Blogads logo redesign has some “experts” in an uproar

Henry Copeland does not follow conventional rules. He built a multi-million dollar enterprise on the notion that advertisers might want to advertise on blogs. He felt they might want  to engage 500,000 opinion makers, instead of pestering 100,000,000 nobodies.

The secret? Smart Blogads join a community’s conversation rather than shouting over it. As a result, Blogads have become an increasingly important part of the blogosphere.

Blogads_logo30Henry achieved three years of success while defying conventional wisdom and using a scrawny scribble of a corporate logo that was a mistake.

This year, he decided to create a new logo. Blogging friends in the ad industry said "do an RFP, hire a pro, draft a creative brief, hammer out a brand identity… do it right!" Demotivated by that feedback and with lots of other projects bubbling, he put the idea on the backburner.

Recently, he turned the task of designing the new logo over to the internet with this notice:

Blogads.com needs a new logo. I hope you can help. We’ll pay $1000 to the creator of our new logo and $300 to the blogger whose post refers or inspires her/him.

You can read the story of the logo collaboration here. It makes fascinating reading.

Henry decided that Blogads needed a new logo and he went about it in his non-traditional style and a few "experts" have gotten their knickers all bunched up as a result.

There are more than 365 entries from a lot of talented people who understand the blogosphere, but a few of yesterdays experts are sputtering about the way it was done.

I had to put in my opinion, of course, when I read this "expert’s" advice:

My advice to you is to hire (or persuade) a professional designer to pick the 10-15 logos that will go on your shortlist. You could then make your decision from that pool.

In all honesty, if you pick the logo yourself, or if you allow the people who are leaving comments to have a hand in the decision, you are going to waste 1300 dollars on a badly designed logo. From your previous post, and based on some of the completely ludicrous comments left on the entries… I suspect that you’re not going to make the right choice.
Posted by: Brian Ford on Sep 14, 05 | 9:45 am

I wrote:

Henry, consider the purpose for this logo redesign and who your target customers are.

If your target customers are blog-savvy businesses that want to advertise effectively in the blogosphere, a good logo is one that punches up the informal, but effective conversational style of blogosphere communications

If your target customers are from the Proctor and Gamble school of marketing. then Brian Ford’s suggestion might make sense, because you will attract ad agency flacks who respect and honor logos that grace the pages of Communication Arts.

Your call, of course, but simpler and real are better in my opinion.

Which elicited this response:

I disagree pretty much 100% with what David St. Lawrence says in his comment.

A "good" logo is one that is designed well; regardless of who the target audience happens to be. There are plenty of logos in the list that follow the guidelines set forth in the entry form, but that doesn’t mean that they are automatically "well designed" logos. In fact, I would say the opposite happens to be true in this case… This isn’t about target audiences. It’s about getting advice from someone who -knows- design. (my emphasis)
Posted by: Brian Ford on Sep 14, 05 | 10:28 am

and another:

I’m going to inject my honest opinion here. Many of the logos submitted are absolutely useless for branding. Many of them are not vector….  It will be nearly impossible to pick a logo you can brand with the rigid guidelines you set. …For $1000 I would have thought you’d want to make sure you were getting something you could actually use.

Posted by: William Chastain on Sep 14, 05 | 4:32 pm

These "experts" are confusing design with branding. Blogads has overcome the limitations of a "butt ugly" logo by delivering on the promise of expected service. If Henry can find a new logo that aligns with customer expectations, I think he will be just fine.

What do you think?

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0 Responses to Blogads logo redesign has some “experts” in an uproar

  1. Rosa Say says:

    Aloha David, I have not yet taken any of your links (within this post), and I will. However for now I’d just like to say mahalo nui, thank you: I love the way you continue to bring the messy, but good-for-learning-messy brain-work of business to our attention to chew on. You are mentor supreme, for as assertive (and generous) as you are with your opinions, you truly encourage us to THINK.
    Aloha aku, aloha mai,
    Rosa

  2. David, here’s the skinny…you’re right, the experts are — not experts, in my opinion. Design is often in the eye of the beholder. Branding is more than good design. I think Henry should be applauded for opening this up to his public. I found many of the logos to be outstanding. And, I trust Henry to be thoughtful before choosing one.

    Sometimes experts are only good at confusing the issue. They need to learn that the world doesn’t revolve around them, it revolves around us. Something Henry seems to get quite well.

  3. Anyone who talks down to us, who says “do it my way, because I am an expert and you are not” deserves all the criticism he or she gets. But I think anyone who takes time to explain a valid concern, based on relevant experience and education, deserves a fair hearing.

    At the risk of getting shouted down here, I think the “experts” – notably William Chastain – have a point, which is that the logo needs to be usable in a variety of formats, sizes and in black and white as well as colour. According to William, this was in Henry’s original brief.

    Put another way, let’s say David goes shopping with a friend for some wooden furniture and the friend sees a piece which looks good. But David, a skilled woodworker, eyes the construction of the piece and sees a problem which the friend cannot see. David, would you quietly let the friend make the purchase because the piece looks good, or would you tug your friend’s coat about the construction problems?

    I don’t think it is arrogant or unimaginative to suggest that the logo needs to meet some usability constraints. What William cares about – at least from what I can see – is not his prestige as an expert, but that Henry gets value for money.

    As an aside, the problem for a lot of experts is that they have valuable knowledge of their subject matter, but cannot communicate that knowledge for non-experts’ benefit. Experts become frustrated – “it’s obvious – don’t you get it?” – and that sometimes manifests itself as arrogance – “because I say.” Communication is the key to unlocking real expertise for everyone’s benefit.
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