January 21st, 2012
This is in a reply to a twitter comment by @jwojchi about my compliments to Landor for their recent re-branding effort for DC Comics.
Great branding firms do not create for the past, they also just keep the present in mind when designing for the future.
Change is hard to give into, especially when it intrudes an era of historic connections with die-hard fans, but there is a larger chance that Landor’s work will in fact do what it promises to deliver, which is to turn DC Comics’ objectives into a lively, current and adjustable brand platform that is weathered for changes within DC Comics that outside spectators, like myself, can not be aware of.
Branding has a large visual component to it, but that is only a part of it. It is unfortunate though that the other parts are hidden from the public, only the client and the agency know those complex pieces of information. What is left for brand advocates (‘fans’), is to form an opinion about a visual, which is a highly objective exercise. If bundled with waving good-bye to a brand mark that is dear to their hearts, in exchange for a visual that they might not immediately connect with, it is a sure formula for fan outcry. It happens all the time. Read this fun post ‘The History of the DC Comic Logo, As Seen Through 70 Years of Internet Comments’ for some mainly fictional, yet very funny DC Comics history.
Rarely are large consumer facing re-branding projects greeted with solely smiling faces by advocates, but what is most important is that over time the majority of those brands succeed, strive and show the results that the agency is being paid for to deliver. And with Landor, who myself and my peers have a lot of respect for, given their track record, there is a more-than-good chance this will be the case for the evolution of the DC comics brand.
I am not sure if this heals the pain of disappointed fans like @jwojchi, but time surely will.