Design is an optimistic pursuit, but sometimes the ideals of designers can get in the way of things as they are as opposed to what things should be. Let’s take a look at the “Logo” as we’ve been trained to admire and as a further extension of the “brand” as we used to know it. Today banks and financial institutions aren’t doing so well—their reputations are tarnished, maybe beyond repair. The typical design response would be to suggest they just need to reposition themselves, design a new logo. That standard response would have worked in the not so distant past, but I don’t think that’s going help today which leads me to believe the logo really isn’t as meaningful as it used to be.
As crazy as it is, people vote with their clicks. While it’s a cold transaction there’s as much emotion in their decision as the snap reactions to brands in the technical sense of the word. People are reacting to what their friends, peers and content that means something to them with a simple yes/no or thumbs up/down to define what’s valuable. Of course if they really care they typically can add a comment. The standard argument is those clicks don’t mean much. It turns out that they actually do—in my Link Drop last week I posted a link about how Amazon created 2.7 billion dollars of worth via a simple yes/no question on their reviews. Google brought in web 2.0 with the cash cow of simple advertising links. The evolution of that is the vote economy where people have the power to have their collective say. While some people might laugh at that idea, that click gives more emotional tie in possibilities than any logo could provide. That vote emotion is what will drive commerce and designers better be willing to adjust to that reality because logos as we know them are dead.