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经典商标是怎样练成的?

更新时间:2017-12-14 20:00:40 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The logos that have become legends
经典商标是怎样练成的?

Sometime around 1855, an unknown genius sat down to design a logo. It was a simple scarlet triangle – that’s it. But it went on to conquer the world.

大约在1855年左右,一个默默无闻的天才准备设计一个标志。那是一个简单的红色三角。但就是这样一个简单的符号,后来却征服了世界。

The logo was plastered onto bottles of Bass Pale Ale, a mild bitter with a malty taste. In the coming decades, it snuck its way into an Édouard Manet painting, at least 40 works by Picasso, the novel Ulysses and a children’s book.

那个商标被贴到Bass Pale Ale的瓶身上,这是一种带有淡淡苦味和麦芽香气的啤酒。之后的几十年间,在各种各样的艺术作品中都能看到它的身影,包括爱德华·马奈(Édouard Manet)的一副画作、毕加索的至少40件作品、小说《尤利西斯》和一本儿童书籍。

By 1871, the symbol could be found in even the most obscure corners of the British Empire, from the icy shores of the Falkland Islands to the tropical beaches of Mauritius. It’s the oldest registered trademark in the UK.

到了1871年,从法兰克福群岛(Falkland Islands)的冰冻海岸到毛里求斯(Mauritius)的热带沙滩,这个标志甚至渗透到大英帝国最不起眼的角落。它成为了英国最古老的注册商标。

Though it’s less instantly recognisable today, the Bass logo joins the ranks of Twinings Tea, Levi Strauss & Co, Peugeot, Johnson & Johnson, Heinz ketchup and Shell Oil, which have all made it to their 100th birthday and beyond.

尽管现在的知名度降低了,但Bass的标志却与川宁(Twinings Tea)、李维斯(Levi Strauss & Co)、标致(Peugeot)、强生(Johnson & Johnson)、亨氏(Heinz)番茄酱和壳牌石油(Shell Oil)一起成为了百年品牌。

These legendary designs are in stark contrast to more recent logo disasters, such as that time Gap added a square to theirs – fans caused such a fuss that they dropped it after six days – or when the Royal Mail abandoned its 350-year legacy and rebranded as “Consignia”.

与这些传奇设计形成鲜明对比的是最近的标志灾难。例如,Gap就在他们的标志上增加了一个方块,但此举令粉丝们感到非常困扰,因而在6天之后被迫放弃;或者像英国皇家邮政那样放弃了350年的遗产,转而使用Consignia的全新品牌。

The new name was accompanied by a bland multicoloured swirl, to the great bewilderment of the public and at a cost of £2 million. They, too, quickly reverted. “It’s fascinating how passionate people get about certain brands,” says Alison Shields, assistant professor of marketing and law at Ithaca College, New York.

他们花了200万英镑在这个名字旁边配上了几个彩色的旋涡,但效果却很乏味,导致公众十分困惑。他们很快也放弃了这套方案。"人们对某些品牌的痴迷实在令人神往。"纽约伊萨卡学院(Ithaca College)营销和法律助理教授阿里森·谢尔兹(Alison Shields)说。

What makes a logo “sticky” – the kind of image that embeds itself in the public consciousness, instantly conjuring prestige, quality, or nostalgia? And why do others flop?

是什么为一个标志赋予了"粘性"——让图像得以融入公众意识,立刻像变魔术般彰显威望、品质或怀旧之情?其他标志又为什么会失败?

“We aren’t often asked to design a logo that will last hundreds of years,” laughs Michael Bierut, a partner at design consultancy Pentagram and the brains behind the logo for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

"通常没有人让我们设计一个能够沿用几百年的标志。"设计咨询公司Pentagram合伙人兼希拉里·克林顿(Hillary Clinton)2016总统大选标志设计师迈克尔·贝鲁特(Michael Beirut)笑着说。

“To my mind the basic theme of an enduring logo is simplicity,” he says. Clean-cut, abstract logos are more easily recognisable and they simply don’t date, he adds.

