A recent article by Rob Walker in Fortune magazine offers an interesting perspective on how branding has evolved over the last hundred plus years:
For starters, a logo isn’t just a name or an icon or other visual signature on company letterhead or a billboard or other promotional venue anymore. Take that device out of your pocket or bag and swipe through the screens, as you probably do many times a day anyway. You now carry dozens of brand icons wherever you go. “People are literally, physically interacting with those symbols in a way that they never did,” says Michael Bierut, partner in the prominent design firm Pentagram. For the Facebooks and Airbnbs and Snapchats and Ubers of the world in particular, he continues, that means “their customers are having a really, really intimate sort of relationship not just with those brands, but with the symbols that represent the brands.”
And by now, this reality transcends digital-centric companies: Almost any consumer-facing business, however analog its products or services, must reckon with a communication environment partly defined by app buttons and Twitter avatars. This is one reason that brand identities—as designers and their clients refer to the larger set of visual and verbal signifiers that include a logo—have become ubiquitous and embedded in our lives.
At the same time, the digital era has helped make the identity systems more volatile, with frequent stylistic updates or outright branding do-overs, often drawing levels of public response that earlier generations of designers would have found unfathomable. The changes that led to this moment happened gradually, and then seemingly all at once. As a result, the stakes for the modern corporate logo have never been higher.
It’s a good read – see the article here.