My college professor of existential philosophy once posed the question, “What is the difference between a Rembrant portrait, and a perfect copy?” From an existential perspective, that’s an interesting question.
Imagine a Rembrant, and a copy next to it. Now imagine that the copy is a duplicate down to the most molecular minutia. Even the DNA in the brush bristles embedded in the paint is identical. A perfect clone. It’s even easier to imagine now than it was … some … years ago.
The difference is Rembrant’s process and experience of painting the original.
Value Through Process
We don’t value the canvas and greasey pigments per se. We value what drove Rembrant to create. And we may admire the execution, but we marvel at the thinking. We like a painting a wall but we relish how that image makes us feel. Rembrant chose an execution as a mere vehicle to describe an idea – and we get to experience it for ourselves and to possibly react, or connect, or sometimes to interact with what’s been created. When engaging a professional branding and logo identity process, we are asking the same kind of existential question: “what is the meaning of this company’s existence?”.
We don’t value the logo mark or typographic mark itself, we value what it stands for, promises, proposes… A professional branding process investigates what the brand is, why it’s special, what it stands for. The professional identity isn’t a choice between pretty A, pretty B, and pretty C. An effective and indelible identity represents a process that found strengths, weaknesses, built consensus, focused intentions, … revealed the truth. Once a company has faced it’s demons and focused it’s direction, the identity goes on display for the audiences to relate to, and often make their own meaning of, that brand. Said company forges forward, chest beating, goals defined, purpose stated, and creates success around the meaning in the logo. The audience buys into this meaining if other conditions are met, (delivery on the promises, smart channel communications, customer service, etc). If the company lives up to what the logo represents, the ultimate goal is achieved – a tribal, loyal, engaged customer base with a symbol that creates meaning everywhere it goes.
A Logo Identity Process Takes Courage
I’ve seen companies have the courage to take on this process and get results. Sometimes the difference between success and failure is the courage to look in the mirror and make the necessary adjustments, but sometimes it’s simpler. Rembrant always told a great story. A company sometimes just needs to discover what their story is and how to tell it to release their best inner brand.
A Logo Identity Process Is Rewarding
The logo and brand process always turn up some surprises. Getting to the heart of a brand matter is essential. Seeing the process through to a positive conclusion is not only rewarding in the marketplace, but also, (when conducted properly), rewarding for stakeholders. The exercise can foster teamwork at the top, create or identify synergies, overcome perceived obstacles – in short this is executive therapy presented in the most fun and engaging way. The process is the most rewarding thing about what I do.