Visual Identity, or A vaguely interconnected tale of two dumb companies and one dumb logo

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Branding and visual identity is very important for a company. They convey what the company is, in the same way that a good artist can convey who the model really is in a portrait. Being a brand guardian is like being a good parent, knowing the art of when to set boundaries and when give freedom.

One of my favourite brands is Timbuk2, a San Francisco-based company who manufacturers luggage to a very high standard and is best known for its iconic messenger bags. In true San Franciscan yoga-bunny granola-munching style Timbuk2 looked at how it could make great bags and do its bit for the environment.

The company teamed with RootPhi who have created a tough resilient fabric from found plastic bags that would be otherwise holding soiled cat litter, wrapped around a 40oz as an impromptu beer holder or blowing around the neighbourhood.

Unfortunately Target did not want its bags with their distinctive bulls eye design to be used in the fabric, according to its lawyers taking a cease and desist action against Timbuk2 would better allow Target to compete by considerably increasing its evil quotient to better compete with Wal-Mart – ok so I made that bit up.

Ok, so I don’t want my brand associated with a project recycling some of the heinous crap that comes out of my retail empire by cool hipsters? Dumb company number one. I found out about this sorry tail from an email newsletter that Timbuk2 sent out.

Harvey Shopfitters Limited logo

A little bit later, I stepped out of the office to clear my head after having my head buried in my computer screen reading emails and writing a press release and came across this pictogram which looks like it was done by Otl Aicher to symbolise a massage parlour or bedroom olympics? What you might call one dumb logo.

Harvey Shopfitters Limited

So imagine my surprise when I found out that this was in fact the logo for the shopfitting company Harvey Shopfitters working on the vacant retail unit a few doors down from my office.

I would have loved to have been in the room when Harvey Shopfitters Limited decided to chose their logo, it must have been a fantastic sales job done by a design team with a perverse sense of humour.

Dumb or what? Yep dumb company number two.