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A More United United Way
The sun-like rainbow growing out of the hand… is a positive symbol. It helps signal a new United Way… vibrant, exciting, colorful, positive and changing.

Saul Bass
Creator of United Way symbol
1972 United Way Leaders Conference

It’s been more than 30 years since Saul Bass created the identity for United Way, whose mission — as currently stated on their web site — is to “improve people’s lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities”. Until now they have mostly focused on fundraising through each of their 1,400 community-based independent organizations. Today, as United Way shifts their focus to being a community impact leader and their accruing to focus on results rather than solely money, the time for an identity change is ripe.

Saul Bass’ logo was designed to “Convey United Way as a contemporary organization, sensitive to the changing needs of our society”. Its three elements — the Rainbow, the Person and the Helping Hand — are at the core of United Way’s mission. The Rainbow is “A blending of human diversity, creates harmony and unity of purpose. [It] springs from the helping hand, representing the hope of a better life possible through United Way”. Then, the Person, “The symbol of mankind, is cradled by the helping hand. It shows that all people are uplifted by United Way”. And lastly, the Helping Hand, that “Symbolizes the services and program supported by United Way.”

With 1,400 independently-run organizations the intangible core values are not as hard to maintain. Nevertheless a consistent use of the logo (which obviously represents said core values) is much harder to control.

Futurebrand assisted United Way in the development of their new identity. Keeping the original elements of the well-established and recognized mark, the new logo is simply — simply meaning good — a bolder, cleaner, more integrated iteration of Bass’ work. Whose red-to-yellow gradient is a highly questionable decision given reproduction issues and if done today would have sent most designers into a fit of incomprehension.

The new logo is encompassed in a rectangle to discourage use of the icon by itself, which was indeed recognizable but with many non-profits using a rainbow or hands in their own identities United Way was simply just one more. The new custom wordmark is perhaps the biggest change, with more friendly and voluptuous shapes. Although the chunky semi-slab-serifs are a bit overdone. The Rainbow has been trimmed down to three rings rather than four and the hand has been humanized with less-angular forms than Bass’. Overall, the new identity is stronger, more iconic and better integrated.

“The sun-like rainbow growing out of the hand… is a positive symbol. It helps signal a new United Way… vibrant, exciting, colorful, positive and changing.”

Thirty years, and a redesign, later Bass’ vision and ideal — which are the attributes that ultimately drive a smart identity — are still standing. And for that, I’m grateful.

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ENTRY DETAILS
ARCHIVE ID 1956 FILED UNDER Branding and Identity
PUBLISHED ON May.20.2004 BY Armin
WITH COMMENTS
Comments
DesignMaven’s comment is:

Armin and David:

Saul Bass redesigns are essentially very difficult. Because the imagery is so powerful. The United Way Identity was actually worked on by SAUL BASS, Art Goodman, and Mamoru Shimokochi

http://www.shimokochi-reeves.com/ms_frames.html

Siegel & Gale revitalized the Identity for Girl Scouts and changed the Font.

Pentagram revitalized the Livery for United Airlines and abstracted the Identity on the tail fin.

Great job by both of these Identity Consutancies.

David, I actually love the revitalization of United Way. Although, I have allegiance to the Original Identity. Always will. FutureBrand did keep the spirit and integrity of the Original Bass Mark.

This one will grow on me. The lines are not as angular as the Original. Result of T Square, Triangle and Ellispe.

Thus, a different style of Designing Identities today.

David, GOD BLESS you for not using highlights and three dimensional trickery. The new Identity Signals Change!!!!!!!!!

The original was 34 years old. The Original United Way Identity was my favorite Bass Identity in use.

Can you believe that. The same age as Tan. And older than Armin Vit.

Kudos to FutureBrand for not completely changing the Identity. Which FutureBrand easily could have done.

Oval Identities are on the comeback with this one.

Kudos and Accolades.

Sorry, you aren't Design PEDIGREE Felix!!!!!!!!!!!

Reminder, I am the HEIR to my Father's THRONE !!!!!!!!!!!!!

On May.20.2004 at 09:47 AM
Cameron Moll’s comment is:

Typeface: C- (a mod of Officina Sans?)

Mark: A- (love the fact that it's now a complete circle)

On May.20.2004 at 09:54 AM
Cory R’s comment is:

Typeface: D+ (It could be stronger, maybe a serif would suit them better. I think the face is too kid-friendly/comic sans'ish ... if there is such a thing).

Mark: A (most definitely an improvement, with a smoother hand, better colors, and no gradient to worry about!)

Great write-up, thanks Armin.

On May.20.2004 at 10:05 AM
graham’s comment is:

never heard of united way (sounds vaguely sinister in a parallax corp. sense) before this moment. i thought the pics in armins article was the new logo-really brilliant , clean skills, slightly retro type but alive, fresh-can i have a t-shirt please. then i realised and saw the new mr. stubby fingers new one.

saul bass was brilliant wasn't he?

On May.20.2004 at 10:23 AM
Feluxe Socksmell’s comment is:

On May.20.2004 at 10:25 AM
Patrick’s comment is:

Mark: In general, I like it, though I was never fond of the execution of the original. The figure was too small/weak, and it always bothered me how the rainbow lines didn't quite line up with the fingers. Both of these have been addressed in the new one. The balance of elements is much better, but the fingers still don't quite do it for me. The beauty of the mark to me was the idea of the rainbow shooting out of the fingertips which didn't quite read, and still isn't quite there - I agree with Felix's idea. I might've tried keeping the fourth rainbow line, lined up with the little finger, but run it behind the figure (just up to the arms). Maybe, could be busy.

Type: Not bad, I like the rounded elements. Overall seems a touch too heavy/chunky to me and overpowers the mark a bit.

David - How is it to be used in 1-color? Still all in one big box?

I don't like how it's used on the website in a box. The white rule is totally distracting. I understand wanting a version that's a unit to discourage dismemberment, but there can be a couple different variations for dark/light backgrounds, etc.

On May.20.2004 at 11:14 AM
JonSel’s comment is:

Felix put his finger on it, craftwise. At smaller sizes, the fingers just disappear on the new logo.

Overall, for an update, not bad. The figure has more prominence. The colors are sorted out better and the type has improved somewhat. I was never a huge fan of the original mark — while the symbolism is great, the drawing didn't age well — but this should be relatively easy for a completely de-centralized organization to handle. It's not a "great" piece of design, in my opinion, but it should do the job.

David, how do the different local organizations use the mark? Is there a "United Way of New York" lockup, for example? Or is HQ going to enforce a stronger core brand?

On May.20.2004 at 11:27 AM
g’s comment is:

Mark: the figure looks so much like a Y letterform, and now that the figure is in a separate colour as well, I keep thinking that the Y form is signifying something - like YMCA or a Youth group of some sort. Does anyone else see this? Wonder if the arms could be shorter to reduce that effect.

But love that the mark is enclosed in a circle now.

Yes that white rule is distracting - like that one pixel border people used to love putting on their web images.

On May.20.2004 at 11:32 AM
tim’s comment is:

Just one comment on the type - as noted before, it looks like Officina Sans. Could it be a subtle way of guiding all those Office Administrators (who end up whacking out the local branches' flyers in Word) toward a better - or, at least different - font choice?

On May.20.2004 at 11:42 AM
Rick Valicenti’s comment is:

i have never commented on any discussion, but the ridiculous decision to spend good money on the implementation of a bad redesign saddens me. Whatever the Futurebranders were (over) paid should have been allocated so United Way employ a strong-armed enforcer(s) who would serve as enlightened sentry to Saul's spirited work.

Just imagine an owner of a Frank Lloyd Wright home

deciding to update it with dryvit, aluminum siding, and pergo flooring all because it's easier to maintain and affordable to implement. When will we insist that our canonized graphic design like landmark architecture be conservered rather than discarded.

Saul Bass dumbed down by a cowardly coporate committee and a hack professional design counsel claiming to have a vision…i am too jaded today, indeed! rv

On May.20.2004 at 12:06 PM
Kevin Lo’s comment is:

I dunno, I'm definitely no expert, but I'm quite saddened by this update. I really don't think the type works (not that it really did before) and to me the "simpler, cleaner, bolder, more geometric, stubby fingered" mark seems to have lost a lot of the humanity of the original.

The change of proportions really brings the "man" to the forefront, and it definitely reads as a "Y" now. And the hand just seems so amorphous now, more like a body of water, cut off from the wrist.

What I LOVE about Saul Bass's original mark is the way all the elements work together so beautifully, the rainbow comes from the hand and reaches around to almost touch the fingers... that's where the magic comes together for me, in those dynamic, soft, rounded whitespaces. pure genius.

The new mark has lost all that. It has kept the elements, but broken them apart, then stuck them back together again, in a rather crude way IMHO. There is no longer a relationship between the elements, the "rainbow" has abrupt endings, and since it is more than a half-circle (which a rainbow never is, I mean c'mon!), seems more like something radiating, the man's body seems as wide as his arms (again, c'mon!), and the hand is drawn in a completely different style than the other elements. So it fits in a circle - why is that a good thing??

Ok, I'll admit.. it is not as bad as it could have been. but that doesn't make it good.

On May.20.2004 at 12:19 PM
Dom’s comment is:

I agree with Felix, the fingers seem like they would get lost at a smaller size, and I like the lines to reach the thumb. But the thumb still seems a bit off to me for some reason. The type is growing on me. At first it looked kind of horsey but it's growing on me now. Does anyone else think the type competes with the mark? I'm a fairly young designer and I know I have a ton to learn, but I love this site, that I can both learn and contribute what I know (think I know) and learn from that too, so feel free to educate a brother if need be.

On May.20.2004 at 12:22 PM
Kevin Lo’s comment is:

ugh, you hit the nail on the head and into the coffin Rick. I'll admit it, I hate it!!!

On May.20.2004 at 12:29 PM
David Weinberger’s comment is:

"a bolder, cleaner, more integrated iteration of Bass’ work."

I agree and good work on the topic.

"Overall, the new identity is stronger, more iconic and better integrated."

"David, I actually love the revitalization of United Way."

"Mark: A (most definitely an improvement, with a smoother hand, better colors, and no gradient to worry about!)"

Thanks

"David, GOD BLESS you for not using highlights and three dimensional trickery."

Yep, can you believe we got rid of a gradation instead of adding one?

"Should Coulda Woulda"

"Felix put his finger on it, craftwise. At smaller sizes, the fingers just disappear on the new logo."

Absolutely valid and something we looked at. Hands are tough and I drew plenty of them. In the end, we decided that simpler was better and also a departure from the old drawing was better. This brandmark can actually be reproduced very small which is necessary for all of the gifts and supplies they use. What happens at really small sizes is the fingers close in anyway so we took out the lines so at least it would look the same large and small. The lines between the rings were thickened up to prevent this from happening to the rainbow. Felix, your Woulda version looks fine but if it was larger, we could see that the white lines between the fingers are thinner than the lines between the rings and at larger sizes, that just looks weird. In the end , it is still a hand and I am happy with the drawing.

"Overall seems a touch too heavy/chunky to me and overpowers the mark a bit."

One of the goals was definitely to make the type larger in relation to the mark. When you see a United Way/NFL commercial, the Letters NFL are nice and big next to a symbol with a barely legible and tiny United Way under it. There is also some confusion in the not-for-profit sector. With other logos like this one and this one , the name United Way is really the most ownable part and a brand that people know.

"How is it to be used in 1-color? Still all in one big box?"

Yep, still in a box. All shades of Blue or Black. There are also special usage marks for things like mugs and pens where screens of inks aren't possible.

"I don't like how it's used on the website in a box."

Right now, the new logo has just been added to their existing site and will be better integrated in the future. The white line is actually part of the artwork. I have seen it much nicer in some internal sites.

"David, how do the different local organizations use the mark? Is there a "United Way of New York" lockup, for example? Or is HQ going to enforce a stronger core brand?"

Both. Localization is one of the most important parts of United Way. When you give money or volunteer, it all goes to your community. The locals need to own this too. However, they understand that building up the masterbrand will only help them in the long run. So, there are lockups with United Way of So-and-So and the mark but it is not a read through. There are actually a few ways to show localization, but they all have the masterbrand mark and a separate United Way of So-and-So.

"as noted before, it looks like Officina Sans."

Definitely similarities and we did reference a few typefaces while crafting this. Lets call it Weinberger Bold.

"When will we insist that our canonized graphic design like landmark architecture be conservered rather than discarded."

This is what companies do, Rick. GE, Apple, Shell, UPS, Prudential, Chase, 3M, Westinghouse. Brands evolve and their brand identities evolve as well. It is interesting to consider "Design History" vs. "What is Right for the Client". However, historically important logos weren't created to be historically important. They were created to answer a specific problem or business/brand objective. It would be a disservice to a client not to have the same objectives and process.

"Saul Bass dumbed down by a cowardly coporate committee and a hack professional design counsel claiming to have a vision…i am too jaded today, indeed! rv"

There is actually nothing cowardly about the leadership of United Way. They are passionate and hard-working and making a difference in this world.

"hack professional design counsel claiming to have a vision"

This design is one that has design integrity and expertise. I stated this in the UPS discussion and will quote myself. "I am proud of the work we do here at FutureBrand. Our designers are as talented as the designers on SpeakUp with design backgrounds just as diverse." Is it the rainbow gradation that you miss, Rick? If you like, I can send you a rainbow version. Lets have a coffee next week. Send me an email.

On May.20.2004 at 12:49 PM
Tan’s comment is:

To me, it's not the old rainbow I miss — it's the hand.

The old UW hand was one of the most perfect iconic hands ever created. Its form is symbolic, not gestural. The open hand is prevalent in religious statues and iconography throughout the world (most prevalent in Buddhism) — and Bass's version was a brilliant mix of that universality and modern graphic execution.

There was no need to segment the thumb, simplify the fingers, or round the geometry of shapes.

The scale of the hand has also been reduced, which to me, de-emphasized the message of "giving" and "generosity". It's no longer the primary message. How is this better?

The type and box is just unnecessary. The logo is already framed. Why encase it in yet another frame? It seems to be a convention just to accommodate the type, rather than trying to design type that was more integral.

This is just more proof that we hold nothing sacred as a profession.

On May.20.2004 at 01:57 PM
Kevin Lo’s comment is:

Tan, you're absolutely right.

What I find interesting is that now that the hand is centered and cut off from the arm, it speaks more to receving than giving. does anyone else see that? It has taken the active direction away from the mark and enclosed it within itself, static, and unmoving.

David, I'm sorry I said I hated it. Maybe that was too strong, it was an emotional reaction. I've recently had an identity I designed taken over by another designer and its been bothering me.

You've addressed the positive comments and Rick's criticisms. I was wondering if you could address mine. I'm not trying to be antagonistic, but as a young(ish) designer, I'm curious as to why certain decisions were made that just seem so wrong to me.

On May.20.2004 at 02:16 PM
David Weinberger’s comment is:

"the scale of the hand has also been reduced, which to me, de-emphasized the message of "giving" and "generosity". It's no longer the primary message. How is this better?"

