Speak UpA Former Division of UnderConsideration
The Archives, August 2002 – April 2009
advertise @ underconsideration
---Click here for full archive list or browse below
Cisco: The Bridge between the Old and the New

Guest Editorial by Design Maven

Mention the name CISCO and several word association images are conjured in my mind. The Classic 1950s Western Television Series starring Duncan Renaldo, CISCO and Leo Carrillo, Pancho. The other association, WAR, a Prominent Funk Rock Band of the 1970s and 1980s with their Gut-Wrenching, Booming-Bass, Soul-Stirring hit CISCO KID which was a staple in my musical diet for many years.

This is not about the legendary television series nor funk rock hit records. Rather the corporation CISCO SYSTEMS, which established itself as the manufacturer of equipment used to create Internet networks and phone systems — routers and switches that make up 60 percent of the company’s $28 billion in revenue — it now wants to become the company that consumers think of for voice, video, data and wireless products.

Cisco Identity Evolution

CISCO’s Identity has undergone several incarnations throughout the years. The previous Identity (bridge enclosed in a box) was created in-house.

Gary McCavitt, Creative Director, Worldwide Brand Strategy and Identity initiated the Identity and Brand Development for the current project. He had the support of CEO John Chambers who wanted some of the DNA of the bridge incorporated in the new Identity. This project is part of a new marketing campaign: “Welcome to the Human Network”.

Old and New Cisco Identities

The new redesigned CISCO Identity is the result of two old hands, Masters of Identity Practice Joe “Phenom” Finocchiaro and Jerry “The King” Kuyper. They first met in the early 70s, when they were in school at the Allgemeine Gewerbeschule, The Basel School of Design. Later in their careers they collaborated at several of the First Tier Identity Consultancies.

Joe had already been working with Bob Jones, Senior Art Director at Cisco, to develop a corporate serif and sans serif font family. When Joe received the call to redesign the Identity for Cisco, Joe immediately contacted his friend Jerry Kuyper, currently an independent identity consultant.

The former bridge in a box Identity presented multiple problems to me: It was confining, limited in visual meaning and scope. Furthermore, always reminded me of the bars in a graphic equalizer or bar chart.

The new Identity is streamlined, it adequately addresses the goals and aspirations of management’s vision of how it sees itself, what it has become and where it wants to go. Joe Phenom and The King breathed life into an otherwise visually cluttered Identity.

Brevity, Clarity and Verve were incorporated to Support Management Vision. Identities need to Accurately Reflect Corporate Mission, Voice, Image and Culture. In that Respect, The New Cisco Identity is a Success. This Identity should last Cisco a Couple of Decades without Revitalization even through Merger and Acquisition.

This writer wonders if the 100 Million Simoleons invested in the new CISCO marketing campaign resulted in the Corporation acquiring usage rights to WAR Classic foot stomping music CISCO KID for advertising and promotion. Current campaigns are incorporating classic hits as Anthems to enhance, differentiate and sell their products. If not the lyrics, at least the Anthem for CISCO advertising should incorporate WAR, CISCO KID, booming bass and heart pounding beat to signal change complimenting the new Identity perfectly as it dances in unisom to the beat.

“A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust, and a hearty ‘Hi-yo…

Wrong Show!

Oooh, Pancho.

Oooh, CISCO.


Interview with Jerry The King Kuyper

DM King, can you share your initial observations of the Cisco Identity?

KING Joe and I noted the existing Cisco Systems logo had several unusual aspects:

— the length of the name forced the logotype to appear small and the bridge symbol to appear heavy
— the condensed logotype related to the vertical elements in the bridge but was not easily readable
— the existing bridge did not appear to be supported above the water which reinforced the perception of a bar chart

DM Can you share the Criteria of Cisco Identity Project?

KING Several important criteria were established at the onset:

— the communicative name would be Cisco not Cisco Systems
— John Chambers was interested in maintaining some DNA of the Cisco bridge
— ease of reproduction was critical
— our work needed to align with the new brand positioning

McCavitt encouraged us to explore the full breadth of options, insisting he would “rather rein us in than feel we had overlooked any opportunities”.

DM Please expound on the name change from Cisco Systems to Cisco.

KING Shortening the name to Cisco allowed for more focus on the name. Joe and I explored maintaining the visual equities of the condensed font while improving the forms and legibility. As the project progressed we felt the open round letter forms were more approachable and worked better with the Cisco name.

DM Please expound on the Merit of keeping the DNA of Bridge.

KING In addition to our bridge studies, a complete range of non bridge concepts was explored and presented. In hindsight the bridge concept was always difficult to beat. It has been a part of the visual identity of Cisco Systems since the early days of the company. The bridge concept has always been effective as a metaphor for connection and interaction. Today, as Cisco moves into new businesses and markets, the bridge concept is more relevant than ever.

DM What were the Reproduction Problems with the old bridge vs the streamlined bridge?

KING The previous logo had caused reproduction challenges in its ability to be scaled down and applied on small devices. This was a driving factor in exploring new alternatives. We examined bridges of varying complexity with the goal of reaching a simplified bridge that was easy to reproduce. At one point we were working on directions that were reduced down to five elements. There it was clear the bridge had lost its essence. As Cisco continues to move into consumer businesses it is even more important that the logo can be reproduced across a wide range of media, from product identification to various screens.

DM Cisco is based in San Jose, Joe is in New York and You’re in Westport. Did the locations add to the challenge of doing this project?

KING Joe and I made several presentations to the Cisco team in San Jose early in the project. Once we had established our relationship with the Cisco team, we agreed that all additional meetings would be online. Joe and I have the rare ability to work together, literally on each others files, in a harmonious manner.

As part of Clinton’s Global Initiative, John Chambers recently announced he wanted to reduce the carbon emissions of Cisco by cutting travel and using networked technologies for communications. We were glad to do our part for this initiative. This project could not have been done in this manner five years ago. Without the Internet this immediacy of communication and exchange of ideas would not have been possible.

DM Did the project entail any work beyond the logo development?

KING We developed recommendations on their partner and affiliate logos, tagline usage, stationery system and initial identity standards. We worked closely with their internal team and consulted on numerous other issues.

DM Any other closing thoughts?

KING I think Cisco is doing well at communicating how the internet has transformed the ways we live, work and play. The CISCO home page has a link to an array of sites that really demonstrate the significance of Welcome to the Human Network.

DM Mr. Kuyper, thank you for your time and attention, I trust you and Joe will join us online for discussion and discourse of the Revitalized CISCO Identity.

KING Thank you for taking the time to further your understanding of our project, DM. I would be pleased to join the discussion.

Maintained through our ADV @ UnderConsideration Program
ARCHIVE ID 2795 FILED UNDER Branding and Identity
PUBLISHED ON Oct.15.2006 BY Speak Up
Feldhouse’s comment is:


Great review and interview. The insight into this identity is really fascinating. I have a few observations with this identity.

First, for a technology company, it is good to see them branching out and aiming for simplicity. This is definitely a key part for implementing it in multiple applications. The succinctness of the mark will help Cisco for years to come, however, I do feel the mark could be even stronger.

My initial thought is "Christmas." Not only are the colors in the Christmas palette, but the bridge reminds me of two trees. The mark doesn't suggest a bridge as much as just lines in its current state. Perhaps the anchor lines could be a bit longer? See what I mean here.

If you visit their website, the title of the site is "Cisco Systems, Inc." I thought they were communicating "Cisco" as their communication means. — the communicative name would be Cisco not Cisco Systems.

The mark does its job as laid out by the objectives, however, I don't know if it reaches its full potential. There are several things working with the mark and several things that detract from the mark. I am happy to see the typography not be a trendy typeface which seems to happen with identities these days.

The strengths of the mark are the size, the simplicity, and the gutsy move to re-identify Cisco Systems as Cisco. The weaknesses are the color palette, the typography, and the unclear representation of the bridge.

