James I. Bowie, Ph.D., of Northern Arizona University’s department of sociology, has logos on the brain. He has just launched Emblemetric, a website that discusses his research into the trends in logos. From its About page: “Emblemetric reports on trends in logo design, using quantitative analysis of data from the United States Patent and Trademark Office.”
In a 2005 article for the AIGA Voice, Bowie explained how he came to specialize in the intersection of logo design and sociology:
As a sociologist who studies the behavior of organizations, I became interested in how companies went about adopting logos. How were the artistic and creative processes involved in designing a logo reconciled with the bureaucratic organizational context in which trademark-adoption took place?
It seemed that the rhetoric of the design and business worlds emphasized that logos should be unique and distinctive, and that they should allow the organization to differentiate itself from its competitors. Yet casual observation seemed to show that many logos, particularly those within the same industries, appeared similar to one another.
Using a scientific view, Bowie explains logos through simple data viz. His subjects include: How leaves have become prominent in logo design, and how color has become “an even more important aspect of logo design in today’s web-based world.” Here is one of his charts:
“Trendiness” of Color Use in US Logos
“Emblemetric offers custom research services to branding, identity, and graphic design specialists, as well as to organizations concerned with their graphic identity.” Contact Bowie at info@Emblemetric.com for more information.
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