As Armin mentioned in the opening, United Way has changed their focus from fundraising to community impact. Subtle, but instead of just measuring money, they are concentrating on actual measurable results. The helping hand was also a symbol of a hand asking for money. The scale of the hand was reduced in order to increase focus on the people that United Way helps. The person was by far the smallest element in the old symbol and now has more importance.

"This is just more proof that we hold nothing sacred as a profession."

Tan, we all hold things sacred but everything changes. Life changes.

On May.20.2004 at 02:19 PM
Michael Surtees’s comment is:

It's a nice transition/evolution of the logo - it brings it up to date. The typography seems like a very separate element, however I can understand some of the practical reasons for the choice. I'm not a big fan of logos that have people with their hands straight up (though Im probably just as guilty as the next designer trying it once in awhile). It would have been interesting to scrap the Y altogether and replace it with a U - or maybe it's just me.

On May.20.2004 at 02:42 PM
marian’s comment is:

I'm going to be a complete heretic and say that I never cared for this Saul Bass logo to begin with ... but that is immaterial. I have to say that despite that I have a certain affinity for Rick's sentiments, although not exactly sentimentally expressed (Rick, welcome, WOW -- feeling frustrated? --xo!).

Somewhere back in the mists of this blog, I too advocated semi-jokingly, but not-really-jokingly for the preservation--the heritage status, if you will--of certain graphic marks. Being Canadian, I kindof got the impression that this thought is counter to the American Spirit of Free Democratic Commerce. Whatever -- it wasn't too popular.

But I do wonder, what's in a symbol? When a mark such as this has been used for decades and is so widely recognized (restricted to North America, it would appear), what exactly is gained by changing it? Will the public's perception of the company be changed by the larger figure and the softer hand? Will we consciously or unconsciously "get it" that the United Way has changed their focus from fundraising to community impact--or will those things only really be achieved by action? If the United Way changed nothing, what would this change in their logo mean?

I just honestly don't see a great deal of difference in intended meaning, or a great need for a difference. But then, it's not my organization.

On May.20.2004 at 03:06 PM
Feluxe Socksmell’s comment is:

Absolutely valid ... Hands are tough.... In the end, we decided that simpler was better... This brandmark can actually be reproduced very small ...Felix, your Woulda version looks fine but if it was larger,...it'd look weird.

Yours is simpler? Fingers are weird?

Lets be honest...

"If the Glove doesnt fit, we needn't Acquit!"

On May.20.2004 at 03:17 PM
Tan’s comment is:

>The scale of the hand was reduced in order to increase focus on the people that United Way helps. The person was by far the smallest element in the old symbol and now has more importance.

I'll buy your justification for the increased size of the figure, David.

But in the old logo, the hand also represents the idea of a collective community and the power it wields to change things. That's what's so great about the iconic hand — that it also symbolizes separate things acting as one, in this case, cupped in support of an individual. Many coming together to help one.

So no, I still contend that the old (large) scale of the hand is as relevant to the current emphasis on "community impact" as it was to "giving".

>but everything changes

Sure, sure. I realize this is a done deal. Finito. Time to move on. But something of cultural, iconic significance has been lost — and nothing of the same value has been added in its place.

It's just another nonprofit logo now, IMO. Not the end of the world, though.

On May.20.2004 at 03:18 PM
Feluxe Socksmell’s comment is:

David,

speaking simply of the form, youre incorrect. The elements combined in your execution are are a ham-handedly matched popourie of computer crispness and smooth-cornering.

I agree with Tan. The Type and box feel wrong and unneccessary.

Overall Grade: C+

No, youre not going to Hollywood

On May.20.2004 at 03:27 PM
Andrew Waters’s comment is:

I am not one of the jaded young designers out there that has to find fault with everything under the sun, and therefore redesign it. I understand that things need to change, and there is a reason and a demand for this to happen. I also understand that if someone that has much more clout than I do, has issue with what I have done, no matter how much time, energy and pain has gone into the work, there’s probably some merit there.

While re-designing anything that has been round for 20 years is a daunting task, doing it for an icon that Saul Bass created is even more amazing and difficult.

Rick’s comment at the top of this page should have been the last comment. Done. He’s right, David, no matter how much you want to posture to save some face, you are sorely wrong. Defend it to back up the paycheck and the work that was done, but anytime you get someone with that much clout and knowledge saying you did it wrong, you probably did. Its heavy handed, its disposable, and it’s a terrible bastardization of the original.

If you aren’t varying that far from the original in concept and execution (save for the SOUR type selection — nice attempt on digging yourself out of that mistake by saying you went through a billion type choices, apparently there were some that you missed)

you probably shouldn’t have done it in the first place. But hey, you’re right, things need to change, in this case, its for the worst. Its too bad the United Way doesn’t have some neat ubiquitous trucks that would display that mistake, just like our friends that ship packages. That would be great.

On May.20.2004 at 03:37 PM
marian’s comment is:

but anytime you get someone with that much clout and knowledge saying you did it wrong, you probably did

OK, I gotta disagree with this. No-one ... not Rick Valicenti, Michael Beirut, Massimo Vignelli, Bruce Mau is so godly (whatever we may think of them) that they can come in to any discussion and make a pronouncement that is the be-all and end-all of said discussion. And I'm pretty sure that Rick would agree with me.

RV has an opinion ... on this logo, on the state of graphic design, on whatever. But I actually don't believe that his, er, clout, makes his opinion any more valid than anyone else's.

On May.20.2004 at 03:49 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Like Marian, I don't think the old Bass' logo is that great. At least not in its execution. The idea and reasoning behind it is what made (and makes) the mark strong and relevant. I did like how the rainbow stemmed from the hand, but that is what forced the gradient effect because hands aren't red and rainbows aren't blue.

I like that the little dude is bigger now. It was way too small proportionally and looked crammed. The "Y" complaint… well, yeah, it is a "Y" with a dot, but it's obvious that it represents a person. I don't even think that is an issue, anything more descriptive will make the logo busier.

The type of the original logo was too outdated even if retro is constantly making a comeback. I don't really like the new one but at least it's more contemporary.

What I really have a problem with is the encompassing rectangle. It is unnecessary and it's an easy solution for how do we make the logo look more integrated?. That is my only major complaint though.

Overall: B+

On May.20.2004 at 03:50 PM
Armin’s comment is:

> He’s right, David, no matter how much you want to posture to save some face, you are sorely wrong.

Andrew, I have to second Marian's comment. Rick's opinion is only his, his usually passionate commentary is contagious — don't let that distract you from hearing others' opinions.

David is not saving face, as you say, and that is not a nice to thing to say. Regardless of whether we like the logo or not, designers at Futurebrand, including David, work really hard on these type of projects and their decisions are constantly informed by in-depth research and analysis. That the result might be graphically unsastisfying to some is not an excuse to be insulting.

For almost a year David has been fending off commentaries like these with informed and well-grounded responses. I, at least, have learned a lot from his "posturing". So I suggest you take his contributions less jaded.

On May.20.2004 at 03:58 PM
marian’s comment is:

David has been fending off commentaries like these with informed and well-grounded responses. I, at least, have learned a lot from his "posturing".

Yeah, me too. I think David's a pretty brave soul as he has behaved in an unerringly professional manner against not only intelligent colleagues, but what is, quite often, a pack of hungry wolves.

On May.20.2004 at 04:07 PM
Andrew Waters’s comment is:

Sure I would imagine that there were hours spent on re-designing that logo. I will agree on that. What I don’t agree on is that needed to be updated. It didn’t.

My point with Mr. Valicenti was that his points were far more clear and concise than David’s responses.

On May.20.2004 at 04:11 PM
marian’s comment is:

Mr. Valicenti was that his points were far more clear and concise than David’s responses

This is an utterly bizarre statement.

---

There is as subthread about removed comments. I saw only one of them, but I presume they were removed not because of who they criticized but because they were senselessly vitriolic and not relevant to this--or any other--topic. I can assure you Andrew that your comments, criticism and opinions are well within the considerations of Speak Up, and are, in fact welcome.

On May.20.2004 at 04:18 PM
Miss Tiffany’s comment is:

Saul Bass was a great designer. He created/designed/communicated many wonderful things. But I wonder if he ever looked at this when he was finished and said something like "agh, I wish I wouldn't have showed them that typeface, and why in the hell didn't I solve the location of the little guy better?" I'm not saying he did, I'm just wondering if he had moments like the rest of us?

---

Life would be boring and stale if we were all the same. Difference is good. Change is better. As the United Way obviously wanted to make a new statement about this new direction and focus, wouldn't it be worse if they hadn't changed the logo?

---

I don't like the new typeface choice, even if it is custom. It seems too simple, not simple clean, simple boring.

---

The new hand does have readability problems, but I read it as a support. Making the little guy bigger, well now I read that as he is having success and the hand is only there to catch him should he need it again.

---

My only concern is ... and I don't want to know how much they paid for the new look ... is that the money they spent will, well, not have been better spent in actually doing something for the people. That this will help them fulfill their new goals.

On May.20.2004 at 04:21 PM
Miss Tiffany’s comment is:

I forgot to mention .... Armin has created a great little world here for designers. I think those who would close their minds and not wish to be educated don't deserve what is offered. For pete's sake how many friggin' forums actually get the designers responding?! This is a real live education, don't forget that. Education is not about instantly saying 'no' to something. Critiques as well!!

On May.20.2004 at 04:26 PM
Andrew Waters’s comment is:

Let me recant a bit here. I flew off the handle not because of what David had done. That’s not my issue. What I have a very hard time with is design for the sake of design. Revising things because someone thought that they needed to change, not because an actual event, process or transformation has occurred, forcing the change. The UPS logo is a brilliant example of this. The money that was used to do this could have been put to a better use.

On May.20.2004 at 04:32 PM
Feluxe Socksmell’s comment is:

Where did David (the defense) go?

We rest our case your honor.

Next logo.

On May.20.2004 at 04:40 PM
Michael Surtees’s comment is:

is that the money they spent will, well, not have been better spent in actually doing something for the people.

That's a good question, a while back it was brought to the attention of the GDC listserv that a newspaper columnist in BC brought up the same thoughts though much harsher. Some of the designers on the list responded with intelligent answers to the newspaper. Unfortunately those responses are not archived on the GDC site at the moment so I can't refer back to them. Maybe someone more familiar those responses could post. In any case, streamlining the process by professional designers saves more money in the long run. Less time is taken to design items and people responded better to clear communication, either with their wallets or volunteer time.

On May.20.2004 at 04:49 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

What happened to timeless marks? The old logo clearly had an certain era's 'aura' around it, but the 'datedness' of it was almost to the point of being 'classic' more so then being simply out of date. (excuse my overuse of quotes there...)

Had they redesigned this a decade ago, then perhaps it would have made a bit more sense, but it seems that they kept the old logo long enough so that it was fairly well ingrained in our collective minds and had gotten over any specific era's trendiness (the gradient, aside, of course).

The new mark really isn't better/worse. It's just different. I guess change for the sake of change isn't necessarily bad (I have to move my couch every few months myself) but I guess I just don't get this one.

The day IBM decides it needs an update, I'm out of here...

;o)

For the record, I can't imagine a more difficult project than this one. Taking a powerful, established logo and trying to make somethine new but retaining all of the older logo's value must have been a challenge.

On May.20.2004 at 04:51 PM
David Weinberger’s comment is:

I have to leave for the day and am out of the office tomorrow. I will try to respond to questions and provide other insights as soon as I can.

On May.20.2004 at 04:56 PM
Eric Heiman’s comment is:

Futurebrand just got a C in my logo class. The logo update is competent at best. That type treatment is going to look dated in 2 years and is unbelievably clunky. Hell, it already looks dated. I shiver to think what UW paid for it, too.

Proponents of these giant brand conglomerates like Futurebrand can brag all they want about revenues, but let's face it, if the new UPS and UW logos are any indication, these places are driving us down the road of design mediocrity. Collaboration to a fault, I'd say.

On May.20.2004 at 05:08 PM
JonSel’s comment is:

the money they spent will, well, not have been better spent in actually doing something for the people.

I have to take issue with this comment, because I've seen it several times on this site and others, and I feel it is misguided. It does seem like it should be obvious: the $150,000 (or $1 million...whatever) spent on a logo would be much more valuable if spent directly on their primary business. An identity, though, has a somewhat immeasurable value that lends great strength to an organization enabling them to better serve their core purpose. Take United Way, for a relevant example. One reason for this logo update is to signal a revision to their core mission. They also need to keep their image up to date and relevant. What this does is continue to reinforce to all audiences that they are an active and vital organization. This perception could, perhaps, lead to an increase in donations as well as development of new charitable partnerships. So while it may seem like a short-term waste of money, in the long term, organizations — charitable or not — can reap greater benefits through an identity update.

On May.20.2004 at 05:16 PM
Tan’s comment is:

>Proponents of these giant brand conglomerates

Hey now, on behalf of another giant brand conglomerate cross-town, please don't group us all with Futurebrand. Some of us actually have souls.

Just kidding Weinberger.

>I think David's a pretty brave soul

Having said that, yes, I agree w/ Marian. David's been damn professional and standup in his presentation and support for his work. I may disagree w/ the outcome, but I certainly appreciate and envy the challenge that he (they) faced.

Let's just crit the work — not the person (David), the firm, Armin, or any other irrelevant bullshit.

On May.20.2004 at 05:27 PM
mazzei’s comment is:

This is not a Bass logo anymore. Any soul that the original mark had is gone. The type addition is pretty bad it doesn’t look modern at all, it actually looks more dated than the original type Bass did. The rendering of the hand and the rainbow just don’t have the impact that the original had. I don’t get the rainbow reference at all anymore which was what I loved about the original logo. Too bad.

On May.20.2004 at 05:28 PM
Feluxe Socksmell’s comment is:

well said jonsel.

damn. you mustve spent time at Landor or sumpn. what gets me is that UW seeks Brandologists like FutureBlather, Blubber, Babble and Branders. Why?

When did clients stop believeing in design and succumb to Account Executives in Focus Groups who drone on endlessly with words like Brandmark. I just cant get over the hoopla factor. It has to end somewhere. It dimishes the validity our profession in the long run.

On May.20.2004 at 05:35 PM
Tan’s comment is:

>When did clients stop believeing in design and succumb to Account Executives in Focus Groups who drone on endlessly with words like Brandmark.

because...just look at their board of trustees and governing board, Felix.

It's made up of the who's who of corporate America. These people run companies that live by focus groups.

And to add to Jonsel's points. Please note that UW is not some small-fry nonprofit. They're the largest nonprofit/workplace foundation in the US, accruing almost $4 billion in revenue/donations last year. That's Fortune 100 numbers. A brand initiative like this one is just another operational cost to them. To give you perspective, it's probably what they spend in office supplies per month across their thousand national offices.

I wonder how much their CEO, Bill Gallagher makes? Seven-figures would be a safe bet.

