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Mastercard removes name from circles logo in an act of digital ‘simplicity’

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Mastercard, the brand best known for its credit cards, has removed its name from its intersecting circles logo for the first time since its 1968 creation.

The red and yellow Mastercard symbol will now stand alone without the wordmark across all digital and physical communications, including sponsorship properties and retail locations.

The brand said in a statement that the ‘flexible, modern design’ will allow the mark better across digital media.

Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing and communication officer at Mastercard, hinted the change was on the horizon back in 2017.

Today he noted that “more than 80% of people” recognize the symbol without the brand name, according to its research.

“Reinvention in the digital age calls for modern simplicity,” he said, adding the company “felt ready to take this next step in our brand evolution”.

“We are proud of our rich brand heritage and are excited to see the iconic circles standing on their own.”

Mastercard made the announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, which officially opens tomorrow (8 January).

The move sees the brand join the likes of Nike, Apple and Lacoste, which have nurtured their logos to stand alone without wordmarks. It also follows in the footsteps of Formula 1, which reworked its logo last year for the digital age.

A visual history of the Mastercard logo

1967

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A federation of bankers launches The Interbank Card Association (ICA) in Buffalo, New York. They adopt a monochrome ‘i’ for their logo.

1968

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The ICA adopts the catchier moniker of ‘Master Charge: The Interbank Card’ and unveils the first interlocking circles in red and a dusty ochre. The ‘i’ symbol is still included in the bottom right-hand corner for purposes of continuity.

1979-1980

Mastercard

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Master Charge becomes Mastercard, and the ‘I’ symbol disappears from the logo.

1990

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The ochre circle is replaced by a brighter yellow and the sans serif wordmark is italicised. A total of 23 bars lock the circles together.

1996

mastercard

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In true 90s fashion, a drop shadow is added to the text. The interlocking bars diminish in number.

2016

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A highly simplified version of the logo is unveiled by design agency Pentagram. Like the logos of digital brands such as Airbnb and Facebook, it features flat colours and lowercase lettering, while the interlocking lines between the circles have been smoothed over.

2018

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Mastercard proves its confidence in the logo’s ubiquity by removing its name.

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Brand Positioning

Brand Refresh And New Digital Experience for Ombudsman Service

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For some, complaining isn’t easy – but Ombudsman Services has created a new industry-leading digital platform to ease the resolution process for disputes between consumers and businesses. It has also launched a new brand identity that reflects the future direction of the business and brand strategy. 

Defining the brand and what digital means for customers and clients has led the digital experience design and helped shape the overall consumer experience. 

 Working in partnership with digital agency Code Computerlove and branding design specialists Halo, the not-for-profit organisation has created a clear brand proposition and digital strategy that is guiding its digital transformation programme.

The new site – www.ombudsman-services.org – has been completely redesigned by Code Computerlove with clearer navigation and user journey. The tone of voice and content has been created to reflect Ombudsman Services’ brand proposition and identity, created by Halo, with straightforward, clear and friendly language.

As the UK’s largest independent multi-sector ombudsman, Ombudsman Services resolved more than 90,000 consumer complaints in 2017 alone. As specialists in the energy and communications sectors, the organisation works with businesses to help them improve their complaint-handling process and customer service more generally.

Jodi Hamilton, head of marketing and communications at Ombudsman Services, said: “The new digital functionality and features we have introduced follow in-depth consumer research – specifically looking at how users are behaving within digital channels and their future demands.

“But this is just the beginning. Digital interfaces provide unrivalled insights and we will be using ongoing performance measurement to continually evolve our digital effectiveness.

“Our aim is to respond to customer needs through the digitalisation of the business, aligning digital with the changing business and brand strategy.

“Improving our digital capabilities lies at the heart of our organisational strategy and the changes that we have introduced are all born out of in-depth user and insight into customer needs.

“Visitors to our site now benefit from a new design, an easy-to-navigate website and a fast, intuitive digital complaints process. The improved platform has also increased internal efficiencies and our ability to respond quickly – something that both consumers and businesses have come to expect in the digital age.

“We also have a wealth of data and we’re exploring new ideas for added value services and ways of working with our partners.

“Overall our aim is to appeal to a wider audience, increase users and make our services accessible and easy to use. We want to deliver a best in breed service to consumers as well as service providers signed up to us.”

Nick Ellis, strategy director at Halo, added: “Working with Ombudsman Services has been an inspiring journey. Developing a strategic proposition and design architecture, that’s both representative of the business today and as it evolves for the future. With all this in mind, we have produced a brand that’s digital first, designed for contemporary consumers, accessible and engaging. A brand that does the right thing.”

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Not just your standard logo: is it time to animate your branding?

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Logos and branding live the majority of their lives in the static world of paper and print. When used for digital there's not much variation or excitement, except maybe for a quirky loading page animation with an element that might jump up and down but that’s about as good as it gets. As we move into 2019 this overlooked element could be getting a better and bigger part in the branding line up.

