Make The Logo Bigger: How Designers Are Winning The Age Old Battle

Turner Duckworth's design for Diet Coke

Target Branding by Allan Peters

Click images to enlarge

Earlier this morning I read a tweet from Evan Stremke commenting on this great branding initiative for Target by Allan Peters (which you can see above). The extreme scale of the logo is possible because of the universal knowledge of the Target brand, that no matter what size it still reads as an ad for Target. The branding made me think of another recent rebrand by Turner Duckworth for Diet Coke in which he blew up the logo and placed it on the can. Yet again it’s a testament to the brand itself, that no matter the scale the logo works because of the colors and shapes of the logo.

Overall though I thought it was funny a trend happening, that the age old complaint of designers is that we always have to make the logo bigger, but here we are doing it on purpose. I might be reading too much into this or we may start seeing it more and more, but designers have taken hold of the reins and are exaggerating the size of the logo to a gigantic scale. I know this has been done in the past, but I thought it was interesting to compare the two.

Are there any other good examples of this that you can think of, recent or historical?


21 Comments Make The Logo Bigger: How Designers Are Winning The Age Old Battle

  1. Danielle September 14, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    Love this! Makes me want a Diet Coke :)

  2. Michael September 14, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    This may be obvious, but I think the same people that we moaned about when they said “make the logo bigger” would probably be screaming “make the logo smaller” about these projects.

    Maybe this was the solution all along. Make the logo HUUGE.

    Nice work all around here.

  3. KENDALL September 14, 2011 at 12:56 PM

    interesting. I am working for a company going through a very similar situation – but the logo being bigger is only influential to the consumer if the brand logo is recognizable.

    now – coke is a classic example – but to be honest, my love for typography just had me stumped before I saw the whole logo – target – easy. I am Canadian and have only been in that store once – but I got it right away.

  4. steffan September 14, 2011 at 12:56 PM

    It also doesn’t hurt that the complete logo is referenced in both designs in a smaller form, like a “signature” of sorts.

  5. Kate September 14, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    I was recently on a JetBlue flight and saw Seagrams had done something similar. Not to the point of either of these examples but they had simplified their outdated gilded seal and used it as a huge design element.

    Stupidly I didn’t snap a picture because I thought it would be on thedieline or another blog, but I haven’t been able to find a picture of it anywhere. I did find out that Coca-Cola has acquired Seagrams though, so perhaps that’s part of the catalyst for both the change and the aesthetic.

  6. Kate September 14, 2011 at 1:00 PM

    Seagram’s Ginger Ale*

    Not gin.

  7. Gregg Bernstein September 14, 2011 at 1:08 PM

    In 1996, Reebok did something similar with their designs for the U.S. Olympic team. They took their logo and created an oversized pattern out of it that covered the entire uniform (see track and field for a clear example).

    More recently, the scale of the Polo Ralph Lauren horse logo has grown over the last few years. The exaggerated logo in place of the traditional (and subtle) logo is an unexpected change.

  8. Katie September 14, 2011 at 1:12 PM

    This is similar to what Bell in Canada is doing and has been doing for a while now. Basically making a larger-than-life “environment” by blowing up their logo, putting people around it and using it as the backdrop for rooms in a home, a shoe store, etc.


    My favorite is definitely the Diet Coke application, but I appreciate the subtle details in the Target pieces like the little shadows and the repetition of their logo in the top left.

  9. Timothy Ragan September 14, 2011 at 1:19 PM

    Two things come to mind:

    1. The oversized/offset Chanel logo bags.
    2. Big/Medium/Small Brown Bags from Bloomingdales. The font is everything.

  10. Turner September 14, 2011 at 2:18 PM

    A couple years ago our studio did it with Johnson & Johnson (before I started)

    I’ve seen other great examples too, but they all succeed by abstracting the the form and generating a new visual but still relying on gestalt principles and recognizability of the brand to have the viewer connect the dots. It’s a great and playful way to refresh a brand’s look without re-doing anything.