On May.20.2004 at 05:54 PM
Peter Scherrer (ps)’s comment is:

Saul Bass redesigns are essentially very difficult. Because the imagery is so powerful. The United Way Identity was actually worked on by SAUL BASS, Art Goodman, and Mamoru Shimokochi

i contacted mamoru shimokochi to see if he want to put in his two cents. i'll also contact a saul bass partner, tony asher to see if he has any insights.

On May.20.2004 at 06:45 PM
Elizabeth Boyle’s comment is:

Actually, Brian Gallagher makes only 6 figures, and on the lower spectrum of that. You can find that information at unitedway.org.

Hi everyone, this is Elizabeth Boyle. I am the Graphic Design Manager for United Way in Atlanta, as well as a P.Center educator, letterpress geek, and NCSU grad. First, let me say nothing posted here is to represent UW or UWMA. This is all purely out of my little mouth.

And, as there have been some stabs at United Way in this discussion: let me say that (at least for ATL), our UW runs at 9% overhead when nonprofits are legally allowed 25%. Each UW is locally operated which means there is no "national budget" for things like office supplies. I don't know what United Way of America paid for the new branding system, but I'm sure it was nothing close to what UPS paid.

All discussions of form aside, from a functional aspect our national leadership decided it was time to pursue a new logo because we as an organization have changed from purely fundraising to community impact and we needed to signify that to everyone else. Many years ago, this discussion came up for a redesign and they decided that the time wasn't right yet. Apparently, they felt the time was right now.

I will admit that I was hopeful, upon hearing about the project, that we would get something on the same level of sophistication that UPS got (a color system based on Turner's paintings? wow. a colleague of mine at UPS says he's taken a year to really learn how to work with the subtlety of that pallette). However, I also recognize the limitations of our local offices. (This is speaking more to the system, and less to the mark)

The new system, designed by the folks at FutureBrand, was designed to be functional above all else. Much as it makes us bluebloods cringe, there are many, many nonprofit folks in the world using Word to get something done. Also, that rainbow gradient is very costly to accurately reproduce in printed mediums.

I will admit, I have mixed feelings about the new logo, but you all have expressed so many sides of the spectrum I feel that I would only be saying a "me three" and not nearly as eloquently as it's already been stated. I can say I think the new logo and branding system were the right decision for us, even if I was one of the loudest people (initially) screaming “over my dead body will you change S. Bass’s logo.”

P.S. Please forgive me for the length of my response. You now see why my childhood nickname was Scooter Motor Mouth. ;)

On May.20.2004 at 06:49 PM
Michael B.’s comment is:

United Way obviously had a mess of problems with the way that the Bass logo was implemented, as Armin's examples illustrate. But it seems to me that they might have been addressed with a well-considered set of standards to control things like typography and general usage.

I think that we designers redesign every logo we get our hands on partly because, well, that's what we do. David's thoughtful rationales notwithstanding, I'm concerned by our profession's knee-jerk response in this situation.

Here's some advice. If you're a designer and you're being asked to redesign a logo, consider just saying no. My clients are always disarmed and pleasantly surprised when I ask them "What's so bad about what you already have?" And I always, repeat always, ask them this question.

The answers I get are often very interesting, and sometimes (not always) lead to solutions that mean foregoing the tempting prize of a brand-new-shiny-logo. It leaves my portfolio that much thinner, but I agree with Marian that sometimes historic preservation takes priority over bulldozing everything with a little dust on it.

And by the way, kids, you can still charge as much for historic preservation, if dollars are what you're looking for.

On May.20.2004 at 06:57 PM
Michael B.’s comment is:

I almost forgot: how great is that picture of Saul Bass with all that incredible work? Thanks, Design Maven.

On May.20.2004 at 07:02 PM
Tan’s comment is:

Welcome Elizabeth

>Actually, Brian Gallagher makes only 6 figures, and on the lower spectrum of that.

Correction noted and appreciated.

I should clarify my earlier post.

I wasn't suggesting that UW was wasting money, but simply pointing out that as a large national organization, the allocation of expeditures for a brand initiative is proportional to an organization of their (your) size and revenue — just as other expenditures like office supplies and salaries.

It's a justified cost that's not necessarily "better spent elsewhere" as some previous posts had suggested.

...

In any case, thanks for the inside insight.

On May.20.2004 at 07:06 PM
Jose Nieto’s comment is:

The new system, designed by the folks at FutureBrand, was designed to be functional above all else.

Frankly, I don't get it. If the point of this redesign was mostly practical, then why the three color solution? I'm sure that Futurbrand developed a monotone version (I'm curious to see it), but if the point was to simplify the printing process, why build so many colors (and values) into the core mark?

David, I can see from your response that there was much thought behind the redesign, but I still don't buy it. This is not the mark of a charitable organization, whether they are now about "community impact," or simply a fundraising entitity. It feels very much like the logo of a corporation -- impersonal, cold, rigid. What was the point of eliminating the only organic aspect of Bass's original (the shape of the curled hand) and replacing it with a circle? And why Officina (sorry, Weinberger Bold), a typeface originally designed for easy faxing?

A community based organization, in my view, should a have logo that feels friendly, open, and inclusive (like, for example, the new Unilever mark). It should bring the institution down to the level of its audience. This mark fails to do that.

I can't speak about the rest of the rebranding project, since I have yet to see it (the website does feel a bit rushed, but I understand that it is transitional).

David, I do appreciate the fact that you take the time to respond to these often unfriendly comments.

On May.21.2004 at 01:13 AM
DesignMaven’s comment is:

To Armin and Marian:

Like Marian, I don't think the old Bass' logo is that great. At least not in its execution. The idea and reasoning behind it is what made (and makes) the mark strong and relevant.

The hand symbol BASS created for United Way is the most powerful hand symbol ever created for an Identity Corporate, Non Profit or otherwise. Perhaps, second only to Man With The Golden Arm.

Which is a Film Symbol.

I defy either of you to find a more POWERFUL, OMIPOTENT and/or UBIQUITOUS Hand Symbol in the History of Visual Communication and Identity Design.

Look at any Book on Trademarks and Identity

Design from the 1960s - 1985 you will see the same Geometric style of drawing hands.

Example, Morton Goldsholl's Identity Design for the United States Peace Corps 1967

None exist that are more POWERFUL than United Way.

Which set the precedent for hand symbionics.

Which everyone emulated.

Furthermore, the United Way Identity is a Glyph !!!!!

Terminology, Designers not directly involved with Identity Design understand.

If BASS wanted to make the United Way Identity

Illustrative. He would've made it Illustrative.

And the Identity would've been outmoded in three years.

Identities are Designed to be AUSTERE.

Illustration is stylistic. Meaning trendy and fashionable.

Identity Design must endure 20-30 years or longer.

Longevity issues are inherent. (livability)

Meaning, a symbol not a literal representation.

United Way's Identity was Designed with the UTMOST simplicity in mind. To be easily recognizable at a glace, in moving vehicles and distorted to a degree that rendered elements unregcognizable. Yet conveyed readability issues concerning semantics and semiotics. The language of Symbols and Signage.

All Identity Design before the Computer age

is either ANGULAR or GEOMETRIC. Due to the working methodology. Using T Square, Triangle, Circle and Ellipse Templates. Instruments I'm sure foreign to both of you. Just as the ruling pen, india ink,crow quill pen, camera luci, veloxes, compugraphic machines, haberule, I.N.T. and other working methodologies before MAC and PC.

Thus, this working methodology of being able to manipulate these instruments. With Ruling Pen

and Sable brush in hand. Separated Geniunely Gifted People from people which were not qualified to do the job.

I'll bet my life if that working methodology existed today. Many people writing on this board

would not be Designers!!!!!!!

Certainly an era in which I was trained.

My point, the computer has made all our lives easier. How many of us would give up the use of our computers to Design.

Back to basics. A tablet or sheet of tracing paper

on top of a drawing board. With an assortment of Pencils, Illustration Board. Triangle, T Square,

Compass, Circle Templates, Ellispe, Ruling Pen, India Ink, Press Type, Zippa Tone Film, Pantone Paper, Tempra Paint, Gouache, Sable Brushes, Airbrush, Air Compressor, Haberule.

With exception of Zippa tone film and Haberule.

This is how the United Way Identity was created.

As well, all Identities before the computer age.

Anyone writing on this board not trained in the use of the aforementioned tools of the trade willing to give up the luxury of their MAC or PC

to try their hand?

Design wouldn't be such a COOL PROFESSION without the MAC or PC.

This was an era When Time Really was Money. No room for error.

Referencing the era 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, through

1985. You could see any Corporate Identity being launched. And tell who created the work. With a margin of error of 5%.

That's how identifiable a house style was. Unlike today. Where no originality nor individuality exist. Everybody looking up Landor's, Wolff Olins, and Pentagrams Arse to find out the next trend.

The aesthetic of the United Way Identity was ORIGINAL, TIMELESS, and contributed to America's

Cultural Heritage for 34 years.

Most important:

I did like how the rainbow stemmed from the hand, but that is what forced the gradient effect because hands aren't red and rainbows aren't blue.

The colors in United Way's Identity symbolized

inclusiveness of all races, colors, and creed.

Which is why the rainbow effect encases the whole Identity to include the hand.

Ninety nine point nine percent of BASS' Identities

were created with it's own Custom FONT. From A-Z upper and lowercase.

Hand Drawn without the aid of FONTOGRAPHER and Font Lab Digital Type Design Equipment.

Something practiced by few today.

Peter Scherrer:

Thanks for contacting Mamoru Shimokochi. I started too. But got involved with my own chores.

I don't know him directly. Know him through other

BASS Alumni.

I did send word to HERB YAGER and other BASS Alumni. I'm sure Mr. Yager read everything posted. Doubtful, he will contribute.

On Tony Asher:

How in the name of GOD did you pull that off.

Last I heard he was working on a project with Brian Wilson.

If memory serve me correctly Tony Asher became President at Bass Yager after or during the time

HERB YAGER retired.

Tony Asher's Bio

Tony Asher possesses an amazing depth and range of talent as a brand strategist, marketing consultant, creative director, copywriter, and songwriter. Since 1994, he has consulted with some of the West Coast’s best-known graphic design firms including Landor Associates, Keith Bright Design, Boyd Communications, and Addison and Baker Designed Communications.

Asher has more than 20 years’ experience as creative director and copywriter for such advertising agencies as Carson/Roberts, Ogilvy & Mather, and Foote, Cone & Belding. In the early 1980s he began working in the arena of corporate and brand identity with the graphic design firm of Bass Yager Associates. Asher became a full partner and was president of the firm for six years.

Asher’s prolific songwriting career has earned him many gold and platinum albums. Most notably, his collaboration with Brian Wilson produced the legendary Beach Boys album “Pet Sounds.” Tony’s work has been recorded by artists such as David Bowie, Glen Campbell, Elvis Costello, Sammy Davis Jr., Neil Diamond, The Manhattan Transfer, Olivia Newton-John, Jeffrey Osborne, Small Circle of Friends, Andy Williams, The Yellow Jackets, and many others.

On May.21.2004 at 02:43 AM
Kevin Lo’s comment is:

A community based organization, in my view, should a have logo that feels friendly, open, and inclusive (like, for example, the new Unilever mark). It should bring the institution down to the level of its audience.

I'm not sure about the phrasing of "bring the institution down to the level of its audience", but I understand what Jose is saying.

What I find interesting is that it seems (at least from the examples given and a couple of others I can think) that more and more corporations are trying to look like friendly non-profits or at least using their identities to seem grassroots and connected to the community while non-profits, strugling for 'credibility' are trying to look more and more like efficient members of corporate America.

What a twisted little world we live in.

On May.21.2004 at 06:55 AM
marian’s comment is:

Design Maven, I didn't say it was bad, I said I didn't like it--there's a difference. I also said that my not liking it was immaterial and I thought it should have been preserved.

On May.21.2004 at 07:57 AM
Steve Mock’s comment is:

This is fun. Two in one week.

I am curious...

How exactly does a gig like this go down? When do the parties start piling on the train? ("Oh yeah, this needs to be done! It's important! Let's go!") Is there some hucksterism going on and who gets that job? When did second-guessing (I'm sorry... focus groups) turn into an industry? Do these gigantic corporations ever get buyers remorse? Do branding conglomerates ever say no?

Yes. I'm thinking there's a need for a classic american identity preservation movement.

Call it "Mark Up"

The hand is poorly drawn. It looks like a flipper. Good job, Felix.

That type is just...

so bad.

On May.21.2004 at 08:00 AM
Jose Nieto’s comment is:

I'm not sure about the phrasing of "bring the institution down to the level of its audience", but I understand what Jose is saying.

Point taken. Perhaps a better way of putting it is in terms of scale. The Unilever logo sought to scale down a corporate image to a size that would be comprehensible by consumers. The new United Way logo does the opposite (again, in my view).

I agree, Kevin: this was an interesting pairing.

On May.21.2004 at 08:13 AM
Armin’s comment is:

> Instruments I'm sure foreign to both of you.

As young as I am, I was actually educated with all the fanciful items you describe Maven. In Mexico from 1995-1999 the computer wasn't highly adopted in graphic design.

Not that this matters to the discussion, but…

On May.21.2004 at 08:41 AM
Peter Scherrer (ps)’s comment is:

design maven:

On Tony Asher:

How in the name of GOD did you pull that off.

i'm fortunate to have him as my consultant for my business, which turned into a great friendship.

On May.21.2004 at 09:36 AM
Tom’s comment is:

Can I stir this up a bit?

According to what I have read above and heard here many times, we should just all stop redesigning anything. Apparently, if it was designed by Rand, Bass or Glaser, etc...(the FutureBranders of their time) then a blaspemy would be to even consider a new sketch. Or wait a minute, the question is should they have redesigned any of the logos(IBM, UPS, etc...) they did for large sums of money? Which is more important, the designer or the design?

It's like we are saying, 'Obviously the new UW logo is bad cause I could have done it better.'

Great job David. I would love to see a SU interview with the person at FutureBrand who is landing all these top shelf jobs! That is the real design superstar.

Oh, also, if Focus Groups are second guessing, then what is this thread? At least focus groups add legitmacy for some clients.

If we want a Hall of Fame for Designers and their work, then great, but if we expect clients to keep old, out dated logos that no longer add value then we should all go into sheet metal work. By the way, a lot of Frank Lloyd Wright's structures leak, way off schedule, over budget and were not built to identify a company or cause. Most of them were built to bolster his ego.

On May.21.2004 at 09:53 AM
Michael Surtees’s comment is:

Tom, this is a first for me - I agree with your sentiments.

On May.21.2004 at 10:06 AM
M Kingsley’s comment is:

I would love to see a SU interview with the person at FutureBrand who is landing all these top shelf jobs! That is the real design superstar.

Design? No; marketing.

On May.21.2004 at 10:17 AM
Tom’s comment is:

Yes it is marketing. Marketing of design. Which seems to be what we always complain about institutions like AIGA not doing enough of to inform the business community of our worth. So I think what FutureBrand has been able to accomplish in that regard is pertinent information for our profession. If they are willing to share.

