Fortune Magazine’s first ever F-500 corporate identity competition

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May 5th- Fortune Magazine’s Annual Fortune 500 Issue Presents First Ever Company Logo Smackdown

For the first time ever, Fortune Magazine decided to conduct a logo competition among the most powerful Fortune 500 brands. Siegel+Gale identity experts Howard Belk and Sven Seger were called upon by Fortune to judge which of the many logos were deemed worthy of the #1 spot! The following Siegel+Gale decision criteria were used to carefully screen from the many logo candidates:


1. Name: A logo’s name is very important. You should be able to name a logo in two to three words. If you can’t do that, it is not a good logo. If it has a name, it has an idea. If you can’t name it, it most likely doesn’t have an idea because ideas don’t exist without a name. BP’s logo is called The Helios Mark. Great name, great idea, great logo.

2. Personality: Companies have personalities, and depending on how you render an image, ranging from serious, to friendly, the image’s style can represent the personality of the company. Depending on how it is drawn, a flower can be elegant, exclusive, and sophisticated, or approachable, warm and genuine. When we know the personality of a brand, we can express it through color and shape.

Good examples are Yahoo (enthusiastic) and Deutsche Bank (rational).

3. Metaphor: Linking an already understood association of an object to a brand in the form of a relevant metaphor can be very powerful.

Good examples are Unilever (Garden of Eden), Merrill Lynch (Bull) and BP (Flower)

4. New Combinations: Merging different forms into a singular image such that they can be read from multiple perspectives allows for the creation of a very proprietary logo. The Time Warner Cable logo is a wonderful example of this. The ear and an eye are combined to form a singular image that represents the multi-sensory aspect of the brand’s products. Bank of America is another great example. The combination of the American flag and a landscape makes it a “flagscape,” the people’s bank from coast to coast in America.

5. Strategic Purpose: A logo’s design is stronger when it can be connected to the strategic intent of the brand. This connection may be direct or indirect, explicit or learned, but nonetheless, present in the design of the mark. By utilizing an image of the flower, the BP logo represents the company’s concern for environmental sustainability.

6. Touchpoint: A logo’s design should take advantage of the touchpoint on which it is most often found. “Touchpoint relevant” design means forming a triangular relationship between the brand, it’s primary touchpoints, and the logo.

UPS does this well. Taking advantage of the 750,000 package trucks operating in the US alone, the design of its logo, a beveled shield, looks like it belongs on the truck. Apple does this well too. The current design of the apple reflects the “liquid” User Interface, the most proprietary aspect of the brand.

7. Reduction: Purity. Simplicity. Essence. All words used to describe the beauty of reduced form. It is no different with logo design. If we reduce something to its most simple level, it will represent an idea, rather than depict something literal. A well crafted logo has a certain level of reduction so that it’s form may communicate the idea.

Of the top F-500 logo contenders, Target took the prize! Simple, distinct, and clear, this “to-the-point” logo turns the brand into an event. From advertising to co-branding to alliance marketing effectiveness, the “Design for all” tag-line, is engaging, demonstrative and effective.



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