  11. Craig Hill September 14, 2011 at 9:18 PM

    Cinelli (italian bicycle manufacturer) had a similar idea 4-5 years back, I’m not sure exactly when it started but one of the first examples I remember is their Vigorelli frameset

    The logo is so big & bold it simply bleeds off the bike all together.

    Taking a stab in the dark I’d say their alter stem was one of the earliest products they designed with this over-bleed branding

    I like the arrogance of it (in Cinelli’s case) where they have such confidence in their brand equity (in cycling circles) that they don’t care if it’s all there.

  12. Greg September 15, 2011 at 1:17 AM

    I instantly understood the Diet Coke one but the Target one had me stumped, since I am new to the brand (I live in the UK). I couldn’t have told you what the second one was selling. It’s an interested concept – communicating only to your existing customers; I’m sure they’d prefer to attract new ones.

    Overall, now that I know what the second one means, I do prefer the look of it.

  13. Nic September 15, 2011 at 5:10 AM

    I hadn’t seen the Target close-crop ads yet. I really love how they have the people interacting with the logo as if it were just another surface. The crops are clean, but everything is still recognizable.

    The coke can, however… ugh. Maybe I’m just not seeing it the way everyone else is, but I can’t STAND that crop. In my opinion, it’s incredibly clunky and inelegant. Honestly I feel like this method just doesn’t work with the wordmark.

  14. Ryan September 15, 2011 at 8:16 AM

    It isn’t so much making the logo bigger, as it is conceptually using the logo as artwork. Cropping in on a section of an iconic logo while still allowing it to be recognizable is not a totally innovative thing to do, turning it into a wave for a retro roller skater is extremely clever.

    It is amazing that the target piece doesn’t say target, but you still know what it is from its icon. That is a huge statement for a brand! Something I have tried convincing some of the big name clients I work with to do over and over. The sad part of examples like the Diet Coke can is that it is reinforced with three smaller diet coke logos near the ‘K’ and reversed out of the ‘E’ and next to the ‘I’ in diet. I understand that a can gets turned on shelf, but wow that is reinforcing the brand a little too much.

    It is good to see that clients can be sold on using their branding in different ways. Even if it has to be reinforced with a smaller logos.

  15. Re September 15, 2011 at 10:58 AM

    “… words we are used to reading – or forced to red – everyday… we seize at a glance, without having to spell out each letter or syllable. … Some words, such as the names of well-known firms or products, are so familiar to us that if we block out most of the letters we can still read the name correctly at first glance…” – Bruno Munari, Design as Art, pg. 66.

  16. Re September 15, 2011 at 10:59 AM


  17. Casey September 15, 2011 at 2:48 PM

    The Diet Coke one is funny to me. I worked with David Carson for a couple of years while I was at Quiksilver. He was showing me some stuff that he had pitched to Coke back in the late 90’s and it was exactly what they are doing with Diet Coke now… Good Ideas make they way thru at some point.

  18. ryan September 16, 2011 at 11:38 PM

    I think it’d pretty neat. I don’t know if it was intentional but it looks to me like someone likes the ballet. Turn the D on its side and you have a black swan and then in and around the k there looks to the a ballet dancers feet.

  19. Torsten September 18, 2011 at 3:46 AM

    Viking Line, a cruiseferry operator in the Baltic has been doing this for a couple of years. Their logo is their name, which loses out against competitor Silja Line’s (an instantly recognizable stylized seal). They run ads with just “NG LI” in company colors and font. It gives the impression of a giant ship going by the window, and all you can see are a few letters on the side. It works because the font and colors are what people associate most with the company over its competition.

  20. Kate Schweitzer October 5, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    I find it an interesting coincidence that in both the Target and the Diet Coke examples given that there is a smaller, whole version of both brand’s logos in the upper left corner. It’s as if they are still holding on to the “just in case they don’t get it”.

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