On May.21.2004 at 10:28 AM
Tan’s comment is:

>By the way, a lot of Frank Lloyd Wright's structures leak, way off schedule, over budget and were not built to identify a company or cause. Most of them were built to bolster his ego.

Yet, those structures are treasured and valued a thousand times beyond most modern creations.

Yes, he may have built them for his ego, but he also believed that it was his gift and burden to create things that would elevate humanity.

There are things in this world of significance beyond dollars that should be preserved. There are works and accomplishments that are milestones of achievement that humankind builds on. There are things created in our profession that redefine the craft — and therefore, should be recognized and preserved.

You're dead wrong and short-sighted, Tom.

On May.21.2004 at 10:28 AM
Tom’s comment is:

Tan - I 'm really not trying to say I am right or wrong on all this. Just thinking out loud with an opposite opinion. Plus, as you know, I like to stir it up. It makes me think, question my own stance and sometimes realize that I need to get over myself - sometimes not. I sometimes think we designers need to get over ourselves - sometimes not.

I have adored these design treasures as much as anyone here. I even had the pleasure to meet Mr. and Mrs. Bass once, and was totally in awe them and their work.

And as far as Wright goes, I love to look at his work, but while he was trying to elevate humanity, he abandoned his wife and children. Personally, I can admire his work, but cannot respect the man.

On May.21.2004 at 10:58 AM
DesignMaven’s comment is:

Marian:

Just trying to educate and enlighten. Different era. With different Design Methodology.

Thus, different Design Aesthetic.

Armin: Me compodre'

With a smile on my FACE. Both you and Marian are real Designer(s). Trust, I did not imply otherwise.

Forgot about your days Armin in the TRENCHES TRAINING AS AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGNER to sharpen your Design Skills.

You're young but WISE BEYOND YOUR YEARS.

Again, enlightening on the working methods of an era gone.

Michael B.

You know I love you!!!! Heartfelt advice on accepting Identity Assignments. Ohhhh, the lure

of BIG FINANCIAL REWARDS.

TAN:

Unsurpassed Knowledge and Wisdom. Second to None.

Peter Scherrer:

You have acquired in your arsenal the equivalent

of a Rocket Scientist. Hiring Tony Asher.

Don't know him either. Tell him, I'm the GUY

HERB YAGER approved to buy the FULL SET OF Bell System Identity Manuals from TOM RUZICKA via BASS ALUMNI Robert W. Taylor.

Rick Valicenti:

I concur with you Marian, Michael B., Tan and others. The work of Designers of BASS' and RAND's ILK. Should be IMMORTALIZED and held SACRED.

There is not a person alive that is more GOO GOO

FUCKING GHAA GHAA over BASS' GENIUS than me.

Which is why I stated. My allegiance is to the Original Identity. Always will be.

As an ANOINTED and HONORARY BASS Alumni I wholeheartedly embrace the United Way Transition.

I do not speak for THE BASS FAMILY, HERB YAGER,

TONY ASHER, MAMORU SHIMOKOCHI. (others)

Our Differences in opionion is what makes creativity SO GREAT!!!!!

DAVID: GREAT FUCKING JOB !!!!!!!!

FOR KEEPING THE SPIRIT and INTEGRITY OF BASS' ORIGINAL IDENTITY !!!!!!!

Steve Mock:

FOR GOD's SAKE PLEASE DON'T ENCOURAGE

FELIX !!!!!!!

On May.21.2004 at 11:02 AM
Tom’s comment is:

Oh yeah, also real quick, if the answer was to retain the original logo, then what is the solution? I liked the idea of tighter guidelines, but what else? What are other ideas that could be used instead of redesigning a logo to rejuvinate a company or cause? This is happening more often. Maybe we could help FutureBrand say no to logo redesigns if we gave them and their FutureClients better options.

On May.21.2004 at 11:05 AM
Tan’s comment is:

Yes, FLW was an admitted asshole who abused and trashed everyone around him, including his clients. I'm not condoning the man either.

I do agree w/ you that sometimes we're guilty of being blinded by our own fetishism in certain works or designers. It's irrational (Like Armin's man-crush on Sagmeister).

But in the case of Bass, Rand, Kalman, and many other forefathers in our profession — much of their work does deserve that level of reverence.

Eh, I'm not going to chain myself to the UW buiding to prevent them from changing the signage or anything — but it's sad to see the end of that mark.

On May.21.2004 at 11:08 AM
DesignMaven’s comment is:

Tom:

Example. Siegel & Gale revitalized SAUL BASS'

Girl Scout Identity. They did not touch the Identity. They revitalized the packaging and

updated the FONT.

Pentagram:

Revitalized BASS' United Airlines.

Bierut & Company modernized United's Font to

New Helvetica. The word airlines became a halftone.

The attention is focused on UNITED.

The livery was given a major FACELIFT. Logo abstracted on the tail fin. Yet the Identity was not touched.

Certainly, new GUIDELINES were implemented to adhere to new standards.

TAN:

Can expound on Landor's revitalization for Pizza Hut and John Deere.

On May.21.2004 at 11:21 AM
Armin’s comment is:

> Can expound on Landor's revitalization for Pizza Hut and John Deere.

Actually, you can find John Deere's logo evolution here.

On May.21.2004 at 11:25 AM
Miss Tiffany’s comment is:

Does anyone else find it ironic that RV stated: they are just moods, and emotional artifacts identities should never linger too long for fear one remains locked in time defined graphically by who they once were ... yes, change is good ... in Marian's new piece? Okay, fine, a little out of context, but please ... Hey! I'm just as guilty for wanting to own the cake and eat it too.

On May.21.2004 at 11:33 AM
Patrick C’s comment is:

The Leica brand is another great one that has evolved over the years very successfully, without dramatic change, to stay in touch with the evolution of the company itself.

As much as I like design and respect the history and great historical practitioners, I'm truly surprised to hear some people arguing that old marks should be left untouched. That is almost hypocritical if you are, in your daily practice, doing your upmost to address the needs of a client when designing for them.

UPS and UW have changed. They are no longer the companies they were and their logo needs to change with them. This can't be hard to understand can it? The comparison to architecture is, IMO, a poor one. These are very different fields.

On May.21.2004 at 12:25 PM
marian’s comment is:

Different era.

Design Maven, for the record, I'm 41 yrs old and ... waxers, repro, linetape, Letraset, rubylith, boards ... I've worked with it all. Thanks for assuming the opposite, tho.

On May.21.2004 at 12:29 PM
graham’s comment is:

pmt cameras, grant enlargers, cs10 board, trace and sugar paper covers . . .

On May.21.2004 at 12:32 PM
marian’s comment is:

onionskin, Pantone felt pens, overlays, non-repro pencils ...

(sorry ... SO off topic ...)

On May.21.2004 at 12:57 PM
Tan’s comment is:

Rapidographs, rubylith and amberlith (a thousand points to anyone who knows how they're different and why each is used for what?), and color tags (PMS colored transfer foil that you ironed to adhere onto copier toner).

On May.21.2004 at 01:02 PM
graham’s comment is:

omnicrom.

a stick. rubine red. a form. a sort.

oh missus. stop it.

On May.21.2004 at 01:14 PM
Eric Heiman’s comment is:

I'm certainly not against updating logos, but as Design Maven and Michael B stated earlier, there are smart and elegant ways to do it, and I just don't think the new UW (or new UPS) logo/glyph/etc. solution displays this. I'm extremely reverent of, for example, Landor's BP redesign, because, yes, it's a new beautiful logo, but also that they thought about the entire big picture. BP wanted to start moving towards a more progressive environmental agenda and a new voice as well as a logo seemed warranted. I was quite impressed with this brand shift after I saw Margaret Youngblood (Landor partner) make a detailed presentation about it. (Whether I believe the rhetoric from this company or not is another issue.)

I think that we designers redesign every logo we get our hands on partly because, well, that's what we do. David's thoughtful rationales notwithstanding, I'm concerned by our profession's knee-jerk response in this situation.

Here's some advice. If you're a designer and you're being asked to redesign a logo, consider just saying no. My clients are always disarmed and pleasantly surprised when I ask them "What's so bad about what you already have?" And I always, repeat always, ask them this question.

I repeat this advice from Michael B because it's the kind of thinking that more of us need to engage in. It's not "what kind of new logo do you want?", more "Is a new logo really what you need?" You can get a new mediocre logo for $250 on the web.

I understand that sometimes compromises with clients are necessary, but somehow Landor and Pentagram have managed to squeeze smart, beautiful work out of their large corporate clients while I've yet to see a home run from Futurebrand and their ilk. What is the difference here? Simply raw talent, or a better approach to the problem at hand?

On May.21.2004 at 01:22 PM
jesse’s comment is:

Not sure of the precise differences between amberlith and rubylith (besides their colors) but I would guess it has something to do with exposure levels. I just tossed an unopened roll of rubylith as I couldn't find anyone to take it.

For the record, I use Macs and design software, but I still quite often use the "old" tools. Just finished a drawing using a t-square, triangles, and an ellipse template, vellum, and finally technical pens. It was faster than assembling it in Illustrator.

On May.21.2004 at 01:32 PM
Kevin Lo’s comment is:

man I feel like such a naive little kid... please someone teach me about all these tools. Especially graham's omnicrom, that sounds way too cool.

On May.21.2004 at 01:55 PM
Armin’s comment is:

I know I am guilty of fueling this old tool debate but could we keep it out of this discussion please? We can start an "old-timer's tool kit" discussion later.

On May.21.2004 at 01:59 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:

AMEN, ARMIN:

FELIX:

FELL FREE TO CHIME IN.

I've kept you CORRALLED LONG ENOUGH!!!!!!!

Really Tan, I'm suprised !!!!!!

Kick me when I Down.

Jesse, That's the Spirit.

Graham, You're one up on me please expound.

ARMIN:

Please allow me compodre' Felix to get his punches in.

Of course he'll overdue it. He'll Murder me!!!!

On May.21.2004 at 02:45 PM
graham’s comment is:

cant expound anonymous posters cant talk to them armin said so

On May.21.2004 at 03:24 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Maven is anything but anonymous.

On May.21.2004 at 03:26 PM
Tan’s comment is:

>Really Tan, I'm suprised !!!!!!...Kick me when I Down.

wait, what I'd do? I didn't mean to kick anyone big M.

Just musing w/ the other old farts about amberlith and stuff, only to be shushed by librarian Vit there.

Marian took a guess at my trivia, and I sent her the answer (as best as I know). So ping her if you want it. She got 500 points.

On May.21.2004 at 03:35 PM
Andrew Waters’s comment is:

I learned how to use rubylith in high school for the newspaper, and the summer after graduation, was a runner/paste up lackey for a printer. I used to have to run all around town to different photo-typesetters picking up set type. I also had the joy that is a stat camera. And to think, I get mad now when a printer doesn’t take InDesign files yet.

On May.21.2004 at 03:49 PM
Feluxe Socksmell’s comment is:

OK. We've strayed off course.

This UW Dog has been beaten up badly

but its nowhere near as terrible

as the UPS Rand-shamer.

Maven, youre insane. Get a hair

cut old timer.

Back to my Debbie Gibson's greatest hit CD

On May.21.2004 at 06:06 PM
debbie millman’s comment is:

what a great discussion. Amberlith and rubylith and Saul Bass and UPS and Felix and Maven all in one thread. Things could not be any better.

I am with Marian--I never thought the original UW logo was that ravishing, which takes nothing away from Bass being a genius. I just personally don't think it was his greatest moment. (I am sorry, Maven. But thank you for your picture of SB with his work. It is indeed breathtaking).

So...the new logo. I do not think it is as bad as Tan and Felix think, but I certainly do not think it is Futurebrand's greatest work. But in many ways I don't think it is Futurebrand's "fault," per se. Essentially, I think it is a fairly respectable move-on, but if the original logo isn't that originally fantastic, it is hard to make a revitalized one that maintains the intrinisc and inherent equities (clearly one of Futurebrand's objectives) all that much better.

I am kind of with Tom on this one: we hold on really tightly to what we believe is good and any change to that makes us feel insecure and even blasphemous. You know what? Just because we think one way or another does not make it so. I read Ben Hagon's piece "Mute" in Emigre #66 and he refers to both Paula Scher's and Tibor Kalman's monographs as "disgusting." I love both of those books. So who is right? If, as Rick Poynor talks about in "No More Rules," the rules have changed, then who is too say that one logo is disgusting and another isn't? What is the objective truth about taste? Is there any? Is it possible that as Tom says, Bass and Rand were the "futurebranders" of their time?

David: of this I am curious: what kind of research did you do? Qual and/or quant? Did you do any ethnography? Was this a tough sell to the consumer? Who do you consider the UW consumer anyway? Corporations or individuals? (and thanks, btw, of posting this. Unbelieveably courageous.)

Re the UW logo: I guess at the end of the day what bothers me a bit (on a most, most tactical level) is that the lovely way the rainbow bars came out of all four of the fingers on the Saul Bass hand has been reduced to three in the new logo. There is no color bar coming out of the pinky anymore. That seems unfair to me.

On May.21.2004 at 08:09 PM
Jose Nieto’s comment is:

If, as Rick Poynor talks about in "No More Rules," the rules have changed, then who is too say that one logo is disgusting and another isn't? What is the objective truth about taste? Is there any?

This question, of course, dates back to Pontius Pilate, if not earlier. I think Godel had the best answer for it: any system of knowledge will always have some aspects that cannot be proven within itself. He was refering to mathematics (for example, you cannot prove mathematically that 1+1=2. ) but the idea can be applied elsewhere.

What does this mean to design? Basically, that some of our aesthetic criteria will always be arbitrary (that is, not based on logical design rules) and we have to live with that. Reverance for a master designer may not be an objective reason for rejecting (or at least being wary of) a redesign, but it might be a useful reason: a way to create signposts in the profession, aspirational goals.

As it happens, I'm not a big fan of Saul Bass's logo design in general (I prefer his movie titles) and the UW mark in particular. The reductive art and the Buck Rogers typography always read to me as much too corporate, suggestive of an organization far removed from it's intended audience. (It's not surprising that the local chapters were personalizing it.) The Futurebrand redesign, IMHO, makes the problem worse -- it feels like a crack of the whip. I don't think there was single, objective, solution to the UW identity problem, but I think one can make a good case that this rebrand was a step in the wrong direction.

On May.22.2004 at 08:58 AM
James’s comment is:

�According to what I have read above and heard here many times, we should just all stop redesigning anything. Apparently, if it was designed by Rand, Bass or Glaser, etc...(the FutureBranders of their time) then a blaspemy would be to even consider a new sketch.’

Re: Tom's argument above (or what he seemingly later revised to be a hypothesis for argument's sake): calling Rand, Bass and Glaser "the FutureBranders of their time" betrays a complete lack of understanding of what they did then and what FutureBrand do now.

All identities are of course open to redesigning and updating, but the rarely asked question, as Michael Beirut wisely pointed out above, is whether the commissioned redesign is actually necessary? Age of logo does not have to correlate with necessity for update.