"在我看来,能让一个标志得以延续的基本主题就是简洁。"他说。轮廓清晰的抽象标志更容易识别,而且不容易过时。

But while this is true of the Bass triangle, which could have been coined yesterday, it clearly isn’t the only factor. Though a blunder, Consignia’s swirl was minimal enough, while the elaborate icons of veteran companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola and Levi’s are positively Victorian. What’s going on?

不过,虽然Bass的三角的确很简单,但这显然并非唯一因素。尽管未能成功,但Consignia的旋涡也足够简洁,而强生、可口可乐、李维斯等老牌企业那些精心制作的标志却都明确显露出维多利亚风格。这究竟是怎么回事?

For a start, it depends what you’re selling. Take the tech giant IBM. Though their logo is just 61 years old, in such a fast-moving industry that’s positively prehistoric; when it was launched in 1956, the personal computer hadn’t even been invented.

首先,这取决于你的销售模式。以科技巨头IBM为例。虽然他们的标志只有61年的历史,但在这样一个快速变化的行业中,绝对算得上老牌子了;当这个标志在1956年发布时,个人电脑甚至还没有发明。

This success story began in a New York showroom in the mid-1950s, where the son of the company’s president, Thomas Watson Jr., was perusing a selection of Olivetti typewriters. He was taken aback by the sleek, contemporary style in which they were presented and realised that design really matters. There and then, he vowed to drag his father’s company into the 20th Century.

这个成功故事始于20世纪50年代中期位于纽约的一间陈列室,该公司总裁的儿子小托马斯·沃森(Thomas Watson Jr.)当时正在仔细欣赏一批Olivetti打字机。这些打印机展现出的优雅的当代艺术风格令他感到惊讶,这也让他意识到,设计的确非常重要。他当时就发誓要把父亲的公司打造成一家真正属于20世纪的企业。

When Watson eventually took over, he hired help in the form of Paul Rand, a celebrated graphic designer from Brooklyn. Rand spent more than a decade tinkering with the logo, gradually transforming it from a humble stencilled “IBM”, to a bold black version, then finally the black-and-white lined form we’re familiar with today.

当沃森掌权后,他找来了保罗·兰德(Paul Rand)做帮手,这是布鲁克林的一位著名平面设计师。兰德花了10多年时间调整那个标志,最终把它从不起眼的三个字母,变成了加粗加黑的"IBM",最后又变成了我们如今熟悉的黑白线条的样子。

He was ahead of his time in the tiniest of details. For example, he noticed that white stripes appear thicker when they’re backlit, such as on signs and tv screens. To counteract this he made the them thinner than the black ones, so that they appeared of equal width no matter where you saw it.

他在细节上领先于那个时代。例如,他注意到白线条纹在背光条件下会显得更粗,例如在指示牌或电视屏幕上。为了克服这种影响,他把白色条纹画得比黑色条纹更细,这样一来,无论在什么情况下,都能实现统一的视觉宽度。

In the tech world, appearing modern is essential – no one wants to buy a laptop from a company rooted in the 1800s. They do, however, want to buy their drinks from one. “The Coca-Cola logo is arguably old-fashioned looking. But their customers are seeking some kind of authentic, real product so it works,” says Bierut.

在科技行业,显出现代感至关重要——没人想买一家来自19世纪的公司生产的笔记本。但他们却希望购买这样的公司生产的饮料。"可口可乐的标志其实很老套,但客户渴望一些正宗而真实的产品,所以它奏效了。"贝鲁特说。

In addition to the traditional, “ye olde” factor, the holy grail of any company logo is to become associated with nostalgia. “People really care about these brands – they often talk about them as though they’re people,” says Shields.

除了传统、老派的元素外,对任何一家公司的标志而言,"圣杯"就是要与怀旧联系起来。"人们确实在乎这些品牌——他们谈论这些品牌的时候往往就像在谈论人一样。"谢尔兹说。

In recent years, companies have started to catch on to this, reverting to their original logos to encourage customers to get sentimental. For example, Kodak recently returned to their classic 1970s insignia, as did Nintendo, who went back to the red version millennials remember from their childhoods.

