Posts tagged ‘logos’

October 1, 2010

Association of Rotational Molders International

Few logos can best the Association of Rotational Molders International‘s in symbolism, simplicity, memorability, and flexibility. Perhaps ARM doesn’t realize the potential branding equity that they could enjoy through using it more effectively. Their site design is an expression of missed opportunity that demonstrates obvious ways to improve. (It is easier to change a site design than a logo.)

Five Criteria for Graphics that Work:
Association of Rotational Molders International

spiral bullet Use of logo: An organization’s logo has a story to tell—encapsulating the personality, philosophy, and tone of an entire organization.
Purely descriptive, ARM‘s geometric logo uses the most universal symbols in an unusual way. It makes a sphere and a plus sign mean something new. It is a visually striking and memorable composition!

spiral bullet Theme: The visual first impression is dominated by the total gestalt—look, feel, purpose, and benefit. Further contact is consistent and supports personality and philosophy.
ARM‘s graphics do look industrial, and in that way are appropriate. But brevity, organization, blue bands, and minimalism do not make up for material that is hard to read and visually nondescript.

spiral bullet Content composition: Building from a recognizable theme, the presentation is easy to grasp, clear, and engaging.
This is where ARM could make the most improvement. The site navigation is hard to read and visually all the same. The space at the top of the home page is trying to sell its first banner ad. Unless they have one to start, this space can be better used. (Perhaps the blankness can remind members of its availability each time they enter.) Though you have to know initially what rotational molding is, with its depth of content, ARM‘s site could be really engaging! Constructed only of type and a generally unchanging frame, this is low budget probably at its potential. With a bland page design, the logo actually stands out more!

spiral bullet Consistent style: A series presents a visual language and an ambient atmosphere, promoting a positive experience and relationship with the audience.
ARM seems to have placed no emphasis on visual development beyond the logo and a brief decision-making process about the website. As imaginative as is their logo, that’s how unimaginative is their other graphics. When exploring various benefits and services, the eye is jarred by a secondary level graphic that brings in new colors and a different design approach, such as in their Library section and Annual Meeting presentation. Here, visual gimics are used on the logo that don’t contribute to its visual strength.

spiral bullet Distinctive: The most successful presentations have a memorable twist—something extra that is unique.
ARM has many resources for building visually, especially within their “Design Applications” section. Members love to have their work showcased! Another resource untapped comes from their “Awards” program. It is unfortunate to see such unrecognized opportunities.

Many organizations have dynamic logos but stop there in graphic development. The most common reasons for accepting “Okay” include: lack of budget, executives have other priorities, no one can handle, or no one cares. In a visually-sensitive marketplace, even small improvements that make content easier to find, read, use, and enjoy, can make major differences in member perception.

See the Overview of the best Midwest organizations to present strong and compelling graphics.

The Sebastian Study 2010 national review will be available at the end of the year. If you want to be sure that your organization is included, please click here.

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August 26, 2010

Foundational Vocabulary

Having a good identity is a prerequisite to be included in the top of this study. Such a criteria filters out many groups that have great graphics but a forgettable logo; only a few organizations achieve effective graphics without a good logo.

The majority of idenitities that gain recognition by constituents use symbols. The letterform logos rarely are distinctive enough to stand out. Images that are too abstract without a context are also forgettable.

Out of the 700 organizations included in the Sebastian Study, 27 have excellent logos (see reviewed organizations with strong logos that build into a graphic direction). Only a few groups with inferior logos reach graphic excellence because they are so strong in other areas. Unfortunately, most of the 27 organizations with excellent logos don’t carry through. Here are examples of groups that could better develop a graphic foundation based upon a good start:


These organizations have strong logos but don’t carry through into potential applications:

spiral bullet Associated Equipment Distributors
At first, this may look like an abstract gear or industrial mechanism. But on second glance, the AED’s symbol is comprised of people in a circle. Because of this double effect, the image can’t appear too small or the pople get lost. The typeface chosen for the acronym is nothing special.

spiral bullet Association of Rotational Molders International
Given that a sphere is expected for this trade group, this simple treatment conveys global, unity, and industry. With only a few lines, ARM’s symbol is infinitely flexible and offers a circular theme to be extended.

spiral bullet American Society of Hand Therapists
Combining letterforms with a symbol is a good strategy towrd distinction. ASHT’s logo reflects a recognizable integration that uses the master typeface to complement. The image of hands expresses the focus of the organization, making it instantly understandable.

spiral bullet Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development of the AHA
Sometimes abstraction is strengthened by a reference—by vaguely looking like a recognizable image. SHSMD’s abstract symbol reflects integration, communication between two entities, and looks like two hands cupped together. Although geometric, it has a warmth that is appropriate for a health care organization.

spiral bullet Healthcare Financial Management Association
Symbols that are based on a letterform can help tie to a name. HFMA has a formal geometric logo based on an “H” in a beautiful linear drawing. It is interesting that this group chooses lower case type for their acronym, softening the formality of the symbol.

Like getting the invitation after the party, these organizations are missing opportunity. In a challenging economy, nonprofits need to make the most of what resources they have (don’t we all??). To possess a memorable logo and do little with it is such a missed opportunity because it can sharpen the arrow of marketing and publications. Although building recognition is hard to measure, the reactions of constituents are not. If these groups produce graphics that receive few comments from the audience, this is one indication that their focus should be on increasing reactions.

The Sebastian Study 2010, national review will be available at the end of the year. If you want to be sure that your organization is included, please click here.

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