Here, taking United Way and changing it only with a redrawing worse than the original — supplemented with an unrelated odd-slab typeface — has actually resulted in something more outdated and less elegant, less simple than Bass's initial design. This really doesn't provide us with a strong argument for updating.

It really makes me cry sometimes, the amount of money paid to these marketing corporations just to make exisiting identities worse! FutureBrand are truly market leaders in this area.

(And: respect to Graham for the Omnichrom name-check)

On May.22.2004 at 07:59 PM
Feluxe Socksmell’s comment is:

Is it possible that as Tom says, Bass and Rand were the "futurebranders" of their time?

Interesting. Partly true. (Futurebrand is merely a watery version of Landor w/ marketing flavor) I think clients have changed. The world is larger. The pool of choices and client expectations has left guys like me (soloists) freelancing for Landor and having absolutely no say in what is or isnt presented. It used to be soloists got the jobs and presented one or two ideas. thats how you do good work.

I'm sure Futurebland presented at least 10 versions. the result, as we see, is a less than sturdy interpretation of the original.

If they truly cared to do it right, they wouldve shown the oven-mitted redo to a few impartial designers/ art directors/ consultants and created something that might last as long as Bass' original. The new version isnt Go awful terrible. Its just sloppy as hell. Look at the details. It unfinished. And unfortunate.

On May.23.2004 at 09:14 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:

Jose Nieto

As it happens, I'm not a big fan of Saul Bass's logo design in general (I prefer his movie titles) and the UW mark in particular. The reductive art and the Buck Rogers typography always read to me as much too corporate, suggestive of an organization far removed from it's intended audience.

To understand and appreciate the broad range of

Mr. Bass' Genius which encompasses architecture,

environmental design, interiors, set design, textiles, product design, type design, packaging,

three dimensional design.(others)

One has to look at the total body of work which few people have been fortunate to see.

FYI, SAUL BASS, ultimately was BORED doing film titles. He viewed film titles as PIECE-MILL work.

Which is why there is a fifteen to eighteen year laspe in his Film Title work.

I love his Film Title work as well. It doesn't

surmise his whole career.

Bass was never BORED with doing Corporate Identity and Packaging. An area of Visual Communication which he PIONEERED and EXCELLED. (with other noted Designer(s))

And created more Identity TRENDS than any Identity Consultancy in HISTORY. Bar None.

Curious to know. How many BASS Identities you have actually seen.

Many were not often published in Annuals.

Unless you were a client and privy to BASS' Capability Brochures in which they were published. Doubtful if you have seen many.

He has over 1000 to his credit.

Allow me to call your bluff !!!!

Name me ten Identities not listed in the photo at the top of the page I've provided which SAUL BASS Designed in the United States or abroad ? Continues to be in use today.

Should be an easy question for a Bass Aficionado such as yourself.

I sincerely question, how much people writing on this online Design Forum. Really, really know about SAUL BASS. MUCH, HAS NOT BEEN WRITTEN. Few people actually knew him or got close to him.

I say this in DISGUST. Because, there has been a MAJOR, MAJOR Brand Revitalization of another BASS IDENTITY and no one is aware of it except Michael Bierut and David Weinberger. I've discussed the revitalization at length with both of them. They're sworn to secrecy because I intend to write my FIRST EDITORIAL on Speak Up in reference to the Identity Revitalization.

Anyone that's a BASS SCHOLAR OTHER THAN MYSELF would've discussed or mentioned the revitalization within this forum in reference to United Way. Most important, wrote about the revitalization one month ago.

No articles have been written in reference to this revitalization. Unless you are aware of the totality of BASS' Immense Body of work. You will not recognize the change.

HOW MUCH DOES ANYONE IN THIS FORUM REALLY KNOW ABOUT BASS ? NOT MUCH !!!!!!!

I REST MY CASE!!!!!!!!

Ultimately, Bass wanted to Direct. He was driven

by his Corporate Identity work. Which he led the Profession for over fifty years.

Debbie

Again, I will say. Since you are an Identity Consultant for the Sterling Group.

An off-spring of the World Renowned Michael Peters Group.

As I asked Marian and Armin. Name me another Identity with a Hand Glyph, more OMNIPOTENT and UBIQUITOUS than UNITED WAY.

I have no problem with anyone not liking the Identity. Differences of opinion is what make the WORLD UNIQUE !!!!!! And the Creative Process that much interesting.

None exist in the History of Visual Communication.

Other than MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM and EXODUS.

Both Film Symbols created by BASS.

I respectfully disagree with you on Artistic Merit Alone with the Original Bass Identity vs.

the revitalized United Way.

Futhermore, SAUL BASS' Identity Solutions were

built around a METAPHORIC. DEEPLY ROOTED in AMBIGUITY. Which resulted in METAMORPHASIS.

To fully understand Mr. BASS' execution of UNITED WAY'S GLYPH. Look up the word METAMORPHASIS and AMBIGUITY. You will fully appreciate the AESTHETIC of UNITED WAY.

SAUL BASS stated:

"My intent with graphic work is to always find a visual phrase which is more than it a first seems or in some way different than it first seems".

"Ambiguity and metaphor are often central to my work, and certainly central to most of the filmmakers and designers I admire".

"My prediclection for indirection is as much practicle as it is to the aesthetic. Things that are what they appear to be make their point and soon grow tiresome. The ambiguous is intrinsically more interesting, more challenging, more involving more mysterious and more potent. It forces re-examination, adds tension, gives it life. And because there is more to be discovered, has greater longevity".

"Degree of ambiguity can be very significant. And it varies both in terms of how appropriate it is for certain kinds of communication., and how necessary it is for others. Of course under some circumstances you find yourself skirting the edge of obscurantism. And conversely a timid use of metaphor put you in risk of boredom. I suppose there's nothing worse than boredom".

What would United Way look like if FutureBrand started from scratch ? And did not keep the Spirit and Integrity of United Way's Original Mark.

As stated many times, I embrace the change.

While most of the post insidiously blaspheme David and FutureBrand's work.

It is the other BASS Identity Revitalization. Launched one month ago everyone should be RAISING HELL ABOUT.

Fact of the matter most revitalizations are not better than the original.

Celanese, Original Identity Designed by SAUL BASS.

Siegel & Gale did the redesign in the early 1990s. Alan Siegel was met the the same blaspheme as FutureBrand on redesign of a BASS Identity Icon.

Reference: AIGA JOURNAL OF GRAPHIC DESIGN

Volume 8 Number 1, pages 8 - 9

Title: In Search of Equity.

Written by Ellen Shapiro.

Whole issue is devoted to Identity Design.

Your assessment of FutureBrand, not having much to work with or a weak Identity to begin with is AT BEST BLOWING SMOKE.

I can name you many Identity Designer(s) with the same Brief FutureBrand received. Would've turned up a different result.

1. DON ERVIN

2. Eugene J. Grossman

3. TOM GEISMAR

4. Massimo Vignelli

5. Rei Yoshimura

6. Mamuru Shimokochi

7. Carol Lipper

8. Constance Birdsall

9. Paula Scher

10. Deborah Sussman

11. Margaret Youngblood

12. Michael Bierut

13. Roger van den Bergh

14. Joe Finocchiaro

15. Joe Selame

16. Arthur King

17. James Cross

18. Kenneth Love

19. Muts Yasumura

20. Wolfgang Rekow

21. Keith Bright

22. Kit Hinrichs

23. Primo Angeli

24. Steve Haines

25. Kenneth Cooke

26. Malcom Greer

Each of these capable Identity Designers(s)

solution to the outcome of United Way's Identity is based on their knowledge of the brief and target market and ability to solve the problem.

Each of these Historic Significant Identity Designers) outcome will be different than FutureBrand's. Using the same Design Elements of Rainbow, Hand and Figure.

As Felix eloquently illustrated within a matter of minutes.

It will be interesting your reaction. If this Forum was in reference to your Hero Mark Rothko.

And someone stated. A work was not Rothko's Greatest Moment. And you knew it was not true.

The person(s) making the assertion were ill informed to Rothko's working philosophy and methodology.

This should bring a smile to your face. A few years ago. Sterling Group revitalized the Brand for Quaker. I noticed Sterling did not touch

that little QUAKER MAN on the side of Packaging SAUL BASS Designed.

Care to expound ???

Prudential's Identity comes to mind. Which has evolved with only minor changes. Last revitalization by Siegel & Gale. Better than the Original

The same can be said for John Deere. It's evolution slightly noticable. Revitalized by Landor. Equal or better. Change almost unnoticed

Shell, initally Designed by Raymond Loewy. Several revitalizations exist since Loewy's Design. Not much of a noticable change.

General Electric, initially Design by GE Staff.

Revitalized by Landor. Change not noticable.

Jaguar, Equal to or better than the original.

Entities such as Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox,

Screen Gems, Paramount Pictures, and Universal.

Have been slightly modified without any noticable changes.

Historically, trademarks and Corporate Identities are treated differently. While Corporate Identities are easily discarded. Trademarks are not. Manufaturers protect their trademarks and guard them like the ultimate attack dogs.

Presa Canario's and Caine Coro's.

Trademarks can dual as Corporate Identities.

Corporate Identities cannot dual as Trademarks.

Why is this so ?

Only Manufacturers have trademarks. All businesses and corporations are not the manufacturer of products. Thus only need a Corporate Identity to separate them from their competition.

Debbie, thanks for the Kudos on the photo. It is one of many images I have in my archives on SAUL BASS.

Original owned by the Bass Family and Herb Yager.

YEAH, I AGREE WITH YOUR BREATHTAKING ASSESSMENT.

MY ASSESSMENT, EVERYTHING BASS DID WAS BREATHTAKING !!!!!!!!

On May.24.2004 at 12:10 AM
Jose Nieto’s comment is:

I defer to you, DesignMaven, as far as knowledge of Bass's career is concerned; I readily admit that I am not thoroughly familiar with his work. In my defense I should note one thing: there is a clear distinction in my mind between saying that I don't like something (or, to be precise, saying I'm not a big fan of something) and claiming that it is not good. I can admire the skill, intelligence, and perceptivity in Bass's classic marks (the ones I've seen, anyway); none of them move me that way that the film titles for, say, Vertigo do. Call me a philistine, but I like what I like...

That said, I would love to learn more about the entire scope of his work -- a comprehensive monograph is definitely in order.

(BTW, that Bass himself was bored with the film titles is interesting but ultimately irrelevant. Would finding out that Shakespeare was bored with the history plays make you appreciate Richard II any less?)

On May.24.2004 at 08:26 AM
debbie millman’s comment is:

My dear Maven:

I defer to you, DesignMaven, as far as knowledge of Bass's career is concerned

Ditto.

Also, good Rothko example. Totally get it.

Re Quaker: you cheeky bugger! I didn't think anyone knew about that! Here is some trivia I think you will appreciate: "the little Quaker man" has a name! It is Larry. You are right, we did not change him at all. All we really did was update the holding device in order to create a stronger mark that would have "plunk value" (Richard Brandt's term--from Landor) on every single package in the world. Essentially our goal was this: if you put every single Quaker pack on a table from every region of the globe, the packaging (and the identity) would have one single-minded architecture. If you look at the global packaging, you will see that Larry is actually the central element. Folks all over the world have a strong "relationship" with Larry, despite the fact that in Asia they call the brand "old man brand" because of Larry's persona. In any case, as a result of this strong relationship, and the recognition factor of the original mark, we (and consumers, and the marketing folk at Quaker) wanted to keep the inherent integrity of the mark intact. (I do think it was also an attempt to keep the redesign "respectful.")

On May.24.2004 at 08:45 AM
David Weinberger’s comment is:

Getting back to the topic, I have tried to respond directly and indirectly to most of the comment and questions. I have recieved enough emails to know that this has been helpful and I am happy to share some more thoughts. I am glad to see that there are people on both sides of most issues and I have even used some responses to answer others. I have also broken this up into a few posts.

Comments

Michael B. - "United Way obviously had a mess of problems with the way that the Bass logo was implemented, as Armin's examples illustrate. But it seems to me that they might have been addressed with a well-considered set of standards to control things like typography and general usage."

Response

Yes, good instinct Michael. This was actually done several years ago but didn't work. I can tell you that of 1400 local United Ways, most of them wouldn't use the recommended mark. Most of them were changing the type because it looked so old. Most of them were using a different color for the mark because the rainbow looked old, was hard to reproduce and said the wrong things. Most of them were making the name bigger in comparison to the mark because the name is the strongest part of their brand and not the symbol. And some of them were even coming up with their own completely different symbols to show a transformation. These are all legitimate concerns.

It is very difficult to get organization to move back to something that they have already moved away from. It will be much easier to implement and enforce a system using a new brandmark that has addressed many if not all of their concerns.

Comments

Michael B - "Here's some advice. If you're a designer and you're being asked to redesign a logo, consider just saying no. My clients are always disarmed and pleasantly surprised when I ask them "What's so bad about what you already have?" And I always, repeat always, ask them this question."

Response

Great advice Michael and I hope you don't mind if I add to it.

If you do ask your client this question (and you should) and they answer with a long list of legitimate issues, you should listen to them. I don't mean to react immediately, but listen and consider, even if it means redesigning what you consider a great design.

Comments

Andrew Waters - "What I have a very hard time with is design for the sake of design. Revising things because someone thought that they needed to change, not because an actual event, process or transformation has occurred, forcing the change. "

Responses

Miss Tiffany - "As the United Way obviously wanted to make a new statement about this new direction and focus, wouldn't it be worse if they hadn't changed the logo?"

Patrick C - "As much as I like design and respect the history and great historical practitioners, I'm truly surprised to hear some people arguing that old marks should be left untouched. That is almost hypocritical if you are, in your daily practice, doing your upmost to address the needs of a client when designing for them.

UPS and UW have changed. They are no longer the companies they were and their logo needs to change with them. This can't be hard to understand can it?"

It's not hard for me, Patrick. Armin clearly stated this as a major objective in the opening. Because United Way, and its logo, have been around for so long, it is hard to get people to view them in a different way. The logo is one small part in changing people's views of United Way. The big part is actually changing as an organization which they are doing.

Comments

Elizabeth Boyle - "Hi everyone, this is Elizabeth Boyle. I am the Graphic Design Manager for United Way in Atlanta, as well as a P.Center educator, letterpress geek, and NCSU grad."

"the new logo and branding system were the right decision for us, even if I was one of the loudest people (initially) screaming “over my dead body will you change S. Bass’s logo.”"

Response

Welcome Elizabeth and thank you for providing your unique point-of-view. I hope to see your comments on future threads as well.

I can also add that I have met United Way leaders that were present when Saul Bass presented the original design and appreciated the thought, strategy and craft that went into this redesign. That felt good.

Comments

Miss Tiffany - "Does anyone else find it ironic that RV stated: they are just moods, and emotional artifacts identities should never linger too long for fear one remains locked in time defined graphically by who they once were ... yes, change is good ..."

Response

You can't see, but I'm nodding "Yes".

