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July 15, 2001 Vol. 56 No. 13 Back to Bulletin Main Page

First the Swoosh, Then the Splat-What Will Be The Next Logo Fad?

The Wall Street Journal reports that companies are spending significant resources developing logos or icons only to find that they may be similar to another company's logo.

For example, compare the logos of wireless telephone company Cingular, and Ondeo, a company that builds water treatment plants. Both use a "splat" that resembles a human being; Cingular's appearing as a paint splat and Ondeo's is a water splat.

Perhaps in homage to the famous Nike logo, Ameritech, 3dfx Interactive and Dow Jones, among others, use "swoosh"-type designs because they represent "motion and modernism," according to Gianninoto Associates, a New York design firm.

In addition, many companies use a globe as part of their logo, especially in the wireless and communication industries. According to John Digiani, President of Gianninoto Associates, companies choose variations of these graphics because they are more comfortable choosing graphics that have a measure of popularity and are not inclined to take risks.

Although uniqueness is important in a trademark, there is a desire by many companies to look like they're "part of a category." However, there is a downside to this: according to Dr. Pamela W. Henderson, Associate Professor of Marketing at Washington State University, companies often boost their competitors' market share more than their own when they have similar logos.

Source: "For Logos, Familiarity Breeds Similarity," The Wall Street Journal, May 17, 2001:


Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of items carried in the INTA Bulletin, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest.