Ask DN: Why can't we have brands that last?

over 7 years ago from , UX & prototyping

Honest question for all Designers:

Every time I see a startup changing their logo like Asana and Medium did I always ask to myself? "Why can't we have brands that last? "

Nike, Coca-Cola and so many other have the same brand for the past decades. We from tech have to re-brand every 1-2 years and I have the feeling this is always associated with a new funding or investors in the game.



  • Cory W.Cory W., over 7 years ago

    Because we're impatient, obsessed with optimization, and never satisfied with anything? So... culture?

    2 points
  • David Thurgood, over 7 years ago

    Many of those startup brands which have undergone change have had brands that were implemented in the early stages of their growth / creation and as businesses have moved a long way forward, so one aspect could be is that they feel it's important to reflect that growth with updated branding.

    1 point
  • Ollie BarkerOllie Barker, over 7 years ago

    I think aside from how our industry is moving faster and faster, it's just a lot harder to create a brand that really stands the test of time. I feel like the old Medium brand could have. Trends are far more popular and inviting. It's a lot easier for designers to simply follow them than break out and create something truly powerful.

    Brands like Coca-Cola were conceived decades before Illustrator was even a thing. In a time when creating a new logo would take many months. Now everybody has easy access to tools they can use. Meaning it's a lot easier to play around and push new ideas even when perhaps you shouldn't.

    I'm not sure Medium realised just how powerful and recognisable their old logo was. It would last for many years. Now they've fallen into a trend cycle that they'll have to refresh in another couple of years.

    1 point
    • , over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

      Good point Ollie! I understand today we can move faster but doesn't mean we should move faster always and for everything :)

      I love design in all forms but I feel in someway we're creating bad habits every time we change something just because we can plus all today is either solid/flat or gradient OSXish

      True the old one was powerful. I don't have know how many designers they have but I really struggle to see all of them in a room staring at the logo and saying "Oh man this looks so awesome!"

      1 point
    • Bryant HughesBryant Hughes, over 7 years ago

      True, however Coca-Cola and Nike stand in a class of their own. There are definitely brands established before the 90's that constantly update their identity to stay current and with the times.

      I agree, being able to withstand updating is great, but probably something that's a bit idealistic for most companies.

      0 points
      • Ollie BarkerOllie Barker, over 7 years ago

        That's true but Coca-Cola and Nike don't actually change their logo do they? Only the supporting brand material.

        0 points
  • Charles DeluvioCharles Deluvio, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    My first job as a designer was at an Apparel Company creating graphics for Private Label brands. My boss would hand me a pair of denim jeans and ask me to create a graphic in the back pockets. I would get some plain white Ts, and they'd ask me to illustrate something crazy, with 3-4 colours.

    Why can't we simply admire what is not there? There will always be a white t-shirt and the white tee will stand the test of time. That graphic of a wolf? Not so much.

    It's funny. We pay more for things today that are unbranded.


    As for design and startups, the turnover rate is so high that every year a new designer with fresh ideas comes in and wants to shake things up.

    They get in the CEOs head and boom, all of a sudden the company needs a fresh image.

    I know, I was one of them!

    0 points
  • Account deleted over 7 years ago

    Super interesting topic that extends far beyond brands, but also relationships, happiness, and our entire lives really.

    I was reading an article this week on the American Apparel bankruptcy stuff, and even a brand of that size can’t keep it together despite their success and longstanding brand. The market is too competitive (choice) and the leadership went off course.

    Somewhat related, it sighted how we ultimately have too many brands, too many choices, and too short of an attention span. As a culture and as brands. Thus the brand itself becomes submerged into the culture, feeling it needs to constantly change. And not small tweaks or iterations but full shifts to stand out in the crowd.

    That said, I would argue it’s less about the “test of time” and more about our culture’s speed as a whole.

    The internet, the choice, the quantity, the instant gratification. That simply didn’t exist from 1890 to 1990. That’s a long time for a brand to not be looking away worried about changing things all the time.

    0 points