On May.24.2004 at 09:46 AM
David Weinberger’s comment is:

Redesign

Comments

Tan "But something of cultural, iconic significance has been lost"

Tan - "But in the case of Bass, Rand, Kalman, and many other forefathers in our profession — much of their work does deserve that level of reverence."

Response

Tom - "If we want a Hall of Fame for Designers and their work, then great, but if we expect clients to keep old, out dated logos that no longer add value then we should all go into sheet metal work."

Comments

Tan - "There are things created in our profession that redefine the craft — and therefore, should be recognized and preserved."

Response

Tan, you are correct but this is not such a case.

debbie millman - "I never thought the original UW logo was that ravishing"

Patrick - "I was never fond of the execution of the original."

JonSel - "I was never a huge fan of the original mark"

marian - "I never cared for this Saul Bass logo to begin with"

Armin - "I don't think the old Bass' logo is that great."

Miss Tiffany - "Saul Bass was a great designer. He created/designed/communicated many wonderful things. But I wonder if he ever looked at this when he was finished and said something like "agh, I wish I wouldn't have showed them that typeface, and why in the hell didn't I solve the location of the little guy better?"

Comments

Andrew Waters - "While re-designing anything that has been round for 20 years is a daunting task, doing it for an icon that Saul Bass created is even more amazing and difficult."

Darrel - "For the record, I can't imagine a more difficult project than this one. Taking a powerful, established logo and trying to make somethine new but retaining all of the older logo's value must have been a challenge."

Response

You are both correct. Projects like this are very difficult. I'll repeat something I said eairlier—It is interesting to consider "Design History" vs. "What is Right for the Client". However, historically important logos weren't created to be historically important. They were created to answer a specific problem or business/brand objective. It would be a disservice to a client not to have the same objectives and process.

I can also tell you that working so hard on a project knowing that there will be "backlash" is not the most motivating situation.

Comments

mazzei - "This is not a Bass logo anymore. "

Response

Funny comment Nancy, and you are correct.

Comments

Kevin Lo - "I've recently had an identity I designed taken over by another designer and its been bothering me."

Response

I know a great Design Psychologist that specializes in this. I will forward his information to you.

On May.24.2004 at 09:47 AM
David Weinberger’s comment is:

Comments

debbie millman - "David: of this I am curious: what kind of research did you do? Qual and/or quant? Did you do any ethnography? Was this a tough sell to the consumer? Who do you consider the UW consumer anyway? Corporations or individuals?"

Response

Debbie, great questions and actually much tougher to answer than the others since I can't get too specific about certain things like research. I am sure you know how different it is to talk about design with non-designers and to measure the responses of non-designers. I can tell you that not once during research, did someone say, "hey, isn't that a Saul Bass logo?"

To answer your questions in a general and obvious way, if a mark tested poorly with consumers, qualitatively or quantitatively, or if it did not have internal support, it would not be implemented.

Comments

Jose Nieto - "If the point of this redesign was mostly practical, then why the three color solution? I'm sure that Futurbrand developed a monotone version (I'm curious to see it), but if the point was to simplify the printing process, why build so many colors (and values) into the core mark?"

Response

The full-color version of the mark has reduced from 4 to three colors and the stationery has gone from full-bleed 5 colors to 3 colors with no bleed.

Here are the two, one-color marks. There are also special usage marks for times when screens of inks aren't possible.

Design of elements

The Person

Comments

g - "the figure looks so much like a Y letterform"

Kevin Lo - "The change of proportions really brings the "man" to the forefront, and it definitely reads as a "Y" now."

Response

Armin - "The "Y" complaint… well, yeah, it is a "Y" with a dot, but it's obvious that it represents a person. I don't even think that is an issue"

The Rainbow

Comments

Kevin Lo - "the "rainbow" has abrupt endings, and since it is more than a half-circle (which a rainbow never is, I mean c'mon!), seems more like something radiating"

Response

Yes, the rainbow is no longer just a rainbow and is more of a sunburst. The rainbow was something that most local United Ways had already discarded as it further dated an already old-looking mark. The gradation has also always been a production challenge.

The Hand

Comments

Tan - "But in the old logo, the hand also represents the idea of a collective community and the power it wields to change things. That's what's so great about the iconic hand — that it also symbolizes separate things acting as one, in this case, cupped in support of an individual. Many coming together to help one."

Response

It is still a hand and everything you just said is still true.

Logo Overall

Comments

Kevin Lo - "What I LOVE about Saul Bass's original mark is the way all the elements work together so beautifully, the rainbow comes from the hand and reaches around to almost touch the fingers... that's where the magic comes together for me, in those dynamic, soft, rounded whitespaces."

Response

See I didn't think they worked together so well. The hand called too much attention to itself. It was the biggest of the three elements and also caused the overall shape of the symbol to be awkward. The person seemed to be an afterthought that was forced into the remaining space.

On May.24.2004 at 09:48 AM
David Weinberger’s comment is:

Comments

Armin - "For almost a year David has been fending off commentaries like these with informed and well-grounded responses. I, at least, have learned a lot from his "posturing"."

marian - "I think David's a pretty brave soul as he has behaved in an unerringly professional manner against not only intelligent colleagues, but what is, quite often, a pack of hungry wolves."

Tan - "David's been damn professional and standup in his presentation and support for his work. I may disagree w/ the outcome, but I certainly appreciate and envy the challenge that he (they) faced."

Jose Nieto - "David, I do appreciate the fact that you take the time to respond to these often unfriendly comments."

Response

Thanks, really. I guess I have a few points. I know that Speak Up is read by a helluva lot more people than actually post comments and those people are a lot more interested in learning, gaining insight and feeling like a part of something than reading a Soap Opera. I figure the only way to respond to "You suck and so does your design!!" is by giving a meaningful, well thought-out explanation.

I also actually like creating things that some people like and some people don't like. If something makes you feel a little uncomfortable, good. If Felix told me that he liked something I did, I would be worried. I am also confident in my abilities and the things I have done, so criticism doesn't bother me.

I think it is important to say (Sesame Street moment) that as long as you know what you are doing is good, you shouldn't let anyone else tell you otherwise. You may have to change something that a client or boss tells you to change, but believe in yourself. A creative director of mine once said to me, "You have certain intuitive feelings about that design because you created it. If anyone else really knew where it should go, they would have created it. Do what you think is right." Granted, I didn't "create" the original United Way logo, so this doesn't apply to this project, but more in general. Believe in yourself.

Comments

DesignMaven - "DAVID: GREAT FUCKING JOB !!!!!!!!"

Michael Surtees - "It's a nice transition/evolution of the logo"

Response

Thanks

Comments

Felix - Feluxe Socksmell’s

FutureBlather, Blubber, Babble and Branders

Response

Felix, not sure how old you are, but if we ever meet in person, I will definitely watch out for a handshake buzzer.

Comments

Feluxe Socksmell - "When did clients stop believeing in design and succumb to Account Executives in Focus Groups who drone on endlessly with words like Brandmark."

Response

Felix, "Brandmark" is an actual word that actual designers use. Check it out.

Comments

Tan - "It's made up of the who's who of corporate America. These people run companies that live by focus groups."

Response

Tan, I will use your own quote (out of context) to respond - "You're dead wrong and short-sighted" Successful companies become successful because of vision. Focus groups are used for research and guidance in certain areas. It is easy and expected and unfair to take shots at these specific companies without real knowledge of them.

Comments

Andrew Waters - "Its too bad the United Way doesn’t have some neat ubiquitous trucks that would display that mistake, just like our friends that ship packages."

Andrew Waters - "UPS Rand-shamer."

Response

Feel free to post any of your thoughts on UPS here. Over a year later and UPS is doing well.

On May.24.2004 at 09:50 AM
Kevin Lo’s comment is:

Thanks David.

On May.24.2004 at 10:26 AM
Jose Nieto’s comment is:

Thanks for the reply, David. The single color mark works better for me, especially in its special usage (no screens) version. Nevertheless, it still feels cold and much too corporate, which seems to speak more about the bureaucratic structure of the United Way (especially its board members) and less about its aspirations and its customers.

I do congratulate you on getting an institution like the United Way to agree on something...

On May.24.2004 at 10:30 AM
Tan’s comment is:

Appreciate the insightful responses David, but you're still wrong buddy :-)

On May.24.2004 at 10:32 AM
tim’s comment is:

I can't help but think of the furor Duchamp stirred up (way back when) with his "L.H.O.O.Q." Mona Lisa postcard. Remember that story from art school? This argument about "untouchable" designs reminds me of that...

On May.24.2004 at 12:02 PM
Feluxe Socksmell’s comment is:

If Felix told me that he liked something I did, I would be worried.

I like (and appreciate) you for having the balls to take our criticism. Seriously. That said I dont think we do the same thing. You are a marketing/branding guru. I am a designer. This new verbal polarisation is being brought on by companies seeking wider profits margins. Dont believe the hype!

Felix, "Brandmark" is an actual word that actual designers use.

I dont use it. Never heard it used before. I know Landor has BrandEquity and Sterling has BrandBees. Maybe I need something to fit in? Something Brandtastic, brandlicious perhaps? I can come up with an assortment of names but worry that I wont be able to inflect the right amount of saleability in the holistic Brand assessment demographic of brand stewardship. We have AEs for that right?

I wonder if anyone at SVA or Parsons teaches Brandology 101 to young designers. Are we willing to teach kids the buzzwords along with the lessons? Fortunately guys like Sagmeister (who kids look up to) are dispelling the recent myth that marketing salesology perpetuate good design.

On May.24.2004 at 12:09 PM
Tan’s comment is:

But Tim, Duchamp was mocking the art world by drawing a moustache on a classic work of art. Challenging conventions. Destroying barriers and perceptions of beauty and taste. That was the essense of Duchamp.

I don't think Futurebrand meant to mock the UW mark or challenge our perception of beauty and taste. If that was the case, then I'd be fine with it. On the contrary, their effort was genuine — which makes the results more unfortunate in this context.

Close, but wrong analogy :-)

On May.24.2004 at 12:25 PM
tim’s comment is:

Tan - good point; perhaps I stretched the analogy too thin. Where my thoughts traveled: Duchamp didn't draw a moustache on a classic work of art; he rew a moustache on a cheap postcard reproduction he picked up in a metro station. The original is on display in the Louvre where it can be seen and appreciated. However, it is the postcard reproduction that the general public has contact with.

The heated discussion of what the new UW logo has done to Bass' original struck me the same way - the original still exists, and we as designers can still appreciate his work. The reworked logo is the one currently seen by the general public.

Hope that clarifies my thinking! :)

On May.24.2004 at 01:48 PM
Tan’s comment is:

>The heated discussion of what the new UW logo has done to Bass' original struck me the same way - the original still exists, and we as designers can still appreciate his work. The reworked logo is the one currently seen by the general public.

very well said, tim. From that vantage, I see your point.

On May.24.2004 at 02:36 PM
debbie millman’s comment is:

I dont use it. Never heard it used before. I know Landor has BrandEquity and Sterling has BrandBees. Maybe I need something to fit in? Something Brandtastic, brandlicious perhaps? I can come up with an assortment of names but worry that I wont be able to inflect the right amount of saleability in the holistic Brand assessment demographic of brand stewardship. We have AEs for that right?

If anything "brandtastic" (nice word, Felix!) is used only as a sales ploy, then it is simply that: a sales ploy. But not a terribly compelling one, I am afraid to say.

If I had to pick one belief system that I find that many designers have that I believe is the most delusional it is this: that being a successful designer is all about being a fabulously talented designer. It is not. That is only one part of it. Being a fabulously talented designer is essentially achieving what I call "operational excellence." In the same way that Apple makes innovative mp3 players, ie the Ipod, or Kate Spade makes cool handbags. But this “fabulous talent” does not guarantee that either company is going to be successful at communicating their message or serving its audience--the people. (Remember the Newton?) Just because you have fabulous product does not guarantee you will be a success! Especially in this day and age. I think that in order to be truly successful you must be able to communicate WHAT it is about a specific design that is fabulous and inspire people to understand it and feel the same way. This is what I personally consider to be "branding."

I wonder if anyone at SVA or Parsons teaches Brandology 101 to young designers. Are we willing to teach kids the buzzwords along with the lessons? Fortunately guys like Sagmeister (who kids look up to) are dispelling the recent myth that marketing salesology perpetuate good design.

Maybe not "brandology"--but how about this? How about teaching kids how to talk about their design work strategically, or to think strategically about design in an effort to help make choosing design options more than just a "beauty contest." I have been teaching marketing and presentation techniques at a local design college and it startles me when I hear the kids talk about a design that they have created.

It goes something like this:

"This is a really cool design I did for a new beer product. It is really cool cause it uses this great metallic foil and wow! look at how the type is popping out of the background. Good stuff!"

Now while I heartily admire the enthusiasm, it is hard for me to imagine a brand manager at Anheuser Busch going for that particular design for those particular reasons. The strategic rationale behind the cool design--and how to come up with it and develop it and objectify the design choices we are making is what we should be teaching young design students.

On May.24.2004 at 02:39 PM
Feluxe Socksmell’s comment is:

The strategic rationale ....and how to come up with it and develop it and objectify (it)... is what we should be teaching young design students.

strategic rationale?... yes, sounds good. but to a 19-21yr old skateboarding nonconformist? How about Ideology? Better yet free Pepsi and treats!!! I guess certain things we do just dont naturally capture ones imagination.

On May.24.2004 at 06:10 PM
Michael Surtees’s comment is:

Class act today David — a lot of people could learn from you today myself included.

On May.24.2004 at 06:43 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:

David:

You've got some BIG KUHUNA'S MAN.

Couldn't help but smile at the Footballs and

Cigarette Lighter. Damn, Branded Products already.

I think you better scroll back up top and look at the picture. Like I told Felix.

I'm the HEIR to the THRONE. I'll let you have your moment. YOU DESERVE IT.

Jose Nieto:

I may have hit below the belt. My MODIS OPERANDI

is to get people to look at the total picture.

Your Shakespere analogy well understood.

At the same time, you wouldn't fall in love or have and interest in someone because they dressed nice or had long hair. You should want to get to know the total being. Not just one aspect.

FYI, Virtigo is one of my FAVS too . If you haven't seen NINE HOURS TO RAMA, SECONDS,

BUNNY LAKE IS MISSING, WALK ON THE WILD SIDE

GRAND PRIX. Give them a try.

CASINO, may be BASS' GREATEST WORK.

If you're really into Title Design. Check out

the work of MAURICE BINDER, PABLO FERRO, SANY DVORE, DAN PERRI, DANIEL KLEINMAN, PHILL NORMAN,

NINA SAXON,PACIFIC TITLE, WAYNE FITZGERALD,

HOWARD A. ANDERSON, and RANDY BALSMEYER,

And apparent HEIR TO BASS' Title THRONE KYLE COOPER.

Referencing, Maurice Binder, look beyond the James Bond Titles. Look at early work such as,CHARADE 1963, Surprise Package, The Chase, Repulsion.(others)

Forgot to mention: TIBOR KALMAN

Did some very experimental and ground-breaking

work in Film Title Design.