最近几年,企业开始明白这一点,纷纷通过恢复最早的标志来调动用户的怀旧情绪。例如,柯达最近就恢复了20世纪70年代的经典标志。任天堂同样如此,他们重新采用了红色的标志,让千禧一代回忆起自己的童年。

“This only really works if there’s been some kind of time lapse – you can’t have nostalgia for something that occurred last week,” says Shields. And it comes with its own problems.

"这种方法只有在经过时间洗礼的情况下才管用——你不能用上个星期发生的事情来营造怀旧感。"谢尔兹说。不仅如此,这种方法本身也有自己的问题。

The Royal Mail’s transition to Cosignia was supposed to signal a radical shakeup of the entire business. The company’s chief executive at the time, John Roberts, had grand plans to expand overseas and wanted them to be seen as more than just a company that delivers post.

皇家邮政改名Cosignia原本是为了释放一个信号,表示该公司将对整个公司展开激进的改组。该公司首席执行官约翰·罗伯茨(John Roberts)制定了宏大的海外扩张计划,并希望改变该公司的形象,使之不再仅仅是一家邮递公司。

If they had successfully rebranded, it may have freshened their image and revitalised the company.

如果他们成功改名,就有可能获得焕然一新的形象,给公司注入活力。

But nostalgic logos can only be tweaked very subtly, with caution and care. “If you make it too different, the public feel it’s no longer their brand and they get upset,” says Shields.

但怀旧的标志只能进行微调,而且要极其谨慎。"如果你改动太大,公众就会感觉这不再是你的品牌,他们会感觉混乱。"谢尔兹说。

Finally, a large part of the longevity of any design is luck. As any designer will tell you, the factor that ultimately determines how long a logo will last is the reputation of the company.

最后,任何一个设计之所以能够长寿,很大程度上源自运气。任何一个设计师都会告诉你,决定一个标志能否长寿的最终因素是公司的声誉。

“Logos are really like empty vessels into which you pour meaning,” says Bierut. “You can make a more suitable vessel to hold it – without any holes, or a shape that’s appropriate for what it will hold, but in the end the meaning is the thing that gets applied to it over time.”

"标志其实就是一个个空置的容器,你可以自行赋予含义。"贝鲁特说,"你可以做一个更加合适的容器来盛放它——没有任何孔洞,或者一个适合装它的形状。但归根到底,其中的含义才是真正随着时光流逝沉淀下来的东西。"

Bierut gives the example of the Enron logo, which was another of Rand’s creations. It’s a perfectly functional logo and obeys all the laws of good graphic design; it’s simple and mostly blue, which is seen in the industry as a “safe” colour for all occasions.

贝鲁特以安然(Enron)公司的标志作为例子,这也是兰德的作品。那是一个完美的功能性标志,遵守所有优秀设计的法则。它很简约,而且以蓝色为主——无论在什么情况下,这都被业内视作一种"安全"的颜色。

And yet, the emblem couldn’t save the company when it was enveloped by scandal in 2001, before going bankrupt. No matter what they look like, all logos are at the mercy of the company they’re affiliated with; they die with their masters.

然而,在该公司2001年丑闻缠身时,这样一个标志却无法拯救他们的命运,安然也最终破产。无论看起来像什么,所有的标志都受制于相应的企业,它们会随着"主人"一同消亡。

At the opposite end of the scale, the insignia of a successful company may become one of the most widely reproduced symbols on the planet.

在天平的另一端,成功的企业标志可能会成为全世界重复出现次数最多的符号。

Like the Bass triangle in the 19th Century, Bierut estimates that the Mastercard logo – one of the designs his agency has created – has been reproduced billions of times: on shop windows, bank cards, tills, cash machines, apps and on the internet.

与19世纪的Bass三角标志类似,贝鲁特估计,万事达(Mastercard)的标志(这也是他公司设计的作品之一)已经通过商店橱窗、银行卡、收银机、自动柜员机、应用和互联网反复展现了数十亿次。

“I like to think that eventually someone will be digging on planet earth in the distant future and they’ll find something with that symbol on it,” he says. Now that’s longevity.

"我认为,在遥远的未来,当有人挖掘地球时,肯定会找到带有这个符号的东西。"他说。现在,它已经很长寿了。

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