I trust that Joe and Jerry reviewed these points carefully and ultimately had too many people picking at the identity to keep it how they ultimately might have wanted it. I am sure the color palette was not in their control either. Overall, I think this identity is a very progressive move in the area of technology and identity and hope this can set the bar for other companies looking to re-brand.

On Oct.15.2006 at 08:34 PM
Mr. Frankie L’s comment is:

Respectfully, aside from the red, I don't think that shade of "dark teal" coincides with Christmas..The DNA may have origins as a bridge, but I think in this latest incarnation, the current form seems focused as a visual abstraction for voice, video, data, and wireless -- which it does well.

On Oct.16.2006 at 12:25 AM
felix sockwell’s comment is:

I think this is an incredibly fresh, reductive statement- immeditely bridging the gap from old to new. Well done, fellas.

On another note, I think it bears mention that neither Joe Fino (nor miles newlyn - for Unilever) recieved mention for his Bank of New York redesign in the lateest LogoLounge3. I contacted Bill about the discrepancy and have come to the conclusion that he (Bill) bears little (or no) responsibility for any oversight regarding crediting. Apparently, its now normal (appropriate?) for designers to be stripped of any authorship when it comes to large corporate identity assignments. Would Paul Rand (if he were alive) do work for Lippincott or Landor annonymously?
Hell no. Not on your life. Yes, the system has changed. But for the better?

On Oct.16.2006 at 12:11 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:

Just Chiming In.


While I'm trying to understand your points of improving the Visual Strength of the bridge or typography.

I honestly don't see how elongating two of the bars is a visual improvement.

I'm certain Jerry and Joe developed many creative studies of the bridge and felt communicating the name CISCO and making the bridge recede with color having less dominance was better suited for the redesigned Identity.

One of the major problems with the Old Identity. It was confined in a black box, the visual strength of the bridge in a black box detracted from the name, CISCO which added visual clutter.

If you look at a bridge in Nature bridges aren't confined.
If you look at a bridge from an angle there are no vanishing points it continues to infinity. We know in Real Life that's not true.

The now defunct CISCO bridge was handled very much like and Illustrator would draw an Illustration. Why not incorporate a SUN, WATER, and Put Cars and People on the Bridge?

Semiotically, this isn't possible, because you must reduce all elements to their Barest Essential.

The New CISCO Identity properly addresses this issue with
allowing the name to be the Focal Point, very prominently showcased in Red.

The bridge is just a hint in the background as a reminder of CISCO's history, which is why the color recede the bridge.

The Eye Travels to the Name first, then travels to the Bridge which is a secondary element.

Joe Developed both typefaces for the now defunct CISCO Identity and the current Identity.
I think the current typeface is far superior to the defunct typeface.

John, what colors would you incorporate for the new Identity since you have a problem with the color scheme???

In reference to why CISCO SYSTEMS is still being used on their website.
That's an Excellent Question for Jerry and/or Joe to Answer.



Good Points indeed, one of the major, major problems with Corporate identity and Branding today.
Many of the Buy Out Consultancies are only Empty Shells of their former shelves.

They Need a Joe Phenom or Miles Newlyn to Develop and Design their Identity work because they No Longer have Personnel with Gifted Hands.

Don't blame it all on Gardner, much of the Responsibility is on the Consultancy, their Contracts with Identity Designers, and credits they submit for Identity work.

To prevent this problem, making yourself aware of who Designed which Identities.

Would Gardner be Liable if he Published Joe Phenom or Miles Newlyn names and it was not in their contracts to publicly be acknowledged in Annuals other than work being displayed on their website or capability brochures???

Between you and Me. I hope this is a New Trend, Corporations hiring Independent Identity Designers, the work is less Superfluous and Superior to any First Tier Consultacnies work.


On Oct.16.2006 at 01:01 PM
KevinHopp’s comment is:

Hooray Beer! I can't believe it, SpeakUp FINALLY allows the designers a chance to tell the story behind their logo!

I may have missed an earlier article where this chance was given, but it's been a long time comin' for me.

There's nothing more annoying than a bunch of bloggers ridiculing a piece of work in which they have no understanding of the background. Just as annoying, is the blog itself exploiting the designer by not inviting them to speak up for their work.

Thanks Design Maven whoever you are! Are we going to see you in Top Gun 3 wearing your WWF jumpsuit?

Fieldhouse - Christmas? Setting the bar? Please clue me in on what you mean by ...and hope this can set the bar for other companies looking to re-brand.

On Oct.16.2006 at 01:28 PM
felix sockwell’s comment is:

Don't blame it all on Gardner

read my post. I blame none of it on Gardner. You do (or did, last year when this topic was brought up). Don't get all Wavey Mavey on us.

I know you love ganja. I'm with you buddy. But these are working hours.

back to the design... its absolutely perfect. I wouldnt change a thing.

On Oct.16.2006 at 01:31 PM
debbie millman’s comment is:

The new logo is perfect, perfect, perfect. Best redesign I have seen since Margaret Youngblood's work for BP.

Great article and interview, Maven. Thank you!

On Oct.16.2006 at 01:39 PM
felix sockwell’s comment is:

ahem, you mean Landor's work for BP...:)

my dad has worked for BP for 42 years (as an auditor)...on a trip to houston last month I asked him how it (the redesign) was taken.
"Yeah, well, they all hated it".

Father, I said. They know not what they do.

On Oct.16.2006 at 01:53 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:


I've NEVER inhaled!!!

More a Disciple of Timothy Leary.
Only interested in his Psycho Analysis.


Many thanks and xoxoxo.

FYI, Arm will dis-own me for saying this
publicly. I feel a need to make an announcement so others will step up.

I'm taken one for the Team in this Respect. Trying to keep any Semblance of Identity and Branding Discussion alive on Speak Up.

There is No More Recent Rebrandings, Dead, Done and Gone Forever.

The only way to Read about Identity work on Speak Up is to write the Editorial yourself or a Speak Up Author chooses to write about Identity or Branding.

Otherwise Rebrandings are Dead and Gone Forever.

I'm walking point, and falling on the sword and I'm taking one for the Team.

I trust others will follow my lead and Step Up.


On Oct.16.2006 at 02:16 PM
KevinHopp’s comment is:


You appear to be the authority on rebranding in this thread, so the following is addressed to you,

Quoting tHe DEsIgn mAVen,
I hope this is a New Trend, Corporations hiring Independent Identity Designers, the work is less Superfluous and Superior to any First Tier Consultacnies work.

I know it's difficult to read because of the childish capitalization, but can this statement be supported by fact? Is it a new trend? Are first tier consultancies horrible design consultants?

Thanks Debbie.

On Oct.16.2006 at 02:16 PM
felixxx’s comment is:


What the hell are you talking about taking one for the team? You on Foley's team? I realize you're in DC... and thats how you roll (over). But, falling on your "sword"...? I hope you have a nice pillow (to bite). Lord knows we rebranders know how to take it in every position possible.

On Oct.16.2006 at 02:25 PM
Kevin Hopp’s comment is:

The only way to Read about Identity work on Speak Up is to write the Editorial yourself or a Speak Up Author chooses to write about Identity or Branding.

The only thing we ask, is next time please do not capitalize the first letter in every other word. It may be fun for you to type and talk in this fashion, but it's very difficult to read.(see: Editorial Layout 101 and Writing for the Web 101)

I hope to see more relevance, thanks for what you call "stepping up".

On Oct.16.2006 at 02:30 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:

Taking on for the Team in this Respect
mean keeping Discourse Alive in Speak Up's Community in Reference to Identity and Branding.

To my knowledge, David Weinberger is no Longer writing them and Arm has Discontinued Recent Rebrandings as a Topic of Discussion on Speak Up.


Those in the KNOW are AWARE.