DEBBIE:

Identity Design is my RAISON D'ETRE !!!!!!

As well, BASS and RAND.

Many thanks for the 411 on the QUAKER OATS, BASS Identity Icons name. Swear to GOD, My brothers name is LARRY.

When I found out Sterling was revitalizing the QUAKER's Brand. I ran to the Super Market to see if the LEGENDARY BASS Identity Icon was changed.

I almost had a HEART ATTACK. It is the TRUE ESSENCE OF QUAKER OATS. Thus, Sterling's research proved the same.

Certainly, setting an example of which all IDENTITY CONSULTANCIES can learn.

KICK ASS, job on revitalizing the Brand. However, the Quaker Man that graces the front of the packaging did get a FACELIFT.

THANK GOD, LARRY WAS LEFT ALONE!!!!!!!!!

THANK YOU and your Partners for letting LARRY LIVE!!!!!!!

On May.24.2004 at 07:27 PM
Feluxe Socksmell’s comment is:

Maven, please read your posts.

You dont have to shout.

Love, Felix

On May.25.2004 at 04:54 PM
Jose Nieto’s comment is:

You should want to get to know the total being. Not just one aspect.

Point well taken. As I wrote before, we need a good Bass retrospective, and we need it soon. (Anyone from PAP, Norton, or Yale reading this?)

Thanks for the tips on movie title designers. To your list I would add Marlene McCarty at Bureau, who did, among others, American Psycho, The Ice Storm, and I Shot Andy Warhol -- nice conceptual work.

On May.25.2004 at 09:37 PM
Frank Lin’s comment is:

From reading the last 108 postings, here is my 50 cents:

1.) I feel that much of the dismay towards the old logo is misdirected because it is comparing the new logo in accordance to what United Way was, 30+ years ago. I see very little critique done in terms of relating the aesthetics to what United way is TODAY.

Here is what I mean:

a.) One of the biggest changes is the reduction of the hand's role in the new logo. There was criticism in regards to the submission of such a powerful concept. When the wrist is deleted in the new design, it gives way to an enlargement of the "y" shaped human figure. As David Weinberger has said, United Way has shifted its focus from receiving donations to making a community impact. The larger figure and reduction of the hand symbolizes this transition.

b.) I believe David Weinberger had said that the rainbow concept has shifted into "sun rays" > something to that effect. In accordance to this, I can understand why the curved stripes look the way they do and also I believe their alignment with the fingers are improved from the original version. (the reduction from 4 to 3 lines reflects the need to simplify just as the lines are deleted from the fingers right?)

c.) There was much disliking of how the typography and logomark interacted... In my opinion, increasing the size of the name "United Way" really doesn't harm or compete for the attention of the logomark. Here is why:

Some logos symbolize, describe, or do none of the above. However the only real constant of all logos is that they serve to IDENTIFY the company.

The brand of the company (logo, design, marketing, advertising, product, service, corporate attitude, etc) is what actually represents the company. With that said, normally a company would want to REDUCE reliance on the written name and use its logo for identification. To reach this stage, indicates a high level of public and consumer familiarity for the brand.

However, in this case I can understand the intention of seperating the logomark from the numerous hand/figure symbolism driven copycats and clones. The "United Way" name is thrust back into the spotlight in order to reinforce the perception of who this company is. In a way it's going back to basics of redefining and establishing the core identity --thru its NAME!

d.) Finally there was disdain for the choice of typography. I am not a master typographer, however the rounded slab serifs do relate to the rounded edges of the human figure and softness of the hand. Thus I think it is not so bad as some may indicate. Upon initial intuitive viewing, the typeface is friendly yet serious. Again this is without diving into the micro-aesthetics & details that designers go into war about.

In conclusion I think most of the changes in the new logo reflect the changing dynamics and identity of 2004 United Way. From what David has explained; the aesthetic changes do reflect this. I feel comparing the new logo to the old logo would be like comparing myself at age 24 to when I was 16. It's the same person yet it really isn't.

There are some details that are more about preference --like whether to have stripes in the hands or not. Felix proved that adding lines to the hand would not hamper the design at smaller sizes and not having the stripes may actually muddy the appearance of the hand! Nonetheless, I think such issues reflect the attentiveness of a designer and not the detriment of the design since I doubt the redesign would ever be shrunk that damn small.

All in all I feel the logo is not so bad, not so great, but definately not worth some of the treatment it has garnered. It does unite the visual elements much better...Perhaps it is a victim of impossibly unbiased comparison. Let's see if this logo can last up to 34 years like its predecessor before we call it a piece of shit.

-Frank

p.s. When I wrote this piece, I didn't set out to take sides; after much ponder, I thought I had a point of view unique to the already present commentary...

On May.26.2004 at 12:49 AM
Armin’s comment is:

Frank, good points, yes.

> Nonetheless, I think such issues reflect the attentiveness of a designer and not the detriment of the design since I doubt the redesign would ever be shrunk that damn small.

Here is where I have a problem with the way many of these large rebrandings ensue. Under the excuse of the bigger picture a lot of the attentiveness by/of/for designers is getting lost. I'm not condemning this logo in particular, but over the past year — see NWA, VH1, Nikon, AIWA even UPS (although I have learned to "like" it) — many of these new logos are being poorly executed because the brand of the company (design, marketing, advertising, product, service, corporate attitude, etc) will eventually carry the weight. While that is in fact true and I do not argue that, it should not serve as an excuse to ignore the craft and principles of good graphic design…

Problem is, that anybody who argues for "good design" is shunned because it is subjective to do so. Whatever.

On May.26.2004 at 09:17 AM
Frank Lin’s comment is:

That is a good point Armin. The execution and craftsmanship of a logo shouldn't have to suffer because of the branding process and I hope I didn't insinuate that...I assumed Futurebrand would have gone thru all of these issues of craft during the refining stage; I gave them the benefit of the doubt.

On May.26.2004 at 09:32 AM
Armin’s comment is:

Sorry, I didn't mean to imply you implied that… your comment just sparked my comment.

On May.26.2004 at 09:36 AM
David Weinberger’s comment is:

Super Bonus Photo

On May.26.2004 at 02:31 PM
Mamoru Shimokochi’s comment is:

As the designer of the original United Way identity, working closely with Art Goodman (art director) and Saul Bass, I would like to offer my comment. What is the basic purpose of an identity, but to identify! To create a trademark, symbol, logotype that clearly differentiates and is instantly recognizable.

The concept behind the original mark — the helping hand reaching out to help the community reflects the essence of United Way’s mission. My approach to identity is that the concept needs to be conveyed as simply as possible and with a visual that’s strong, quick and memorable.

The bottom line is — does the new mark work better than the original? Is it strong, quick and memorable? I think not. The new mark lacks a feeling of credibility and quality. The logotype is too fussy and the symbol’s elements (the hand, rainbow & figure) are not well integrated or staged within the panel. I won’t elaborate further, except to say that the hand does not read at all well and is barely legible at a reduced size.

I’ll just add that the comments of Rick Valicenti and Michael Bierut mirror my own.

Mamoru Shimokochi

Shimokochi-Reeves

On May.26.2004 at 07:40 PM
Peter Scherrer (ps)’s comment is:

mamoru,

thanks for commenting. i think hearing from the original designer helps the conversation. i hope its not your last comment (and anne, i know you have an opinion... go for it...)

my personal belief is that the united way identity needed a face-lift. do i agree with how it turned out? not necessarily. the same applies for ups. i agree with michael beiruts notion that if offered a redesign-job, its okay to turn it down because there is no need for it. but i also refuse to treat logos as untouchable, just because they were done by the past masters of the trade. there is room for an old version in the museum, but there is room for a fresh version in the marketplace. the year is 2004.

On May.26.2004 at 08:24 PM
David Weinberger’s comment is:

Mamoru, welcome to Speak Up and I am happy that you are able to share your opinion with us.

Your design was an integral part of United Way's identity for over 30 years and it served them very well. We have simply evolved the mark. I am sure you have read most of the comments above and I just want to reinforce that there were legitimate issues with the mark that we did address and that will make the mark work better for United Way.

On a separate note I'd like to apologize for automatically and incorrectly assuming that Saul Bass was the sole designer of this mark. I guess it's like assuming that Walter Landor designed the FedEx logo. I hope you don't mind me asking, but the photos I posted above, which came from a book on the history of United Way, have always seemed strange to me. I have never seen a designer "sign" a logo before. A CEO of a local United Way, who was present the day Bass presented the original logo, remarked to me that the presentation seemed to be more about Bass than United Way. The photos seem to support that, but I'm curious how all of that went down internally at your office as far as Bass signing your design.

On May.27.2004 at 09:04 AM
Mamoru Shimokochi’s comment is:

David,

On your question, when you work for the legend, that's the way it was. It's his company, don't forget.

I personally benefited greatly from working with Saul - exposure to great projects and experience - today's young designers don't have such an opportunity.

I'd like to add that Art Goodman desrves more recognition as Saul's right hand man for many, many years.

Mamoru Shimokochi

Shimokochi-reeves

On May.27.2004 at 07:58 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:

Jose Nieto,

Marlene McCarty, thanks for adddig her to the list. Inspirational work.

I personally forgot to add, Robert Brownjohn,

Steven Frankfurt, Richard Greenberg, and De Pati Freleng Enterprises who did the Titles for Pink Panther in 1960s. And Richard Williams Studio that created Pink Panther Titles in the 1970s.

Andrew Greenberg is credited Title Designer for Son of Pink Panther 1993

Will take this time to mention Everett Aison

influenced by BASS did some experimental film title work.

BASS RETRSPECTIVE:

The first was the Ginza Gallery Japan. Which was a Retrospective.

Jose, The second SAUL BASS Retrospective was at the School Of Visual Arts 1996. One month before his untimely death.

The third exhibition of note. The Hollywood Entertainment Museum, February 20, 2003 to April 13, 2003. Mostly Film Poster Design.

The next schedule exhibition of SAUL BASS' work

is The Design Museum July 17, 2004

Not sure if it is a Retrospective or another Poster Design Exhibit.

One of the things that bothers me in reference to SAUL BASS. History has portrayed him as predominantly a Designer for Cinema. Partly true. Most of the articles in reference to SAUL BASS will discuss his Film Career.

Rarely does the interview discuss Mr. Bass Corporate Identity and Branding Career.

Neither does it discuss Mr. Bass was a Designer of Children Toys, Product Designs. Designed and Built Homes, & Commercial entities. To include, interiors, set design, textiles, type design etc.

During the fifties, SAUL BASS Designed one of the first protype playgrounds which was implemented in Washington DC, Cleveland, Chicago and Los Angeles. I had the privilege of playing on those playgrounds when I was a child.

Through personal research became unaware Mr. Bass was the Designer when I saw the totality of his work.

How many people on Speak Up is aware SAUL BASS is the Designer of the Sculptura Telephone ???

The sheer magnitude and immesity of SAUL BASS'

career is astonishing.

Unfortunately, if left up to History. SAUL BASS will only be recognized as a Designer of Movie Titles. Fact of the matter. SAUL BASS became BORED with Movie Titles. Which is why there is a fifteen to eighteen year lapse in his Film Title Career. An area of Visual Communication which he was the leader.

Ultimately, SAUL BASS wanted a BIGGER SLICE OF THE PIE. Which was to Direct Movies. And continue with his Corporate Identity and Branding Practice.

Never quite got the Film work he sought. Except Phase IV. While lobbying for producers to financially back his movies.

Producer(s) wanted SAUL BASS to make their movies.

And bring their vision to reality.

Mr. BASS opted to make his own Independant Films with his wife Elaine Bass. Collaborating with Ray Bradbury, Robert Redford. (others)

All were successful.

FYI, I announced this on Speak Up 2003. Under Best and Worse Category.

Look out for the book on the Life of Saul Bass.

Projected to be released January - June 2005.

Initially, I stated the book will be released spring - summer 2004.

On May.27.2004 at 11:17 PM
Jose Nieto’s comment is:

Look out for the book on the Life of Saul Bass.

Projected to be released January - June 2005.

I missed that on the "bests and worst" thread (no excuse, I even posted on it). Sucks that we have to wait another year, but it's good to know that it's happening.

Again, thanks for the info on title designers. I'm sure we could have another whole thread on this.

On May.28.2004 at 12:40 AM
DesignMaven’s comment is:

Mr. Shimokochi:

Many thanks for joining the Discussion. However,due to my own personal commitments. I posted your web address. With every intent of contacting you. Time didn't allow.

However, I did send word to HERB YAGER, TOM RUZICKA, ROBERT W. TAYLOR and other BASS Alumni.

I agree, Art Goodman should get recognition.

As Illustrator at Bass Yager and Saul Bass Associates.

Art Goodman had been with Saul Bass from the beginning. Started with Illustrators Incorporated.

Freelanced with Saul Bass before moving into a Full Time Position.

The problem is most of the Articles on Mr. Bass

didn't discuss associates. Some of them mentioned Art Goodman.

That's unfortunate. At the same time, there are a lot of unsung heros of Saul Bass & Associates and

Bass Yager.

For instance:

1. Phyllis Tanner, Designer Saul Bass & Associates The Designer of the Lawry's Identity.

2. Bob Zoell, Art Director with Saul Bass & Associates. Airbrush Luminare.

3. Robert W. Taylor, Designer at Saul Bass & Associates. Noted Identities, Brothers Coffee, Denver International Airport. Voted one of the BEST Identity Designs of the 20th Century.

4. James Cross, Sr. Designer at Saul Bass & Associates. World Renowned Identity Designer and member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale.

5. Dave Nagata, Sr. Designer at Saul Bass & Associates. Respected Designer.

6. Don Jim, renowned photographer.

7. Joel Katz, Designer at Saul Bass & Associates. Renowned Graphic Designer.

8. Darrell Hayden, Began his career at Saul Bass & Associates. Renowned Identity Designer/Consultant.

And former Worldwide Creative Director Landor

1985-1993.

9. John Casado, Designer with Saul Bass & Associates, renowned Graphic Designer.

10. Jerry Kuyper, Designer with Bass Yager, renowned Identity Designer. Presently Creative Director and Sr. Partner Lippincott & Margulies.

11. Vince Carra', renowned Identity Designer, Design Director Bass Yager. Former owner Luxon Carra'

Presently Owner Partner TrueBrand with John Diefenbach former owner of Diefenbach Elkins Davis Baron, Now FutureBrand.

12. Richard C. Runyon, Designer,worked with Saul Bass Noted Identity Designer. Originally Designed Identity for Federal Express. Noted for Designing Identity for Oraweat.

13. Gregory Thomas, worked at Saul Bass & Associates. Noted Identity Designer.

14. Howard York, worked at

Bass Yager, Respected Identity Designer/Consultant.

15. G. DEAN SMITH, Design Director, of Bass Yager.

One of the Greatest Identity Designers that ever lived. Bar None.

