Comment

Most design disciplines think in the long term. Architects design buildings to last for generations; industrial designers create products that will withstand endless hours, if not years, of use.

Graphic designers, whether we admit it or not, are trained for the short term. Most of the things we design have to discharge their function immediately, whether it's a design for a book or a poster, a website or an infographic, a sign system, or a business card. In school critiques, architecture and industrial design students produce models. Graphic designers produce finished prototypes. As a result, the idea that we create things that are unfinished, that can only accrue value over time, is foreign to us. It's so easy for us to visualize the future, and so hard to admit that we really can’t. That's what we face every time we unveil a new logo.

And so every time a major identity is introduced today, it's subjected to immediate scrutiny. Why not? It's fun. It's risk free. Every client wants to have an audience «connect on an emotional level with their brand.» And then when they do, it's not always what they hoped for.

Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, anyone evaluating a brand new logo at first glance is — to paraphrase my partner Paula Scher — reviewing a three-act play based on what they see the moment the curtain goes up. Or, to put it differently, they think they're judging a diving competition when in fact they're judging a swimming competition. The question isn't what kind of splash you make. It's how long you can keep your head above water.

Michael Beirut.