On Oct.16.2006 at 02:39 PM
felixxx’s comment is:

aha. yes. thx.

well, we presshy ate it, DM. nice work.
and glad to see youre out of retirement.
welcome back. and screw KH- keep writing
with incorrect grammer - thats part
of your trademark and we'd have
it no other way.

Back to my new Dylan CD- "Modern Times"

On Oct.16.2006 at 02:47 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:

Kevin Hopp:

"I hope to see more relevance, thanks for what you call "stepping up".

My Editorial is Perfectly Written.

Which you should have something Revelant to Comment Positively or Negatively in reference to CISCO's Identity Redesign.

In reference to my Personal Writing Style.

I've never twisted your Arm or asked you to Read anything I've written. Obviously you were interested in something I had to say.

If not, why bother reading my comments.

I only Read Comments from Posters or Commenters
I trust or whom know what they're talking about.

I don't recall reading anything you've ever written.


On Oct.16.2006 at 02:54 PM
Derrick Schultz’s comment is:

good to see you back on here. A nice write-up and I think an excellent rebranding.

If DM's writing style is off-putting, just imagine its in German and it will begin to look (and sound) right. I swear it works :)

On Oct.16.2006 at 03:45 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:


Many thanks.

Jerry The King, Kuyper Co-Designer of CISCO's Identity was the First to Preview my Editorial in Rough Draft.

He sent me back a little note asking, "Maven
do you have German Blood" in you, I've never Read so many caps in my Life.

True Story.

My last comments of the day to allow other Comments in reference to the Merit of CISCO's Rebranding.


On Oct.16.2006 at 04:13 PM
Jerry Kuyper’s comment is:

If you visit their website, the title of the site is "Cisco Systems, Inc." I thought they were communicating "Cisco" as their communication means. — the communicative name would be Cisco not Cisco Systems.

Regarding Feldhouse's initial comment, I'm not sure what was mean about the title of the site.

Cisco is the communicative name to be used in spoken and written communications. It appears six times, including the logo, on cisco.com.

Cisco Systems, Inc. is (and has been) the legal name. It is used in the address block on stationery and on all legal documents and copyrighted materials. It appears once at the bottom of the home page.

Cisco had become the de facto communicative name over time. This identity program formalizes what had been in use. When possible people shorten names with abandon: Federal Express becomes FedEx, General Electric becomes GE and WGBH becomes 'GBH.

The expense and time required to change the legal name of a global corporation would be overwhelming. There would ned to be a compelling reason, such as a merger, to warrant even considering changing a legal name.

On Oct.16.2006 at 04:59 PM
Feldhouse’s comment is:

I wouldn't change the color scheme, however, I am just commenting on the nature of what it appears to be. I know this is a corporate decision and likely out of the hands of designers involved. I also agree the typeface is far superior to the old, however, I still feel the typography is disjunct to the abstract nature of the mark. Like I said, I am glad it's not a trendy typeface, but I do think it is slightly awkward. In regards to the bridge, I know this is an abstract representation of a bridge but I think you lose the "anchor" posts in the bridge when they are cut off too short. Just my visual opinion and aesthetic.

Please note it's not Fieldhouse. Just a pet peeve. In regards to what you asked I would say that this logo is far superior to any recent logo creations for a major company. Why? No gradients to try to add to its dimension, it is stripped down to its bare essence, and it is conceptual. It has the makings of a great mark and it's HIGHLY applicable. I think you lose that with AFLAC, Sprint, at&t, etc. This mark sets the bar for other designers and it's great to see such a thing occur.

Again, Kudos to Joe & Jerry.

On Oct.16.2006 at 04:59 PM
KevinHopp’s comment is:

Design Maven,

I said thanks for posting good material.

I never said I wasn't interested in your article.

I just asked that you would do most of us a favor and refrain from writing like a child raver while you're in public.

I'm not sure my opinion really matters on the CISCO redesign. If you must know I think it's a supremely well finished update. It's clean, the typeface is great. The mark has a nice movement. It will probably speak fluently to their audience.

I completely disagree with the xmas notion. That's simply ludicrous and short sighted. I also don't think any one logo can set precendence over other logos as Fieldhouse suggests. There has been good work, and there will be more good work to come.

I agree with most of what you mentioned about the logo, and I'm not the one to participate by adding two cents of which has probably been said. (I dislike long-running redundant blogs) But the following I found somewhat nebulous, so please clear this up for me...

If you look at a bridge in Nature bridges aren't confined.
If you look at a bridge from an angle there are no vanishing points it continues to infinity. We know in Real Life that's not true.

The now defunct CISCO bridge was handled very much like and Illustrator would draw an Illustration. Why not incorporate a SUN, WATER, and Put Cars and People on the Bridge?

Semiotically, this isn't possible, because you must reduce all elements to their Barest Essential.

I guess I just don't understand why this was brought up, the bridge doesn't look illustrated, don't you think it looks more graphical, or so far as maybe, statistical? To be honest, I didn't even know it was bridge before it was mentioned.

I'm totally at fault for not liking the whole 'semiotically' thing. This is probably solely my beef, but I took several courses in Linguistics, and suns and people or cars do work as a semiotic language. However, I think what you are trying to say is that to design under the auspices of Modernism the designer must reduce everything down to it's barest essentials.

Moving forward, as far as, being 'in the know' or part of your 'Speak Up circle', I must apologize, I don't have the time nor gumption to entertain those kind of sentiments.

DM Said,
I don't recall reading anything you've ever written.

Have you heard of the Ann Arbor Paper? I've done quite a few music reviews for them as well as cover designs. I don't really consider myself a writer per se. It's difficult to call myself a writer when my best friend is a Sr. copy writer who knows much more about style, usage, grammar, literature, etc. I'm more of a dabbler with a strong palette for good writing.

But since YOU haven't read anything of mine to date then I'm such a loser because you're like the epicenter of culture, valor and coolness, right? You and your stylistic writings and generic interview questions....I'm missing the point here Mr Maven, why are you worried about content? I simply said that your incorrect grammar is difficult to read, but of course you should know that, you're the designer and the writer.

On Oct.16.2006 at 05:29 PM
KevinHopp’s comment is:


I have to disagree that one logo set's precedence for all of rebranding.

I feel that each project that I've encountered has it's expected limitations and (hopefully) a certain amount of play.

I'm not questioning whether it's good work, I think it speaks for itself in that matter, but I don't think that you can scrutinize AT&T the same as CISCO, or any others for that matter. Unfortunalely there aren't a million ways to rebrand a sphere and stripes, it can only get as good as it can get. (oh yah, don't forget that there is a hungry bureaucracy amongst the agency and client side which will eat up all the good ideas before we get the chance to dump our partially invalid opinions)

I agree with you that it's a momentous event in rebranding considering some failures (to a designers eye), but let's just hope that if CISCO is used as an example that people don't get caught up on the aesthetics, and the history is included (even the designer's comments!)

On Oct.16.2006 at 05:49 PM
debbie millman’s comment is:

Kevin--I am most definitely *not* the authority on this (or any topic for that matter), but I will definitely add my two cents about the recent trends. I can't do it right at the moment, but will asap. Off to teach my 6 o'clock class...

On Oct.16.2006 at 05:55 PM
Mr. Frankie L’s comment is:


Design Maven writes a certain way. It is his trademark style and he's been doing it this way on Speakup for as long as I can remember. If you have an issue with his grammar, then send him a private email. To post about this instead of the topic at hand, makes you come off like a [piece of brussel sprout].

On Oct.16.2006 at 06:22 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Official Word: Design Maven's style of writing is unique; as the person who went through the write up and kept the uneven capitalizing I do apologize if it caused strain, I just wanted to keep his quirks in a fairly "calm" review on his part. I hope that's the end of that discussion.

Mr. Frankie L, I am changing the last word of your comment to something funnier.

