One of the most iconic logos and meaningful brands of our generation was made by Caroline Davidson in 1971. She designed it for $35 with no creative brief, no marketing demographics, no research, and a tight deadline.
The logo was representative of the wings worn by a Greek goddess who personified triumph throughout the ages. She is the goddess of strength, speed and victory. The design was conceived solely on appearance, symbolism and perception. The company was a small footwear manufacturer founded by Phil Knight.
In 1972, the logo first appeared on footwear with the promise to help modern athletes soar to new heights. They did, along with a company that went on to surpass $10 billion in sales in 2003. The company is Nike.
For me, this story captures the intent of the design network we founded in April 2008 under the name IncSpring. The idea behind the company is to create a design network that could one day be the catalyst for the next Nike story.
Brandstack showcases incredible design talent by presenting entire brand packages for sale — domain, logo, web site, stationery — and any other individual elements a company might need. While some companies purchase an entire package, others purchase a logo or web site the first time and then come back when they need an identity package the next time.
So if companies can have several design options that meet the same qualifications as Nike’s, why can’t they simply choose the image that will eventually symbolize their brand?
This story is important because Nike is one of the most recognized brands in the world, and it got there with a minimalistic design process. That’s not saying there were not a ton of revisions and recommendations, but Phil Knight didn’t pay fistfuls of money to an ad agency for market research and buzzwords. Traditionalists will tell you this was the wrong way to brand a company. I’m fairly certain Nike would have a different opinion.
Along those lines, think about the progression that has taken place with most things we purchase today. When business suits were first invented, men of stature wore them proudly knowing they paid a pretty penny for their custom made duds. Today, most quality suits are bought from a rack with general size options and then tailored to your exact needs. Automobiles used to be difficult and time consuming to purchase. Now, you choose a car that fits you best and give it the finishing touches you desire.
Seriously, how often do you commission a well-known painter to create a piece of art for your wall? Like most of us, you probably see a painting that you enjoy and purchase it for your own. That painting is still original, but you didn’t have to suffer through the exorbitant cost or beginning-to-end creative process. That signifies the progression of a particular industry.
In all cases above, people have improved on how we now get high quality, original wares. If every other field has taken steps to progress their industry improve their buying process, why can’t it be done for the design industry?
Wes Wilson is the founder of Brandstack, an online brand marketplace for logos and other identity needs. The company, founded as IncSpring in April, 2008, is based in San Antonio. Wilson, a former commercial banker and graphic designer, developed the concept to offer small businesses new way to establish their identities as quickly and affordably as possible.