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  Barclaycard's new brand identity


Post 1

Outright cynism and scant regard for the complex challenges faced by brand identity creatives belies the implied impartiality of Creative Review. Ill-informed, subjective and populist cheap shots like this are easily made.

There is a lot to appreciate in Barclaycard’s new identity. Conceptually the symbol should not be assessed as a thing, it is a space, an environment, a medium. It is not hollow, it is a place of potential and possibility. It does not prescribe, it suggests. And even as an object, in 2D and 3D a sculptural and skillful symbol has been realised.

It shouldn’t be forgotten that Barclaycard is indeed a global brand. Just like BT, AT&T and Sony Ericsson, the identity must be consumer-led and still maintain gravity in the corporate world.

Besides a few minor issues with the type, I believe the new Barclaycard identity is a winner. The symbol is a creative interpretation of the new positioning and stands alone alongside other global brands facing similar challenges.

Perhaps CR is not Creative Review but Creative Rebuke. I think reviews of corporate brand identities should be handled with greater caution in future.

Post 2

You’re a big brand. Huge. Global in fact…

I am another company with a hollowed-out spherical logo…

The latest in a long line…

… officially sports…

… smoothed off their edges and sanded down their corners…

… bemoaning…

… the curly bits…

Perhaps more worryingly…

… achingly similar corporate logos have become…

… willingness to simply blend in…

It really is one world out there isn’t it?

Tell me I’m not being told what to think or that the author is not cynical.

Impartiality can never be realised but attempting it ensures appropriate research, disciplined thinking and insightful presentations. A review implies a well considered and qualified position. I don’t expect Creative Review to be impartial but I do expect quality journalism, even on a blog.

This identity review is tabloid level journalism from a respected brand. Perhaps Creative Review is quietly repositioning itself. This entry is not a review it is a rebuke. It would appear not aimed just at the Barclaycard identity but at the whole brand identity industry.

The recent mock Creative Review rebrand was entertaining in a knowing if acidic and factious way but it was well handled. I get the impression that dissenting individuals such as the author of this review do not have insider knowledge of the complex challenges faced by the brand identity industry.

Further reviews of brand identities from Creative Review may need to be read as unqualified. If readers aren’t able to identify a populist cheap shot like this then perhaps it needs to be pointed out before more damage gets done.

Post 3

I didn’t say there was anything wrong with tabloid reviewing but I may need to reframe the content that comes to me from Creative Review. I’d prefer not to. It has a commendable history.

I don’t concern myself with what I like. Your appeal in this sense is misguided.

What are the developing trends within the branding industry that are problematic? Three dimensional globes? Surely not. They may draw deeply on archetype which means most interpretations are cliched. A sharpened up cliche has the benefit of the archetypal message. Barclaycard’s globe is a sharpened up cliche and so is BT’s and Sony Ericsson’s. This makes them relevant. And different.

You might want to draw attention to other contemporary trend candidates such as smiles and hearts. This is potentially far more insightful and of greater journalistic merit.

I am being constructive. I’m pointing out a source of vitriollic, biased and unqualified opinion. An opinion in a position to do further damage to a misunderstood and vitally important industry.

‘A winner’, is openly my opinion. ‘A place of potential and possibility’, demonstrates the sort of language required to appreciate the softer side of brand thinking. It is a relevant approach, open to abuse certainly and avoided at great cost to those who manage brands. Your contempt for this language is telling.

Action Man your sarcasm and lack of accountability does you no favours. I’m tempted to think you are the actual author of the review above. You can see who I am. Who are you?

Post 4

Action Man I’m pleased to read your latest comment is more focused and engaged, rather than off-handed and snide, although you are also prone to cheap shots.

Design is in service of branding. Design is difficult enough to grasp. Branding even more so.

Very little mention has been made of the suitability of the Barclaycard identity to the positioning strategy. The identity has been stripped of its context and judged as a thing in itself with little regard for its strategic value.

‘A place of potential and possibility’, is relevant to all business. Business now appreciates that it has to make a space available for consumers to realise themselves without dictating to them.

The Barclaycard identity defines such as space. It defines an environment, a medium. The medium determines the message. That is, the pattern, rate and scale of interaction that environment facilitates. In this case an environment of loans and debt management in relation to the rest of the world. The design of the Barclaycard symbol captures a distinctive space which can be read in these terms.

Of course the brand identity will have been sold in more pragmatic terms but there is always a wealth of intuitive and intellectual processes behind a brand of this stature. As someone who seeks originality and has a fair grasp of what’s involved, I am satisfied.


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