On Oct.16.2006 at 06:32 PM
Jerry Kuyper’s comment is:

Feldhouse, thanks for your comments

I think your suggestion of making the bridge supports longer is a reasonable one. Our client was very concerned about the real estate the logo required in certain applications. An overall logo that is 10% taller results in a logo (and name) that is 10% smaller when vertical space is limited. This version was determined to have the best balance of elements.

Our intention was to use the round geometric forms of the logotype and the rounded forms of the bridge to create an harmonious relationship.

Earlier we also designed a new condensed logotype that was carefully considered by our client over the course of the project. The condensed logotype not only maintained existing visual equity but related to the vertical qualities of the bridge. In the end, the consensus was that the selected logotype worked best with the specific letter forms within the Cisco name.

Other considerations:
- the shortness of the Cisco name reduced the need for a condensed logotype
- the round open letter forms were easier to read and appeared more contemporary
- this was viewed as one opportunity to also signal some change which segues into color...

We observed that, with the previous logo, it was unusual to have the name appear in the more vibrant of the colors. As you would suspect, we looked at the bridge symbol and logotype in numerous colors and color combinations.

Initially there seemed to be interest in changing the colors. The one caveat was that their products had used the "blue" color consistently. I put "blue" in quotes because that is how Cisco describes the color. Joe and I always referred to it as teal. In the end, I don't think they felt there was a compelling reason to change. In a corporate world where 60-70% of companies use blue, there is a fair amount of differentiation red and "blue".

Changing the communicative name to Cisco, vastly simplifying the bridge and launching a new marketing campaign probably began to feel like a lot of change. Joe and I had color directions that we preferred but the Cisco team made a carefully considered and informed decision. In corporate identity, it doesn't get much better than that.

On Oct.16.2006 at 06:43 PM
felix sockwell’s comment is:

In corporate identity, it doesn't get much better than that.


btw- who is the "team" on this? gotta give em props. its very simple yet fully realised. Now... if only we could get someone to redesign Verizon... ugh.

On Oct.16.2006 at 07:13 PM
Jerry Kuyper’s comment is:

Joe Finocchiaro and I were the outside consultants and collaborated on all creative work and presentations. We worked with the Creative Director, Worldwide Brand Strategy and Identity at Cisco, and his team.

On Oct.16.2006 at 07:20 PM
Jerry Kuyper’s comment is:

On another note, I think it bears mention that neither Joe Fino (nor miles newlyn - for Unilever) recieved mention for his Bank of New York redesign in the lateest LogoLounge3

Since the issue was raised, I'd like to shed a little light on the credits for Bank of New York. The issue of credits in our profession is one of the most perplexing to solve. I think it is because we assume only one person can design something.

As you know (and anyone who has seen how large firms function knows) identity projects are team efforts with open critiques. Someone may have a concept, someone else puts up a rough sketch, a third person makes a break through suggestion (possibly a brand strategist), the design director works closely with the designer and the result is put into context and presented to the client (who might have additional good ideas). After a direction is approved a similar round of refinement occurs. At some point during this process often an outside consultant is brought in to provide varying levels of expertise and refinement to the final product. So who was the designer? All of the above, none of the above? Which is more important, the idea or the execution?

In the case of Bank of New York, Alex de Janosi at Lippincott developed the original concept and designed the initial mark. He provided direction to Joe Finocchiaro who made his usual exceptional contributions to the final mark. Not only was I at Lippincott at the time, I spoke with both Alex and Joe today to confirm the facts. No doubt many others contributed along the way.

I agree with DM that Logo Lounge can't begin to sort this out. Clearly design firms, big or small, don't have much incentive to publicize the use of outside consultants.

On Oct.16.2006 at 08:05 PM
Kevin Hopp’s comment is:

If encouraging legibility has rubbed some of you the wrong way, then I apologize, but in my defense...

First, I did not know that DM was using 'his style'. However, knowing that now makes my arguement stronger - if anyone out there has an issue with my critique then you should not come to a site that challenges graphic design, of which readability, grammar, spelling are a part of. If you missed the boat on irony, it just returned for your enjoyment.

Second, if anyone out there CANNOT handle their own work being critiqued then I suggest you invest in cows and a plot of land. This industry IS NOT FOR YOU.

Third, just because you're blowing sunshine up someone's rear-end doesn't necessarily mean you are contributing. Comments like "thanks", or "you rock" are endorsements, not contributions.

Fourth, Frankie L, I did contribute to this article quite nicely and in many different ways. I can't say any more or less than the next person. People were talking about ganja, Timothy Leary, DM was being self congratulatory and that was talked about, someone mentioned christmas, DM again talking about writing the article. I contributed just about as much as everyone else.

So, get your facts straight Frankie, and by golly clean up that shitty mouth of yours. The only thing I'm guilty of is not realizing that DM has some kind of headline/titling writing style which I will not admire, but respect from this time on.

On Oct.16.2006 at 08:27 PM
Kevin Hopp’s comment is:


Great work on CISCO.

Is the bridge just a bridge? I mean, is it suggesting anything else besides the bridge. It seems very audio, communicative, and even suggests some type of movement? Your thoughts?

I'm interested to find out what new logo forms you were exploring. Did they suggest any other metaphors to work on?

Someone has mentioned that the CISCO logo should be used as a benchmark for all rebranding to come.

Do you feel that each project has it's own set of limitations and would be difficult to find such a solid and reductive solution for other brands?


On Oct.16.2006 at 08:39 PM
Mr. Frankie L’s comment is:

So, get your facts straight Frankie, and by golly clean up that shitty mouth of yours.

Oh the irony of that statement.

(I never used any foul language btw.)

From what I understand, SpeakUp has a somewhat casual atmosphere when it comes to making commentary, so you're going to come across all sorts of idiosyncratic tendanices. Of course if somebody is really incoherent, then I can understand some frustration. But DM didn't cross that line. Furthermore, you didn't have be so aggressive, ok?

On Oct.16.2006 at 08:46 PM
Feldhouse’s comment is:

Ok, back on track, guys. This shouldn't be a personal attack forum but an informative and open place to discuss design.

Jerry: Thanks for the response back. It is great to have your insight with this identity. If you are able to share with us, about how long from being contact by Cisco to October 2, 2006 did it take you, Joe and the rest of the team to finish this?

On Oct.16.2006 at 09:10 PM
ed mckim’s comment is:

it just didn't scream bridge to me... it's closer to DNA, or hands making obscene gestures (just joking, sort of

On Oct.16.2006 at 10:03 PM
dan’s comment is:

An interesting editorial Mr Maven! More, more..

In-depth identity debate and actual refined identity designs (like you constantly remind us all) just dont seem to be around.

Re: Cisco - I now feel slightly silly I didn't 'see' the bridge sign! I wrongly assumed the past usage was graph inspired or represented something mathematical... oops. I also agree with Kevin - the new version, although a simplified bridge does have an audio feel. Despite that the entire mark is a refreshing change to the gradient atrocities designed and consequently debated here in the past. Well done to the team and thanks for the additional notes Mr Kuyper.

On Oct.16.2006 at 10:09 PM
Jerry Kuyper’s comment is:


We began the project in October, 2005 and completed the initial round of work in December. For several months the project was on hold. We began again in April and concluded our work in July. The Cisco internal team worked throughout the project but was intensely involved through the summer until launch. The project and approval process were deftly guided by the Cisco Creative Director with whom we worked closely throughout the project.

I'm tempted to paraphrase Freud that sometimes a bridge is just a bridge. On a more serious note, we did discuss many of the other associations you mentioned.

I find identities that have multiple meanings to be engaging. Obviously one goes to great lengths to make sure no negative meanings are imbedded in a recommendation.

Joe and I generated numerous concepts and expressed them as logotypes as well as symbols. One concept that we developed was around the theme of a human bridge. This was an even larger visual departure from the previous logo and ultimately set aside. It may have had a part in inspiring the theme: Welcome to the human network. It probably goes without saying that it would be inappropriate to discuss in more detail (or show) any of the developmental work.

