Based in Melbourne, Australia, The Short side of Long is a blog by Pierre Meneaud. His posts explore social marketing, music, digital strategy, mysterious technology, food and lifestyle through photos, quotes and videos by influential artists, philosophers and visionaries of our time. 

The Future of Branding

The Future of Branding

One can’t let the change of the “vic roads” brand go by without making some comment. Old school brands are fast becoming rare beasts. One of my favourite written pieces from the team at FUP.

The incumbent brand developed in 1989 seems to be inspired by the minimal graphic sensibilities of leading Australian designers of the time – such as Brian Sadgrove’s Futura inspired typeforms and bold colours used in graphic outcomes for Rio socks and Arts Victoria.

When we contacted Sadgrove for some insights on VICROADS, he said that there seems to be no record of who designed it — “I have looked through my copy of their ‘Corporate Identity Manual’, just now and for the first time, it has no date and no evidence of who produced it… even the Chief Executive Officer’s introduction is anonymous! Sort of says it all.”

As unremarkable as the incumbent brand is nothing beats a bold uncomplicated brand when applying it to an ad, in print or on a road sign, as the brand itself stands out while complimenting a range of images and image styles.

The new brand of vicroads is by design company Oxygène, who have put in place a distinctive palette of graphic elements. As compared to a less complicated outcome, this new design is rich in graphic treatments – a new symbol and unique typeface employing a range of graphic effects.

Experience has shown that brands with a specific look can be restrictive in application over time. These restrictions become present as the brand ages, and the client seeks to expand and develop new and compelling presentations. A client in this instance makes the decision to break with the look and keep the brand, or modify the brand and update its presentation. The Telstra brand has gone through many such look and feel changes.

Graphic design developed in Australia is a rarely understood or appreciated profession and work practice. Typical of any major brand change is a raft of negative flack from the media and general public. Australians seem to have little time for the thinking and skill that goes into making a quality piece of communication work.

Following are some reactions to the vicroads brand change over. It doesn’t take long for any designer to become a little disheartened with feedback like this.VicRoads just did an organisation-wide logo change. According to them, the old logo hadn’t changed in twenty years and they needed something to demonstrate that the way they do business with the public has changed.

What???

As far as I can see, the old VicRoads logo was FINE. It’s not like VicRoads have to compete with other road authorities for our business, we’re stuck with these retards, so why do they have to appear fresh and modern? Basically they’ve just wasted my rego fee on a graphic design company, change management consultants, signwriters and printing like $50,000 worth of stationery. I’d love to see the budget for the logo change but VicRoads is staying tight lipped about it. What a complete effing waste of my effing money! It’s a government department, they will never, ever, ever be fresh and modern in any sense of the word.

How about they reduce the stupid amount they charge for getting a new heavy vehicle endorsement licence printed, or reduce the rego fee by $2 per person, instead of making us sponsor this waste of time, money and paper?

– – –

Haha seems to be the done thing in this state, it’s just like the ridiculous amount of money they spent on that Melb city logo. Not only did that logo look crappy to begin with but print it in a black and white paper and it loses it’s depth and angles.

I’d just love for them to ask me to design such things, I might come up with anything better but geez for the price they pay I’m happy to design crap.

The bread company I used to work for paid $5 mill to change the logo on the bread packaging back in 2004 because they reckoned the customers couldn’t distinguish it well enough from the rivals bread. Less than 3 years down the track they redesigned it again to make it look similar to the rival in the hope the customers would pick it up by mistake.

Now we know why Vic Roads are changing all those road rules next week, it’s not for road safety or to bring us in line with other states it’s to confuse people so they can book them and use the money to pay for their new logo. It’s probably too much to ask them to put some of their money into training their staff in customer service too.

It is amazing to witness how many unqualified people are prepared to make an assessment of design work, and are prepared to employ their knowledge and insight to cast any amount of scathing criticism – It is no wonder that many designers are paranoid when their work is released. This style of feedback is typical of the media and public commentary and it seems that Australian design has little support in the community, and often the time, skills and fees used in a project attracts close and brutal scrutiny.

 

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