What’s in a logo? Ask GAP.


After a public outcry on the social media, “GAP” withdrew its modern logo and brought back classic blue box.  Couple of days back Airtel launched its new logo and again it’s the social media, which has been critical, harsh and unkind, before we get into merits and demerits of the opinions, lets look at what goes behind designing a logo and how to judge one. Because consumer outcry is one thing industry peers is another thing.

To be fair I just want to gently remind our tweeting and status-updating judges the parameters to judge a good logo and view the design in the context of a telecom brand. Iconic logos have a simple yet magical qualities of evoking an emotional response in you for instance when you look at the golden arches of McDonalds you feel happy and hungry at the same time. Ever thought why this happens? It’s the colors, which does the trick. Yellow arches make you smile while the red McDonald’s background makes you feel hungry. It’s unbelievably true that the color red makes your blood pressure soar and also makes you feel hungry.


When you judge a logo you need to keep five simple things in mind:

Symbolism:  The symbol used should signify and communicate something about the brand’s ambition or vision in a clearly identifiable way while keeping the historic, cultural and category relevance in mind.

Style: The style should communicate the personality or functionality or special attributes of the brand like: indoor, outdoors, cleanly, orderly, open, friendly or a closet.

Typography: Type should communicate certain feel and vision of the brand. Type should tell you weather the brand is stiff or flexible, bold or fragile, feminine or masculine and so on in an instant way.

Relationship: The graphics, icons, type and color used should have a relationship with the target group and company values, goals or aspirations.

Color: Colors used should represent and relate to the business and its aspirations. Color should communicate the intended message or emotion instantly.

Now lets keep these parameters and look at some telecom logos thru my point of view (not the creator’s):


Vodafone: Uses speech mark as a symbol to communicate about the brands ambition. Needless to say how simple it is for the people to comprehend and connect with the brand and the category. Styling of the graphics is near perfect to represent the preciseness with its orderly alignments and placements. Typography is bold, confidant yet very friendly with its lowercase usage. Red is the color of passion and action provides energy and excitement to the brand. Overall all the elements are used to perfection and a classic example of art and science of design coming together. Logo designed by Brand Union.

Uninor: Inspired by nature and its role in innovation in Scandinavian culture this propeller like symbol was designed to communicate the delicate balance of movement and change. Uses a very purposeful tranquility feeling by delicately designing the symbol and the typography. Very delicate thin san serif font used to enhance Scandinavian design esthetics. White, blue and black are used in the identity to enhance the “Inspired by nature” feel.

Docomo: Uses its name that means “every where “in Japanese (DOKOMO) this logo designed for the Indian market to communicate “Do the new” hence fun typo design keeping in line with the brand promise. Styled to perfection to connect with youth and VAS users. Graphics are designed for flexibility to be used freely. Colors are young and vibrant bring in fun and energy. This logo keeps the evolution of the consumers in mind to bring in flexibility for co-creation by the consumers. Designed by Wolff Olins of London.

Airtel: Uses alphabet “A” in lowercase in a very causal yet dynamic way, spiraling “a” almost gives you a feeling of a tornado, generating lots of kinetic energy. Styled in a vibrant youthful way to communicate to the changing Indian consumers. Typography is youthful and inviting by using lowercase and reiterating its values of friendly approachable service. Color red used for depicting energy and passion of the brand. Designed by Brand Union again.

Designing or judging logos is a very difficult task especially for telecom, which deals with more interfaces and touch points than an airline. Redesigning and implementing a new identity is a mammoth task, takes months to reach every circle leave alone the streets.  While the new Airtel logo may just have fallen short of critic’s expectations, it may well create enough excitement in the market, who cares for critics who are interested in what could have been done and in the missed opportunity? When people embrace the change with open arms.

Hope we can fill in the “GAPs”

13 thoughts on “What’s in a logo? Ask GAP.

  1. For Brand Union

    How can They Design Similar identity for two market leaders

    Airtel is so close to Vodafones identity

    what do you think ??

    1. Franky speaking color Red is the only similarity, Vodafone practically owns red in India in telecom context. Coke is Red and so are 100’s of other brands. Its just seems Airtel is trying to catch up in image terms with Vodafone.

  2. Logo designing is not mere work! It’s an adventure of creativity, passion and energy together and the sense of achievement comes when you look, relook, re-relook and suddenly that from nowhere a ‘Wow’ comes in between and you know you’ve hit the right chords! Well, that’s what logo designing is for me. I just love playing with words, shapes and colors.

    Through your post, I got some good knowledge enrichment about the big names up there. I didn’t know that both Vaodafone and Airtel’s logos have been designed by the same agency. Well, now that I know I can relate and think that perhaps the guys at Brand Union tried very hard to come up with something different (keeping competitor Vodafone in mind) but ultimately gave in to their inner ‘Wow’ call for red, lower case white fonts and created a refreshing logo on somewhat a similar kind. But those guys would have 100 points to justify that both logos are absolutely different, hehe. That’s what logo designing is about, it’s so much fun! 🙂

    Enjoyed the reading, thanks for sharing KVS!

  3. I agree with your viewpoints on the design, thought and logic behind the logo. But I hold a slightly different view in terms of the judging the logo by common people. When you create a logo or a brand image and are identified with it, people get emotionally attached (as you also said about McD). Then when there’s a change, won’t they feel violated? I think it’s more to do with the communication around the logo and brand change than the change in itself.

    If a company runs a campaign on the lines of ‘We’re changing’ for sometime before actually changing the logo, the harsh reactions might be lesser.

    Coming to the Airtel logo, frankly I didn’t figure out that the logo stood for ‘a’ until you explained 😦 And none of the people I spoke to so far did that. Airtel is now reaching out to people and asking for a ‘name’ for their logo. Would it have helped if they did that during the design of logo? Ask people’s opinions/contributions? Like the rupee symbol?

  4. Amazing article Sir…. Indeed a logo speaks a lot about the brand… Airtel’s new logo has been criticised a lot on social media platforms. We at welingkar are conducting a small research to know what ppl feel abt the new logo… The respondents are ppl who have no MBA or Marketing background…

  5. Very informative and enlightening article. I must say, its made me sit up and take a closer look at a perspective I had overlooked.Thanks Kv for the insights, shared like a true creative professional.

    But I would like to take the liberty to add, when a Logo is created, there is a lot of creative conceptualization that builds the design . When the common man, each of whom can be a potential customer tomorrow, reacts, he/she reacts from the GUT. Instinctive reaction! And its invaluable. As you shared, Airtel is now asking people to share their thoughts….they do matter, as uninformed as they may be.

    The similarity of the new Airtel Logo to Vodaphone Logo, is not likely to be perceived positively. Its a “Me too” approach, not inline with the leadership image of Airtel on the indian telecom scene.

    Finally, its also significant that the instinctive first reaction to a change , often mellows and changes when the Logo is repeatedly seen. Its grown on me, and I quote like the passionate futuristic feel it exudes. I am sure, its catching on fast…

    Thanks again for your learned insights.

    1. Intuitive feeling is what makes a decision great. Otherwise by derivative everything researched should look the same because people will ask what they already know and are familier with.

  6. I have been planning to re-design my company;s logo..and was little confused on the public aspect, have hired some professionals..but their design didn’t give me a ‘wow’ feeling…

    Thanks …Now i know what i want 🙂

  7. thnx sir…the informations is very useful…i always ended up in confusion while designing logo..hope to get more and more tips from you….:)) somdatta

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