Each project has it's own distinct set of challenges and opportunities. I'm not an avid supporter of reductive solutions. In the 80s Prudential represented a classic opportunity when they had reduced the Rock of Gibraltar to a progression of straight lines. Kristie Williams, working at Siegel & Gale, created the current logo which is a much more satisfying representation of the Rock.

Ed and Dan
Don't feel bad about not seeing the bridge. It took me forever to see the eagle in the previous BA/Bank of America mark and the IP in International Paper logo. But it used to really amuse me when some clients couldn't see the arrow in Landor's FedEx or the white arrow in Fed Ex or even the white arrow between the E and the x in FedEx. Once they saw it, they bonded with it and they never forgot it.

On Oct.16.2006 at 11:07 PM
Michael Surtees’s comment is:

DM -

At first I didn't recognize your style in the questions, it seemed a little sterile. But I also read something else. It meant enough that you were willing to let others try to help you along the way. I can respect that.

I'm not the guy who's going to buy cisco so I have no emotional attachment to the mark. Though I always appreciated seeing the logo on PBS. My question in a general kind of way is this - are logos even relevant today when emotions influence people more than abstract symbols?

On Oct.16.2006 at 11:38 PM
dan’s comment is:

...are logos even relevant today when emotions influence people more than abstract symbols?

Michael, my general answer is - Yes. But many 'logos' are not able to evoke emotions, in my mind thats the job of the brand not the mark. Not to say that new identity designs should not be marks that can evoke emotions, and that old designers dont.. it's just that emotions are best applied through advertising and emotional responses are made by other factors than an abstract symbol or mark.

On Oct.17.2006 at 01:03 AM
DesignMaven’s comment is:



I wrote a Dissertation on the Subject for Michael whom is a personal friend, former Speak Up Author, perhaps straddling the fence in reference to Belief, Merit, Practice and Sustenance, Identity vs Branding.

Dan, I addessed an issue for you in Bold below.


My question in a general kind of way is this - are logos even relevant today when emotions influence people more than abstract symbols?

That's a Loaded Question and will Spark a Sure Fire Debate between "The Tangible", Corporate Identity and The "Un-Tangible" Corporate Branding.

You may want to read this exchange in reference to the Virtue of Identities vs Branding.


I don't look at Identities as being just a Logo. I think tha't half the battle. When you look at Identities as just a Logo, you're limiting the Identity to being just a piece of Art, which is purely cosmetic and has no Redeaming Quality. A Logo in and of itself has no meaning or value. It is Communication, Marketing, that drives an Identity.

I view Corporate Identity as a Communication Tool and I view the total Identity System. I cannot separate an Identity from its Architecture, Interiors, Print Advertising, Media Communications, Internet, etc.

Symbols are more Pertinent today than they ever were. Although I don't think the Identities of today are Aesthetically Equal to Identities of the Past. Nevertheless, the importance of symbols is not diminished by their Inferiority.

Symbols Represent, "The Quality" of a Product, or Service.

With Corporate Identity, Consistancy and Repetition are crucial. You begin with a modest franchise of Recognition and Understanding, and that Value become Greater
and Greater as Recognizability increases, as it gets attached to more and more events, more and more Products and Services. After time, it begins to take on Layers of

Meaning and Reassurances and Recognition, that together become almost Irreplaceble after a period of time.

When you're talking about Emotions, you're talking about Branding.

Branding has been the Hot Buzz Word for sixteen (16) years you're still representing a Product, or Service, in essence you're selling a Symbol.

Branding is not a Science regardless what others say. Branding is a Completely Made Up Practice, its HOCUS POCUS.
Which is why No two Branding Consultancies agree what Branding is or isn't. Everybody make it up as they go along.

Branding like advertising is Tactical because you do campaign one year and you may need to do something else the following year, perhaps even six month later. You also have the option to re-examine, adjust, eliminate, etc.

What is Branding? Walter Landor was the First I heard use the term around 1990. In short and laymen terms Branding Represent a Promise.

Branding refers to the added value that a Brand brings to a product. Products may or may not have Brand Values. Product Brand Values are manufactured by marketing and communications experts whom make them memorable. These values are fashioned in the mind and not the production floor. These are synthetic attributes. Whereas Products made in the factory, Brand Values exist in the mind. Brands can be timeless in a way Products may not be.

Branding is a marketing term it's mission is to analyze, strategize, develop and position products, services and corporate mission. Branding focuses on equity, image, promise, mission, values, style, culture and customer experience.

Corporate Identity is a Management Tool used to accurately address the Goals and Aspirations of a Corporation.

However, the Corporate Image is composed of all planned and unplanned verbal and visual communication that emanate from the Corporate Body and leave an impression on the observer.
The Corporate Identity (Symbol) is one of the major influences on the Corporate Image, it is all planned and all visual.

A successful Corporate Identity System visually separates and distinguishes a Corporation or Firm from its competitors.

The Corporate Identity whether a Trademark, Brandmark, Logo or Logotype is the Corporation or Firm's visual statement to the world of who and what the company is. How the Corporation see itself. What it want to be; and what it has become meaning Public Perception; how the world will view the Corporation.

The most important element of the Corporate Identity Program is the Identity Symbol. It is the first element of your Marketing and Communication Program the general public will see and remember.

At the same time, the Corporate Identity is the Flagship of the Corporation. It is the banner under which the President, CEO, and Managing Partners gather its employees to meet the public.

Cisco - I now feel slightly silly I didn't 'see' the bridge sign! I wrongly assumed the past usage was graph inspired or represented something mathematical... oops.Cisco - I now feel slightly silly I didn't 'see' the bridge sign! I wrongly assumed the past usage was graph inspired or represented something mathematical... oops.

That's the beauty of Identity Design. Each Designer, Citizen, Customer, Father, Mother, Child will bring their own personal vision feelings and experiences into deciphering the Identity and what it Represent to them.

1. John see two Christmas Trees.

2. Felix see two sticks of Ganje, (kidding).

3. Dan see Graphs or Mathematical Connotations.

4. Kevin see Audio Representation and so do I.

I see all the above.

Which is why I stated in my Editorial. "At least the Anthem for CISCO advertising should incorporate WAR, CISCO KID, booming bass and heart pounding beat to signal change complimenting the new Identity perfectly as it dances in unisom to the beat".

I was talking about an Audio Equalizer.

All of these assertions are Correct. Although semiotically they were not intended.

"Identity Design is open to many alternate positive interpretations. The point is, of course, that a good symbol should stimulate these and many more ideas that will mean one thing to one, and other things to another. And it should be susceptible to new meanings as you continue to see it, so that it remains alive and doesn't disappear into the innocuous visual clutter of the environment".

Saul Bass


On Oct.17.2006 at 02:15 AM
Michael Surtees’s comment is:

Thanks Maven

On Oct.17.2006 at 06:28 AM
dan’s comment is:

Unfortunatly DM in my neck of the woods it is time to sleep so i'll no doubt lay awake pondering the wise words and respond further when I wake! Just quickly re: the bold qoute - it really says all that needs to be said about identity design!

On Oct.17.2006 at 06:38 AM
felix sockwell’s comment is:

I agree with DM that Logo Lounge can't begin to sort this out.

Hold up. That was me, Dr. King. McMavey has a radical (liberal?) agenda against logolounge for some reason. I personally like what Bill's doing over there in his republican stronghold- Kansas. Yet I pick & choose from the dirty garden state.

Clearly design firms, big or small, don't have much incentive to publicize the use of outside consultants.

Big or small? Thats where you're wrong. Speaking from experience with both, small firms rarely lie on credits. Their world is smaller, relationships are more personal and they don't want to offend/ betray their peers. I used to work at The Richards Group in Dallas- widely regarded as one the best corporate identity firm in that neck of the woods (TX). They never lie or distort the facts about who did what for whom. If they did, it would cause internal problems. (Egos reign large but Karma is a bitch)

Big firms are the opposite (unless you have a personal relationship with someone on the inside). Landor (and others) love to bully me with "work for whore" contracts that exclude me from showing the work on my website (or anywhere for that matter). As one of the few hired guns in this arena, I believe I have a duty to uphold and/or maintain the ethics I learned long ago in Texas.