You will not find any of these Bass Alumni in any history books and articles on Saul Bass. All deserve credit for helping SAUL BASS reach his

PINNACLE.

Mr. Shimokochi, as you know, the aforementioned names are a microcosm of Design Talent that was groomed and prepared for Life via the Rights of Passage at Saul Bass & Associates and Bass yager.

I'm in full agreement. Designers of today don't have the comaraderie nor benefit of a Designer of Saul Bass' IMMENSE MAGNITUDE.

Having said that, my Acquaintance David Weinberger learned his craft (Identity Design) at

the prestigious Design Consultancy of Joel Katz.

A SAUL BASS ALUMNI. What better education can he have???

David, Now, I think it's time for you guyS to share a coffee.

No more EAST COAST vs WEST COAST RIVALRY.(laughs)

That's what ended the careers of BIGGIE and PAC!!!

On a more SOMBER NOTE DAVID. I've met the Who's Who in the Design World.

I'm not claiming to be a Friend of Saul Bass. However did benefit from meeting him three times

at the Aspen Design Conference throughout the years.

Saul Bass was the least POMPOUS Designer I ever met in my LIFE!!!!! Bar None.

Anyone that has been in his PRESENCE will TESTIFY to that fact.

I question the SECOND HAND information you received from the person at United Way.

It was never about SAUL BASS.

It was about Family, and Life, Design was always third on Bass' list.

On May.28.2004 at 01:01 AM
Steve Mock’s comment is:

It was about Family, and Life, Design was always third on Bass' list.

Amen to that, good brother.

On May.28.2004 at 07:04 AM
Robert W. Taylor’s comment is:

Seeing my name in Design Maven's comments, I thought I speak up as well. I've been following the discussion some what which has focused for the most part on the design merits of the helping hand symbol. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and after 30 years of admiring the design of the original helping hand, I can't say that the new symbol is any great improvement in my mind.

The design of the helping hand symbol aside, I'd like to go back to the title of this topic, "A More United United Way". To me this deals with "uniting" the use of the logo in applications which for some reason got way out of control. What ever happened to the Graphics Control Committee that thirty years ago was to oversee misuse of the logo and maintain consistency of the identy program? What's in place now to prevent this misuse from happening all over again?

Successful programs must maintain consistency over many years. I suspect that this is even more difficult in an organization of over a thousand independently run community organizations than it would be for a large corporation. Unless there is some way to control this, the individual organizations will still want to do their own thing. I think that's just human nature and a lack of seeing the big picture.

For me, it seems the real problem United Way faced was one of consistent use of their identity more than the design of the hand symbol itself. Uniting their image under a new brandmark to signal their new community focus is common practice in rebranding and may prove successful. I'm just sad to see a perfectly good design change so much in the process. What's done is done and I just hope the new program will do what it's supposed to do and truly "unite" United Way.

On May.28.2004 at 04:09 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:

Mr. Taylor:

Many thanks for your online contribution.

Apologies for not adding you to the list

of Identity Design GOD's. Charge the omittance to my head and not to my heart.

Inclusion:

Somehow while extemporaneously writing my list

of BASS Alumni. I forgot to add these names.

1. Arnold Schwartzman, former Design Director Saul Bass & Associates. Academy Award Winner for his Documentary GENOCIDE. Member Alliance Graphique Internationale.

2. Paul Bruhwiler, former Art Director, Saul Bass & Associates. Expertise, Corporate Identity and Branding,Print,Advertising Animation. Devotes much of his time today Educating, and Lecturing. Concentrates soley on Poster Design.

On May.30.2004 at 10:41 AM
Feluxe Socksmell’s comment is:

Maven,

If graphic design were on on TV you be workin it on Entertainment Tonight. Its like a whos who and who knew.... I love it but the name dropping is getting outta hand. Write a book on the unsungers and I'll buy the fucker.

As a collector of old logo books one strange thing rings consistant: Big companies (firms) usually forget or purposefully omit the names of the logo creators. Wiat'll you get a load of the next logolounge book. Landor claims to have designed the Coca Cola mark, BMW, Disney, AVAYA (mine), and a whole host of identities they didnt have the remotest connection to.

On that note: Youre correct... Saul Bass has always anchored the profession. As has Milton.

On May.31.2004 at 08:20 PM
Art Goodman’s comment is:

It is understandable that a corporation or service group would want to update or better itsexisting TM or service mark. Times change and public needs and perceptions change. In this particular case, the graphic change was neither better nor more contemporary. The revised design borders on being cartoonish and weak. The hand looks like a surgeon's rubber glove filled with air. I can't imagine what the criteria were. The existing mark is still bold, impactful, and exciting. United Way is a fine organization. Whoever approved this mark is without aesthetics or taste. Shame on the design firm that sold them this revision.

Sincerely,

Art Goodman, former Design Director, Bass/Yager & Associates

On May.31.2004 at 10:13 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:

Felix

Allow me to DROP one more name.

Speak Up's own Residential Identity Design GURU and Brand Evangelist. Felix Sockwell is listed in GRAPHIC DESIGN USA May 2004.

As a Corporate Identity Trend Setter.

Along with Mike Quon. (others)

The aforemention Revelation was made by

Bill Gardner creator of Logolounge.

See page 50 Illustration number nine. Graphic Design USA MAY 2004

Felix I'm proud. I stand in

your SHADOW.

On Landor, those that know the TRUTH KNOW !!!!!

CocaCola's sixties Identity in the Red Square was Designed by Lippincott & Margulies. Rei Yoshimura was the Designer.

The original CocaCola mark derived from the owner's or advertising artist handwriting.

BMW was Designed in 1917 by Josef Popp. Well documented.

The BMW 3Dimensional revitalization is by InterBrand Zinxmeyer Lux. Well documented on their website.

Landor did do signage for Mercedes Benz didn't create the Identity.

Landor did revitalize Disney's Brand in the early 1990s The original Identity was more than likely created by WALT DISNEY

One of the GREATEST DESIGNERS OF OUR TIME !!!!

See this book.

Marks of Excellence (The History and Taxonomy of Trademarks) (ISBN:0714838381)

Author: Per Mollerup

Published by Phaidon Inc Ltd.

Price: reasonable, under forty dollars

Felix, how do you think

P.Diddy, Lil Kim, and Foxy Brown got PAID.

Rappin bout Versace, Prada, & Gucci.

I figure the more I mention BIERUT'S name among other(s). The Richer I'd get.

Haven't seen a PENNY. But I'll keep on Trying. I told Michael B. If I don't start seeing Residuals.

I would adopt Carson.(big laughs)

NOBODY LIVING IS BIGGER THAN UNCLE MILTI.

Ivan Chermayeff and MASSIMO VIGNELLI are

equally as Gifted.

UNCLE MILTI RULES THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!

GREAT TYPOGRAPHY on AVAYA.

Mr. Art Goodman:

Many thanks for your contribution to Speak Up.

Certainly, one of the GREAT ILLUSTRATORS and VISIONARY'S OF OUR TIME !!!!!!!!!!

On May.31.2004 at 10:39 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:

Forgot to mention:

After writing on TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES website. 'SAUL BASS should have a month dedicated for his GENIUS and Accomplishment

in the arena of Film Tile Design'.

TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES is devoting the entire month of June to SAUL BASS FILM TITLES.

Which will be featured every Wednesday in June.

I take no credit for this. I'm sure many others did the same.

It's about time !!!!!!!

Great five minute short, between Turner's Classic Movies. FeaturingKYLE COOPER showing selected BASS Titles. As well, acknowledging SAUL BASS as his inspiration.

DUST OFF YOUR VCR's and PROGRAM YOUR DVD RECORDERS for this one.

On Jun.01.2004 at 12:47 AM
Jamie Sheehan’s comment is:

This is a joke, right? If you are going to mess with a master like Bass you'd better bring SOMETHING to the table or NOT bother at all. The latter being preferred...

Remember when names like Saul Bass mattered? Now something called "Futurebrands" which says NOTHING about anything are doling out homogenzied, boring, about-to-be-dated imitations of the original: and more disturbing, clients are lining up to pay for it . And if this is the "future" I'll happily live in the past and even turn in my beloved Mac.

On Jun.01.2004 at 08:59 AM
Tom’s comment is:

The original CocaCola mark derived from the owner's or advertising artist handwriting.

Frank Mason Robinson, the book keeper of John Pemberton(the pharmecist/inventor of Coke) named and created the original Spencerian script logo in 1886.

On Jun.01.2004 at 02:27 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:

Tom:

Thanks, I was close enough. I have the information somewhere in my archives.

Glad you provided Factual Information.

I was rattling extemporaneously. I sent Felix some stuff.

Lippincott & Margulies didn't create the Original Coca Cola Identity. They did revitalized the Brand in 1970s. Directly responsible for naming the Brand Coke. Creating the Wave under the signature. Placing the Brand in a Red Square.

Landor, did revitalize Coca Cola's Brand in the late 1980s early 1990s. Landor did some work to the Script lettering.

Refined the Red Square. Placed the word Coke under the Wave. Changed font Lippincott & Margulies used for the word Coke. Made the font Italic. Coke was then placed under the Wave in the Red Square.

The word Coke was placed in the Red Square with the Wave. As separate Branding Style.

Landor modified what L & M already created. They did work on Revitalization.

On Jun.01.2004 at 10:56 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:

Clarification:

For argument sake.

Before anyone tell me Lippincott & Margulies

didn't actually name Coca Cola "Coke". I'll

say you're probably right. I'm sure Coca Cola

was called "Coke" back in the 1800s when it actually had Coco Leaf in it for Medicinal Purposes.

To my recollection, Lippincott & Margulies is

the First Identity or Creative Consultancy to

Market and Brand Coca Cola as "Coke"

Example, McDonald's has never been Marketed or Branded as Micky Dees.

As far back as 1968-69 when I was a child. We've always nicknamed McDonald's Micky Dees

Yes, McDonald's flirted with the Idea of incorporating the name Micky Dees on

their interior signage. It was not official.

Meaning, Trademark or Service Mark.

Although, there was talk of making Micky Dees

a spin off of McDonald's. It never happened.

Until an entity is Branded with a name it doesn't exist.

Thus. Coca Cola may have been nicknamed "Coke" for 100 years or more.

In actuality the name wasn't born until it was Branded and Marketed.

On Jun.02.2004 at 12:25 AM
David Weinberger’s comment is:

I dont think we do the same thing. You are a marketing/branding guru. I am a designer.

Felix, I just couldn't let this one go. I am a designer as well, although I partly agree with what you are saying. Being a designer at a large brand consultancy is different than being a designer at a small boutique design firm. It is also different than being an in-house designer at corporation and different than having your own design shop. One position is not better than the others and none are inherently more creative or "pure" than the others. I've worked at two boutiques and two brand consultancies. All designers.

On Jun.02.2004 at 11:31 AM
Feluxe Socksmell’s comment is:

Felix, I just couldn't let this one go. I am a designer as well...

Lets call it a marketing/branding designer and leave it be. Labels are silly, right? I do take issue with your belief that big cannot boutique. How about Duffy? Even the Brand Integration Group (O&M,NY) seems to be doing fairly tasteful branding (btw- I co-founded that group). I think your firm can gain alot more respect on this site/elsewhere simply by practising better, more responsible graphic design and less branding.

That dirty marketing/branding monkey on your back is more based on repitition, spin, trend forcasting and demographics than ground breaking ideas. Currently I dont see anything remarkable or refreshing about the future of branding much less Futurebrand.

But thanks for giving the work a voice. At least you have balls.

On Jun.02.2004 at 09:09 PM
Mark’s comment is:

Sigh, This is so sad its a tragedy,distilling famous marks to corporate-like eye candy.

I get the wrong feeling from the new mark, let me explain.

First the old logo:

What I get from this logo is a sense of community,working together,taking care of the little guy (as indicated by the small figure),we're here for you,the joy from the small figure that the gentile giant hand is here to help him/her,it feels that the big hand is going to help the little figure up,this may sound cheesy but this logo is uplifting,hopeful,positive,the rainbow gives a sense happiness a bright future,"the light at the end of the tunnel". Overall this seemingly old,outdated has an effect on me.

Possibly probalbly because it was designed by an individual and not a big corporate firm?

okay, now for the new logo.

Honestly when I see this I think "kids toy maker" you know like playskool,hasbro etc,it looks corporate designed,its almost like a kindergardender designed it,the rainbow seems to mean nothing other than simple eye-candy used to fill up the upper half of the circle or like a colorful background to say "ooh ahh",The rainbows cutoff at each end,signifying NOTHING,The figure seems trapped between the rainbow and the hand,also coloring the figure in red gives me a sense of fear,the blue hand seems like its recieving the figure and cut at the wrist and made with so many curves that it seems it was just quickly drawn in there,without care,The figure's so close to the hand it almost seems that the hand is going to snatch the poor figure, Whats worse the symbol (or dare I say, logo) is EXTREMELY shrinked, put in a box to make room for the corporate-like typewriter font of "United Way" thats also in a rectangle,the name "United Way" takes so much dominence that the name is more important than the symbol just to keep copycatters away,sigh to even add more insult the logo has TM meaning Trade Mark which mean this is a symbol for a corporation rather than an organization, which is made to be traded,sold,used,for money.

This is a logo designed by FutureBrand a big corporate design company.

Sigh,it just seems that they took the original logos elements modernized them, reinterpirated them to overly simple monocolored designs in of them selves, minimized in a circle for the importance of the trademark name.

a logo that says "ask and you shall recieve(or get I might add)"

Good job Futurebrand you took a great organizations logo and made it into a shell of what it used to be.

obviously I dont like the new logo.

What really bothers me is that the logo was cropped into a confining, claustrophobic circle and then put off to the side.

If they didn't put it into a circle,left the rectangle out,didn't make the name so big I might think differently about it.

On Sep.29.2005 at 06:50 PM
Mark’s comment is:

If you do not like the new logo then heres a little fun thing you can do take the three elements below save them, insert them into powerpoint or paint and play around with them.

I bet ya loads of fun.

and will probalbly relieve stress too.

hand

figure

rainbow

On Sep.29.2005 at 08:51 PM
Mark’s comment is:

For anyone who says hands are hard to do may I humbly submit .........this:

Don't get me wrong this isn't an insult it just shows some people have talent some don't

I think Saul Bass didn't know how to draw hands either so his hand didn't quite look accurate neither does the new one, my big problem is that in both of them the thumb seems kind of squished and it gives me terrible thoughts that the hand is crushed or the thumbs twisted in a bad way.

overall I think its the best for both the logo and us for this new logo to go in place everywhere, now if only you could equalize the size of the text with the shape a little bit.

my ideas:(please copy and paste link into address bar)

http://img447.imageshack.us/img447/1368/unitedwaycustom1b3jw.png

http://img488.imageshack.us/img488/7562/unitedwaycustom2b5rf.png

BTW two things one you don't need to be a 100% accurate drawer to make logos and two hears what a real cupped hand looks like if you want to get an example of a true-to-life look.

or you can use your own hand.

On Nov.08.2005 at 12:56 PM