Recently the website building company, Squarespace, upgraded its branding from a static and rounded logo to a sharp edged, elegant – and get this – constantly moving visual. The logo was created in collaboration with DIA, who are a New York based creative agency. Their aim was to see if Squarespace could be identified not only through visuals but also movement. The logo now sits on a face of a 3D cube which swipes and rotates to the other sides of the cube, these in turn show the other logo marks (abstract, word etc.) of Squarespace. Through the use of this movement the logo embodies its name and literally becomes a square moving through space.

With the use of digital design, brands are able to communicate through a visual animated movement instead of only static marks, innovating how consumers see and interact with brands. Logo designers will now be forced to add more on to the method of logo building, which usually involves hours of sitting at a desk measuring and drawing to create the perfect logo, and now think about not only how it will look but how it will move.

An animated logo can be uploaded to multiple social media platforms. Video content is widely popular on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook etc. and creating an animated logo allows users to interact and share the brand in a way they were never able to do before. People can associate brands with these animated and fun elements.

The concept of creating an animated logo is not where this needs to stop. It can be furthered into the branding itself. Companies can also create sharable animated elements such as stickers and GIF’s to promote their brand. An example of an agency using this is Moross Studios, who earlier this year released a set of personalised stickers for Instagram Stories using phrases and visuals that best represent them as a company.

This kind of interaction on social platforms between user and brand shows how animated branding elements, such as the logos, have evolved from the static printed logo to becoming an interactive digital experience. Conveying how it was once an overlooked element of the branding process but now could be the next big step in creating a memorable brand to consumer relationships.

Emma Schilperoort is a content producer at Wilderness

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Design & Branding

By centralising influencer marketing, Moët & Chandon is making blogger dollars work harder

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Moët & Chandon has spent the last two years implementing a highly selective, centralized approach to influencer marketing. The considered approach has seen it utilize its creator partners beyond the Instagram grid.

“Luxury brands have always historically been last to market with respect to things like social media – particularly, not being able to control their message,” according to Raveena Parma, assistant vice president, digital at Moët & Chandon’s influencer agency, Nike Communications.

This was once true for her champagne client to a certain extent – it had only sporadically dipped its toe into influencer marketing before the arrival of brand director Christina Ngo-Isaac in 2017.

The marketer, who joined from PepsiCo and came armed with agency-side experience, made it clear “right away” that she wanted to wipe “one-off” influencer deals out of the picture, and took the time to develop the three-tier structure with Nike that’s now started to pay dividends.

The strategy works like this: the top tier comprises just five influencers who are part of a year-long ambassador program; the middle tier is staffed with ‘amplifiers’ contracted to widen the reach of certain campaigns throughout the year; and the bottom tier is filled with micro-influencers to ensure year-round, evergreen coverage.

The selection process of the top-tier is meticulous. The likes of Rocky Barnes, Zanita Whittington, and Jenny Cipoletti were selected as ambassadors not only because of their follower count but because of their abilities outside the blogosphere.

“I love a person that looks great in photos on Instagram, but can they be used for live interviews or press opportunities?” said Ngo-Isaac. “Can they be used in a video? Can they do live segments?

“Those are really important things because there's no shortage of influencers right now.”

Earlier this week, @rockybarnes joined us at @ELLEmagazine's Women in Hollywood 25th Anniversary event to celebrate some truly inspiring female trailblazers in the film industry – what a night to remember. #MustBeMoet #ELLEWIH pic.twitter.com/VweKGffPQc

— Moët & Chandon (@MoetUSA) October 18, 2018

Parma explained the brand is even looking to recruit creatives – in the traditional sense – that also double as influencers. It collaborated with poet Cleo Wade to develop a Snapchat game for Valentine’s Day, for instance, and when sourcing suppliers for its events it looks to contract perhaps a socially-active "illustrator to do invites or a floristry influencer to do all the floral arrangements”.

“Influencers who influence for influencing's sake… are not as press worthy,” said Parma. “That doesn't mean they're not important and don't play a role in the influencer world, but people who are experts in their own world definitely make our lives a lot easier from a PR perspective.

“To garner meaningful press is to ensure you are collaborating with an influencer who's an expert in their own field.”

Ngo-Isaac has centralized the influencer ‘department’ so that every part of the brand’s marketing mix is given access to this pre-vetted talent. She regularly brings all her agencies – from PR to media – to meet around one table and receive their briefs at the same time.

This has meant Moët & Chandon’s ambassadors regularly feature in above-the-line creative and make appearances at its events and activations, much like celebrity ambassadors once did. The brand has also been experimenting with bringing influencers to some of its key events and accounts “to see if they're able to drive foot traffic or awareness”, according to the brand director.

Celebrities still factor in Moët & Chandon’s marketing, however, are more likely to design a limited-edition bottle – like Virgil Abloh recently did – than post an #ad Instagram post.

“[Celebrities] are still a part of the mix but influencers often have just as much reach and engagement,” explained Parma. “With celeb talent, it can be a little bit tricky to make sure the key message is coming across or you’re getting the right asset.

"With influencers, this is what they live and breathe – and you might get better rates too.”

Ngo-Isaac would not reveal ROI figures for the year’s influencer successes, however, confirmed the program is now a “bigger priority for the organization” than it was before she joined.

“We wanted to have proof of concept,” she said. “We're thrilled by the results so we're going to continue it next year and expand the [influencer] family.”

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