"The attitude of great poets is to cheer up slaves and horrify despots." — Walt Whitman

On Oct.17.2006 at 09:46 AM
RandomDesigner’s comment is:

As a designer at a corporate identity firm (perhaps even one of previously mentioned 'empty shells'), I must admit to other readers that the usual participants to this blog really are clueless on many of the CI topics that are written.

The incessant bashing of leading CI firms is so intriguing and uncalled for. Reading these blogs of you 'design experts' spew is not disimilar to rubber necking at a car accident - one really doesn't want to see it, but our morbid curiousity gets the best of us.

I wonder why your tone is so? Is it because you are jealous of the clients we get? No, can't be that. Is it because you are better designers than leading CI designers? Looking at a few of your websites and work you produce, it defintely can't be that. Is it because you applied for a job at a leading CI firm and got turned down and are still upset? Is it because we are not creative enough for your liking? Is it just an 'underdog' mentality, so once a design firm has grown and become successful - we aren't good/creative anymore? I wonder if a large CI firm did the recent Cisco logo instead of Joe and Jerry you would be inclined to bash it a bit more (not than there is any reason to). Geez, just can't figure it out so please do explain so we all better understand. Hey, could be an interesting discussion!

Designers discussing design is great, but reading the same group of folks talking to yourselves blog after blog, criticizing CI firms' design work, leaves many of 'us' shaking our heads in wonder and disappointment.

On Oct.17.2006 at 02:19 PM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

Random says, I wonder why your tone is so?
All right. I'll bite. I can't answer for anyone else, but I've bashed my fair share of coporate logos the last few years, so here goes.

Is it because you are jealous of the clients we get?
No. Most corporate clients seem like hell to work with. I like my clients, and I love the fact that I get to work directly with the decision-makers. I doubt I would have that opportunity in any Leading CI Firm.

Is it because you are better designers than leading CI designers?
I doubt it it. But I do look around and think I am better than about 2/3 of everyone else out there. I don't know whether I actually am or not, but if I didn't believe it I wouldn't be able to go to work in the morning and confidently present my thinking and my designs to my clients. I wouldn't even have clients. I imagine it is much the same with you, Random. If you didn't in your heart believe you were better (in some sense) than the majority of designers you wouldn't have gotten anywhere near the position you hold now.

Is it because you applied for a job at a leading CI firm and got turned down and are still upset?
First, I never wanted one. I'm not such a great team player unless I'm leading the team. Second, I doubt I would get a second look if I tried; I have no formal design education. Having said that, doing a stint for Michael Beirut is one of my favourite design daydreams.

Is it because we are not creative enough for your liking?
That's part of it. You don't have the opportunity to be. Only a few major corporations seem to allow real creativity. I'm not averse to limits. If I was, I would have been a fine artist, not a designer. But I don't like to work in a straitjacket, and that's the impression I get of most corporate work. I love the vision and risk-taking spirit that some of my clients have. Plus, I have the personal freedom to go find that type of client if the ones I have aren't to my personal liking.

Is it an 'underdog' mentality, so once a design firm has grown and become successful - we aren't good/creative anymore?
Of course there is an underdog mentality. We are all humans here. David didn't think Goliath was all that just because he was tall and had been killing people since he was a kid. I don't think you are all that just because you have a job at a Big CI Firm.

I wonder if a large CI firm did the recent Cisco logo instead of Joe and Jerry you would be inclined to bash it a bit more
Probably. See my last answer. Also, Mr Maven went to the source. That lack of involvement by "the source" has been much lamented in these discussions in the past.

...reading the same group of folks talking to yourselves blog after blog, criticizing CI firms' design work, leaves many of 'us' shaking our heads in wonder and disappointment.
I sincerely think it is good of you to pluck up the courage to stick you head out of your clique for a minute and talk to another part of the design world. Stay a while. Join the conversation. (Use less cranky sarcasm.) While you are here, look around; you will notice that there are a bunch of 'us' who aren't hacks like me.

On Oct.17.2006 at 03:57 PM
felix sockwell’s comment is:

I love Random's Rumsfeldian answers to his own questions.

When you dry your eyes, Random please join us in questioning why certain CI firms have zero backbone. As someone who has worked both sides of the isle I see Jerry/ Joe's work standing as a testament to the process, not something waving in the name of good or evil.

Can we come together and win the CI war? You bet. Should we set a date for the CEO to leave large firms and knock on our doors so we can read stacks and snooze away in upper level meetings? No way.

On Oct.17.2006 at 04:45 PM
Kevin Hopp’s comment is:

I don't see anything wrong with Random saying, "hey, what's all this bad mouthing going on?"

How soon you forget that CI firms are like any other business: they're in business to make money, hello? I'm not agreeing with the yes-man mentality one single bit. However, I know that some of these clients are so big that if they pulled out, there would be no more paycheck to feed hungry baby. And, that's life.

Coming from another point of view, who cares what AT&T looks like, they're a monger, a new world order. I'd only hope that their business fails, honestly. None of these corporations know how to treat citizen x012892.

They don't care about us, so why should we care about them?

Isn't it somewhat of a paradox that we actually care about some of these companies? Shouldn't we be celebrating when their aesthetic fails?

Or would we rather choose to celebrate our new CORPORATE identity work in the shadow of capitalism and all of its' atrocities?

Design is the symbol for our soul, but you can't draw one unless you have one.


On Oct.17.2006 at 10:30 PM
Kell’s comment is:

I'm not an expert in graphic design, nor do I harbor any negative feelings about the company, but the new design looks like two fists giving us the bird.

It's too bad Cisco has too many circular letters. Otherwise I'd love to see a design that incorporates a bridge in some clever way like FedEx does with the arrow.

I say this only because to me the bridge and the logo appear to stand independent of each other. I see the bars. And then I see the logo. Changing to just Cisco is good but the graphic needs to be better integrated with the company name.

On Oct.18.2006 at 01:10 AM
DesignMaven’s comment is:

Random Designer:

I love it when you Guys come on Speak Up and Declare, "We have No Idea What Goes on at a Large Corporate Identity Firm".

Actually, you sound like someone I know.
Almost Certain I know who you are.

I won't give you away.

That's No Excess for Cranking Out Inferior Identity Work. If the work was at least Comparable to Identity Design of the Past there wouldn't be this Outcry from the Design Community.

Both Jeff and Felix said what needed to be said more eloquently than I could've said it.

I'll deal with the Bare Bones of your questions.

Regardless of whom Designed the CISCO Identity, King, Phenom a First Tier Identity Consultancy, Design Firm, Branding Consultancy, etc. If the Identity was 3 Dimensional, Swooshed, Poorly Crafted, inclusive of senseless devices and needless Photoshop Filter Tricks, CISCO would've been shot down.

If a First Tier Identity Consultancy came up with the same solution I would've embraced the Identity based on Objectives and Criteria that Govern whether an Identity is Appropriate or not.

1. Originality

2. Memorability

3. Usability

4. Livability

5. Propriety,

6. Uniqueness

7. Visual Impact

8. Imaginative

Why is it the only People that Defend or Embrace the ineptness of the Current State of Identity Design are the very People Employed by the Mega Consultancies?

It leaves us Scratching Our Heads as well, at least those in the know.

The General Consensus among the Design and Identity Community, present day Identity Design is in a Recession. The work is Trendy and leaves little to be desired. Akin to eating Chinese Food, it taste great but it doesn't feel you up.

What work by any First Tier Identity or Branding Consultancy do you find Exemplary since 1996?

Other than bp, United, Burger King, Rockwell Collins, and Bank of America.

What's My Beef???!!!

