The other day I discussed some random tidbits from the community and touched upon my reaction to the Instablogs logo. Today I wanted to go a bit further and talk about this whole weblog network phenomenon and how extremely important it is to separate yourself from the herd via good branding.
A quote from a recent commenter named Paul:
From the looks of the dot on the i, Instablogs was indeed trying to copy Agenzia’s logo. Whoever did the job was a lousy designer, though.
Agenzia’s is well designed and clever, with the “Ag” box subtly designed to look like the entry for silver on a chart of elements.
Instablogs can’t even get the fonts right. Why is the “Insta” in Gill Bold stretched out like that? Why is the s in “blogs” flush against the side of the box but not the b? Ugh.
I wrote in that entry how I thought the Instablogs logo seemed a bit hurried and partially influenced from Agenzia logo. I commented on the Instablogs site (sorry, they don’t like comment permalinks!) about the coincidence, and Nandini then had this to say in their defense:
I don`t think so that instablogs logo looks like Agenzia or some one other. We wanted insta and blogs to stand separately.
And we have done a nice job. Red (#ff0000) is a very primary color and square is also a primary shape, and both can be seen in lots of places.
Thanks for dropping by anyways.
If you compare the two logos near each other, you can easily see the similarities I spoke of:
The color, the red block, the red square used outside the block, they’re all basically the same. Except Agenzia took a lot more time when they did theirs, and as Paul noted above, they made their mark look like the symbol for Silver on the periodic table of the elements. Very cool.
Spending Money on Branding
It happens all the time — a company has a tight budget, needs to bootstrap in order to make things work, and the first thing they skimp on is design. This is not necessarily a bad thing considering paying employee health plans is more important than hiring Josh or Jon to design a kick-ass logo. In times of famine, it’s understandable that high-value design work is left by the wayside.
But Instablogs is hardly starving or bootstrapping. People are bubbling with rumors that Instablogs is loaded down with venture capital funding, and for good reason. They supposedly have 50 full-time writers on staff to hold down the fort on all their soon-to-launch weblogs, so wait a second here. If they have the money to pay all these writers, why not hire a design firm to work on their logo? Maybe if they did that, they wouldn’t have ended up with something that looks like an elementary school knock-off of a real design firm’s mark. Just an observation.
I wrote a few weeks ago about how weblog networks are “the new black”, meaning that they are springing up everywhere and are currently the cool thing to do. Weblog networks are so hot right now that there’s even a site dedicated to news about blog networks! So okay, there’s a bunch of weblog networks out there with basically the same ideals, how does one network differentiate itself from all the others? Well besides modifying the revenue split, or doing different topics, or whatever, the very first thing that separates one network from the pack is the design of their logo. It’s the first thing you see, and it has to be recognizable.
I did the logo for 9rules, and my buddy Peter did the logo for b5media. Whoa! Two designers being paid (kinda, Scrivs gives me coupons) to actually DESIGN the logos for two weblog networks. Here’s what Peter and I came up with:
You can tell both he and I took some time to design these, considering how important a logo is for a company. Hell, I even documented the process and asked for feedback.
Branding is an important element of a company’s reputation, and if the funds are there to have a quality mark developed, then there should be no questions as to whether the money should be spent. Instablogs is getting a lot of hype right now for the sheer fact that they’re launching with 50 weblogs written by 50 full-time authors. If they only paid a designer to work on their logo and site, maybe they could impress people with quality in addition to the quantity they’re currently pitching.