So, with the biggest shopping days of the year upon us now is a good time to explore the place of brands and logos in our lives. Part and parcel of coping with our consumerist culture is navigating the branded marketplace with all of its logos and other identifiers of status. In laymen’s terms, a logo is the graphic symbol that represents an entity, typically a brand of product. And if the logo is well-known enough, such as the Nike Swoosh [see above], a logo may be used without the name of the business that it is associated with.
As an aside, the Nike Swoosh was created in 1971 by a graphic design student at Portland State University who was paid the tidy sum of $35 for it. Meanwhile, the Swoosh has become one of the most valuable brand logos in the world, with an estimated worth of $35 BILLION. And probably like you, I do own a handful of Nike branded products, including running shoes, wind pants, and a tee shirt, but overall, I own relatively few items with logos, at least not super visible ones like the Swoosh.
And like athletic shoes, automobiles are some of the most branded commodities. Yet long before I knew what a minimalist was, I had a friend that went so far as to strip all the logos off the car he owned so as not to be identified by it [I do not recall what make it was]. So, logos can and do represent a reference point by which we may be known and know others. Brands often serve as signifiers with which we project an image of our identity to the world.
While what we buy may speak volumes about who we are, it is important to remind ourselves that we are not defined by what we wear or drive or otherwise consume. What with the holidays here, I challenge you, dear reader, to think about how much you allow branding to influence your buying, and by extension, the message you are meaning to broadcast to others. Remember: you and I are so much more than the logos in our lives!