To further exacerbate the problem, none of the First Tier Identity Consultancies are Independent, other than Pentagram. They've all SOLD OUT to Communications Conglomerates, WPP, OMNICOM, Interpublic, Publicis Group, Grey Global, Incepta Group plc.

MBA's, Marketing, Communications, Advertising and Public Relations Professionals are Heading these BUY OUT Identity Consultancies. There are very few if any Graphic Designers heading these Consultancies making Decisions.
This is why Design has become an after thought in the Creative Process, a Secondary Element.

Yes, Truth Be Known, all First Tier Identity Consultancies are All Empty Shells of their Former Selves.

No Disrespect to any of they names or Identity Consultancies mentioned I'm making a point, based on Historical Fact.

The Talent Today does NOT Exist Compared to the Old Days. The Craft Aspect of Identity has NOT BEEN Passed Down to the younger Generation of Designer(s). If Craft has been passed down, there's No Excuse for Mediocrity.

Smaller Identity Firms always Commenced the BEST Identity work, Chermayeff & Geismar, Vignelli Associates, Monigle Associates, BrandEquity International, Milton Glaser, ONOMA, Bar None.

Pentagram's Identity Practice is Far Superior to many of the First Tier's Identity work..

Landor, Lippincott & Margulies, Siegel & Gale, FutureBrand, InterBrand, Enterprise IG ARE ONLY as Good as their Personnel.

Landor's Creativity Died when Margaret Youngblood, left three years ago.

Margaret Youngblood is Essentially Irreplaceable.

Any wonder why Landor isn't Creating Great Identities anymore.

Fact of Matter, there has not been any Great Identities coming from Landor since Walter Landor Passed in 1994 and John Diefenbach sold Controlling Interest to Young & Rubicam.

Siegel + Gale's Creativity Died when Creative Directors Ken Cooke and Gene Grossman left two years ago or more.

You Can't Replace Ken Cooke or Gene Grossman.

Alan Siegel is a Great Leader, They Concurred the World when DON ERVIN a Living GodFather of Corporate Identity was Manning the Ship at Siegel. There's only one DON ERVIN.

Enterprise IG is not the same Identity Consultancy without the Vision of Gene Grossman, a GodFather of Corporate Identity Practice. Founded Anspach Grossman Portugal, now Enterprise IG.

I'm not Degrading these Identity Consultancies, I'm disseminating the Truth. As we know all know The Truth Hurts.

FutureBrand's Creativity Died when John Diefenbach Former CEO of Landor sold his Controlling Interest of Diefenbach Elkins and left to Consult with Wolf Olins. Then started TrueBrand with Vince Carra'. Since has moved on to other Endeavors.

Hell, Wolf Olins is NOT the same Identity Consultancy it was when Wally Olins was Manning the Ship.

Any Wonder why Henry Dreyfuss Industrial Design Practice Failed after his Death.

Any Wonder why M&CO is not a Force to Be Reckoned
with after the Death of Tibor Kalman.

Any wonder why ALL the Personnel at Saul Bass Retired after Saul Bass Died in 1996.

Rhetorical Question!!!!!!

Random Designer, easy to assume your Greatness or Superiority Hiding behind the Facade of a Conglomerate or Mega Identity Consultancy.

The True Testament of any Designer worth its Salt.

What can you accomplish on your own Hanging Your Own Shingle Random Designer?

I've been in Private Practice over twenty years. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Again, my apologies to any of the First Tier Identity Consultancies who's name I mentioned as an example.

If you'e Offended, Just Consider Me A Dumb Ass
Mis-Informed Designer.

Your Work nor Income will Suffer now that you work for all of Daddies 200 Clients.


On Oct.18.2006 at 08:59 AM
DesignMaven’s comment is:

Follow Up


"I'd love to see a design that incorporates a bridge in some clever way like FedEx does with the arrow".

The FedEx Identity Hidden Arrow is actually a Natural Occurance of the "E" and "x" type combination.

It's not that Linden Leader the Designer of FedEx Identity initially Developed the Identity to incorporate a Hidden Arrow.
The arrow semiotic was a Natural Occurance that was later refined to integrate into the Identity.

Read Full Story below.


Thanks to Old Man Winter, GUNNAR SWANSON, THE ALPHA MALE of Speak Up for BLESSING ME with that Link two (2) years ago.


On Oct.18.2006 at 09:36 AM
felix sockwell’s comment is:

The FedEx Identity Hidden Arrow is actually a Natural Occurance of the "E" and "x" type combination.

THank you, DM.

Some people have to have it fed to them with a spoon by some PR machine... come to think of it theres a ladle in there too...

On Oct.18.2006 at 10:36 AM
Jerry Kuyper’s comment is:

DM Thanks for the link to Lyndon Leader's interview.

I've had designers and clients insist the arrow is a naturally occurring phenomena between the E and x. I recommend an simple exercise, set FedEx in
Futura, Frutiger, Myriad, Univers and any other sans serif font. Futura Bold will probably give you the closest to the FedEx logo.

I give Lyndon credit for seeing the suggestion of the arrow and for the significant adjustments he made to make the result look natural. His interview also demonstrates that a large identity consulting firm can have backbone to stand up for what they believe.

On Oct.18.2006 at 11:28 AM
ed’s comment is:

Thanks to Old Man Winter, GUNNAR SWANSON, THE ALPHA MALE of Speak Up for BLESSING ME with that Link two (2) years ago.


yeah, the FedEx arrow is serendipitous

On Oct.18.2006 at 11:52 AM
RandomDesigner’s comment is:

Jerry, I understand you have worked at many of the large CI firms on both coasts over a number of years. Would it bepossible for you to weigh-in on the following...

- Has the level of logo design changed?
- Has the level of design talent changed?
- Has the level of commitment to a successful solution for the client changed?
- Has the level of creative direction changed?

We all know that the relationships between CI irm and client has changed as its no longer CEO meeting Mr Landor or Mr Grossman, but what do you think is the reason for such strong disdain for CI firms whose work is seen as 'inferior' by some...I also completely understand if you rather not get involved in this conversation - but your point of view would be of interest to all.

Looking forward...

On Oct.18.2006 at 12:38 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:

ThanksKing, Felix and ed:

King, you're correct one has to visually see the arrow before it is developed. Its there for all to see.

Felix, you're correct there is a spoon in the lowercase "e".

I trust the informed Community at Large doesn't think I'm saying Landor or any other Identity Consultancy is not Great.

Not true, I only want them to continue to Create Exemplary Identities. Furthermore, remain steadfast as Trendsetters not become victims of Scott Kelby's Photoshop tricks.

Great Talent Come and Go. It's a Major lost to Consultancies when very Talented Designer(s) leave and start their own Practices. Often times those shoes cannot be filled.

King, you having worked at Saul Bass, Landor, FrogDesign, Lippincott & Margulies, Siegel & Gale, and Richard Saul Wurman.

Joe Phenom, having worked at Landor, Siegel + Gale, Anspach Grossman Portugal, and Lippincott & Margulies.

On that Top Tier Level, there's a very Narrow Pool of Great Identity Talent to fill Identity Positions that can hit the Ground Running.

I'd like to see more Independent Identity Designers Commissioned to Develop and Design First Tier Identities.

It's not like you guys fell from the sky or are overnight sensations. You were actually creating Identity work under Great Names, (the name on the door) when the Public and Design Community were unaware of your names.

CISCO is Exemplary and should be a Wake Up Call for all Corporations to look to Independents. Most Important, Serve Notice to First Tier Consultancies, former Partners, are capable of attracting BIG BUSINESS.

Random Designer I thought I knew who you were, now I'm not so sure. I'll have to search further.


On Oct.18.2006 at 12:56 PM
Pesky Illustrator’s comment is:

Is it too late to ask for a little sombraro trademark instead?

