How many lessons about corporate identity can we learn from one logo's history?
Of course, the logo has to have been in business for quite awhile before it can possibly have much to teach. And the facts about whatever its original purpose and concept were, when it was designed, are needed to see if it performed correctly from then until now. Since the sample shown here meets those criteria, here's what I've learned about my logo so far.
For the most part, it has only suffered minor adjustments. Just little mistakes that, at the moment, seemed more like necessities than possible errors. Mostly, their intent was to better direct attention to specific creative services during that period when everyone was transitioning to desktop design and publishing. It was a time when many graphic designers struggled to find their individual directions once more.
Except for one big slip, the important thing I did right was to keep its main identifying feature the same. For over 20 years now, the "y" has had an elevated base line. And for all that time, I've been waiting for someone to ask me why. Because, I've always wanted to be the "why guy" in this field. Someone who had answers to the "whys" about what he did for people.
Well, it hasn't happened yet. Not once has anyone asked about the logo, and seldom do clients have any "whys" to ask about their own jobs. I believe it has something to do with some perceived mystery about an endeavor called creativity, which isn't mysterious at all. When it makes sense, it works well. If its performance is poor, an honest appraisal of the effort and what's being promoted will reveal why.
One day, after things had gone great for years, I decided to become a full fledged company. The new name would be Attiliis & Associates. Before hiring a soul, the business cards, stationary and ad were done and out there. The problem was, I got new business calls from folks who gathered from the look of the ad that my company was really as big as the ad made it appear (this was my big slip up). When I later learned that providing creative services was preferrable to building a big business, I remarried my original identity vowing never to stray again.
As for the elevated "y", even if no one ever asks why, it always worked well because the design rationale is so simple. It was born out of a wish to garnish recognition value by always bleeding the name off of a space's bottom righthand corner. For years, that's the only position it occupied on all of my promotional pieces. I also liked that it showed how allowing an unusual alteration for the sake of good purpose can add a ton of memorability. It is especially ironic for this logo that the bottom of most Web pages is out of view, making a page's top the most sensible position. Am I willing to once again trade in years of identity to accommodate that unexpected development? Not anymore. Because, so far, my logo has taught me six lessons about corporate identity: I've learned the hard way that a great identity is the one that most faithfully represents who we really are. That it must be protected by a sound concept to ensure reaching a ripe old age. The older it gets the more valuable it becomes. So long as we stay committed to our logo, an audience needn't understand it right away. On average, they just need to see it a couple of dozen times each year. Even when we tire of our own logo, once conceived and remembered, it should never be overthrown in favor of a new look. Not without undeniable proof that a new look will cause more good than harm.
Creative direction, art direction and design*