivan puts it, “When introducing yourself, do you say your name in a booming voice? ‘Hi, my name is Bob Johnson!'” (208).
We don’t try to hide logos; we just try not to let it all hang out, so to speak. Shouting is one way to get attention, but so is whispering. It just depends on the particular situation.
“There’s a dynamic involved here,” states Luke Sullivan. “If it’s agreed the ad successfully stops a reader and engages him with an offer that intrigues, what do you suppose the reader will look for next? The reader’s just seen something he wants. Where can he get it? The logo. …The reader will almost certainly find it, no matter what its size”
Do you think this is a good rationalization for the age old request to “Make the logo bigger?” I’d love to hear what clients would have to say about this. It may be right, or it may be wrong., But I’m thinking it makes a convincing argument. What say you?