On Oct.18.2006 at 01:22 PM
agrayspace’s comment is:

As nice as is the new identity is, I will proclaim it currenly renders like hell at small web friendly digitial sizes. Or at least the designer responsible for preping the graphics for the Cisco home page needs to be fired.

It's absolutely atrocious. Someone call someone and get a professional to fix it.


On Oct.18.2006 at 04:12 PM
Jerry Kuyper’s comment is:


Joe Finocchiaro worked at AGP for one year and has been an independent identity consultant for 22 years.

Joe didn't design the logotype for the previous Cisco System identity. He has designed complete serif and sans serif type families for Cisco.

On Oct.18.2006 at 05:36 PM
Jerry Kuyper’s comment is:

As nice as is the new identity is, I will proclaim it currenly renders like hell at small web friendly digitial sizes.

I assume you are referring to the Cisco site.

My initial reaction to the Cisco site was that the logo was too small. Making the logo 10 or 15% larger might solve the rendering problem and make for a more effective identification. Your comments have been passed on...

My perception is that many companies struggle with the sizing and placing of their logos on their web sites. I have seen logos jammed into spaces literally touching all sides as well as appearing almost apologetic. I realize every pixel is valuable real estate but optimally branding any site should be a priority.

On Oct.18.2006 at 06:45 PM
Von Glitschka’s comment is:

Wow! That is wonderful. So in ten years what will they do next? It's about as baked down as it can be, I don't see how they could improve it further?

I do want to say 'Crisco' when I look at it though. But I don't think that is a problem.

On Oct.18.2006 at 07:20 PM
dan’s comment is:

Wow - I missed quite a bit! So i've been thinking.. and in no way do I exuse the rendering of gradients, swooshs and bubbles or paint drips.. what ever the tacky technique is, is it not that perhaps the clients ill informed aesthetic is directing more of this web inspired 3D identity work in more mainstream large scale projects? Or is this the entire fault of the big bad (SOLD OUT) id firms? Im again confused as it seems easy to find clients that want web2.0 style logos, but less and less want the well designed opposite.

On Oct.18.2006 at 08:58 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:


I'm Partial to Gradients, that's why they weren't included. I was once an Air brush Illustrator.


Thanks for the Correction on Phenom's Career.

I was thinking about the Independent Projects he was involved with Landor, Siegel & Gale and Lippincott & Margulies.

Referencing, Northwest Airlines, ExxonMobil, Scudder, Stevens and Clark, Kemper Fund, (many others).


On Oct.18.2006 at 10:54 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:


I missed your Post. Thanks for gracing us with your Presence.

Crisco, cute.

The more Austere an Identity is the more longevity it has.

What do you think the Identity should look like in ten (10) years, if Redesigned?

Pesky, perhaps see the Bars and Cactus Plants with a Sombrero or the little man sitting in the desert leaning on a cactus plant. (laughs)

Can somebody find the little man in the desert leaning on the Cactus Plant? I can't upload server-less. Don't know the name of the Popular Image.


On Oct.19.2006 at 01:06 AM
Pesky Illustrator’s comment is:

Not from ME, brother Maven...that South of the Border cliche is so outdated. I was just a gurgling baby when the TV western was on, but I somehow have that Cisco Kid cowboy in my Memory Hard Drive along with Paladin and Speedy Alka Seltzer....funny how all that lingers...

On Oct.19.2006 at 08:36 AM
Tony Spaeth’s comment is:

I don't know where you guys (etc.) find the time, but I'm happy you do. Great discussion, worth saving, thanks especially to DM and Jerry. I hope somebody's building an archive of these logo crits.

On Oct.26.2006 at 06:26 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Ed's Note: Pointless discussion removed. German spelling fixed. And that's that.

On Nov.02.2006 at 08:04 AM
Mark’s comment is:

Personally I did not realize that the previous logo was supposed to be a bridge, it looked like a bunch of bars on a bar graph to me.

This graph refrence was further supported by the previous name of "Cisco Systems" which completely destroyed any hint of it as being a bridge.

This new one is an overall improvement over the old one with the removal of the blue background replacing it with the blue bars and the shortening of the name to Cisco cleared up the bridge refrence.

On another note, the name Cisco clearly refers to the short nick name of San Francisco (as in San Francisco ) , which is the city Cisco is located in.

The bridge they are portraying must be the Golden Gate bridge then since the first logo in the series was colored red.

Absolutely clever marketing ploy,it almost doubles as a promotion for the city itself!

But what's great about this logo is that it's ambiguity doesn't reveal the meaning immediately, which leaves the viewer up to themselves to 'figure it out'.

On Dec.17.2006 at 03:14 PM
Veena’s comment is:

Dear Sir,

Sub: Request for reprint permission

I take this opportunity to introduce myself as Veena Muraly M S, working as a Research Associate for Icfai University Press. I am part of the "Copyrights Cell" team handling issues related to copyright/reprint permissions from Icfai. I am writing to you to seek your permission to reprint the below mentioned article.

The details are as follows:

Article: Cisco: The Bridge between the old and the new
Author of the article:
Issue Details:
Page extent of the article: Full Article
Title of Publication: -
Source/URL: http://www.underconsideration.com/speakup/archives/002795.html
Title of Icfai Professional Reference Book: Cisco Growth Strategy
(Book title is subject to change after the final review)
Expected Date of Publication: July 2008

About Icfai:
The Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India (Icfai) is a non-profit organization involved, primarily, in imparting quality education. Presently, Icfai offers more than 50 programs in almost all subjects of contemporary interest and utility. The motto of Icfai is Merit with ethics and a passion for excellence.
About Icfai University Press
In order to survive and thrive in a rapidly transforming economic and business environment, executives and professionals need to continuously acquire emerging knowledge and skills. The Icfai University Press therefore brings out a portfolio of publications to make the much-needed knowledge available to its readers who include students, research scholars and working executives. Presently, the Icfai University Press brings out 18 magazines and 57 journals.
About Icfai Books
Icfai Books is the initiative of the Icfai University Press to publish a series of professional reference books in the areas of accounting, banking, insurance, finance, marketing, operations, HRM, IT, general management and allied areas with a special focus on emerging and frontier themes. These books seek to provide, at one place, a retrospective, current as well as prospective view of the contemporary developments in the environment, with emphasis on general and specialized branches of knowledge and applications.
These professional books are based on relevant, authoritative and thought-provoking articles written by experts and published in leading professional magazines and research journals. The articles are organized in a sequential and logical way that makes reading continuous and helps the reader acquire a holistic view of the subject. This helps in strengthening the understanding of the subject better and also enables the readers stretch their thoughts beyond the contents of the book. These books are designed to meet the requirements of working executives, research scholars, academicians, students of professional programs and Indian and foreign universities. Around 40 books are sent to print every month.

The books are meant for the purpose of dissemination of knowledge and information and are sold at highly discounted prices. The publishing unit is, therefore, heavily subsidized by the parent organization involved in higher education. If you need any more information about us, please log on to our website www.icfaipress.org.

In respect of the article for which, we now seek reprint permission, we shall be obliged if you would be kind enough to grant us permission to reprint the article in print media as well as electronic format in English or translated into other languages also, if required, for world wide distribution. For your kind information, the print run of the book would be normally 5000 copies in batches of 1000s.

Please consider our request and grant us the reprint permission. Due credit, in the prescribed format, is always given to the copyright holder

May we also request you to provide us with the following information for our use and records.

Name of Copyright holder
Specific credit line as you would like it to appear in the book Eg: source: www.---------©--------------Reprinted with permission.
Address for sending complimentary book

Looking forward to an early response from you and thanking you in anticipation.

With best regards
Veena Muraly M S,
Research Associate,
IBS Research Centre,
#240, Raj Complex,
III Floor, Lloyds Road,
Gopalapuram, Chennai,
Tamil Nadu, India-600 086
Phone: +91-044-2835 0567/68
Email: vms.icfai@yahoo.co.in

On Mar.11.2008 at 08:18 AM