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The Stone Twins is an Amsterdam based graphic design agency run by Dublin twin brothers Garech and Declan Stone. Recently we talked to them about their new book project 'Logo R.I.P.' to be launched on the 20th of November.

What is the book Logo R.I.P. about?

"In today's ruthless business environment, corporations face uncertain futures. The forces of globalisation are creating unprecedented change. Yet apart from the displacement, downsizing and elimination of the workforce, the other casualties are the visual manifestations of the company: its logo, or trademark.

'Logo R.I.P.' is a commemoration of logos withdrawn from the visual landscape. Many are considered icons of their time or international design classics, whilst others cost millions only to be replaced within a year or two. These logos disappeared, yet in contrast to the ceremony and pomp that greeted their arrival, they often suffered an ignoble death. Now deemed defunct, they are consigned to the logo graveyard, no longer allowed to signify. "

The book features 50 logotypes that are superimposed on headstones, and in the secondhalf of the book are a collection of short essays (or 'obituaries') that outline the various reasons (mergers, acquisitions, restyling or bankruptcy) why these logos have passed away and also provide an insight into the life of the logo.

Is the book self published?

The concept of the book was totally ours - we approached various publishers of whom 'BIS Publishers' in Amsterdam offered us the best deal. Once we got agreement we then contacted Gert Dumbar who was incredibly enthuastic and wrote the prologue.

Do you have some favourite 'dead 'logo's ?

BP 'shield', the NASA 'worm' and the BOAC 'speedbird'... are three logos that we must mourn. They all possess a 'stylistic durability' or a graphic strength and beauty that transcends fashion. Unfortunately all the respective companies behind these logos are now represented by designs that are described in our book as 'strategy-driven nonsense'. In an Irish context, we have this too with the sad loss of the Telecom Eireann logo - it was replaced, of course, by another 'ubiquitous swoosh-ball' - a logo that could represent any kind of company around the world (Download PDF).

Is it possible do you think for a company to exist that has no logo?

in our book, we have two examples - 'Ben' mobile network in the Netherlands and 'Monday' - that were both more 'campaign ideas' rather than simple logos... both examples were used as a springboard for puns and wordplay. In this sense, we can see the potential for companies existing without a traditional notion of a logotype.

Are there any logo's that deserve to die?

In our selection of fifty there are none that deserve to die. However, in a wider context there are of course many that we would not miss or seek to commemorate...

So where do old logo's go when they die?

In practice, Logos never die... they are just put in 'deep-freeze' - whilst they wait for some entrepreneur or marketing person with a taste for nostalgia to 'ressurrect' them. Many 'dead' logos still maintain positive connotations and brand values that provide enormous equity (why spend millions on creating a 'new' brand when one can simply pluck one from the past). In our book, we feature an example of a logo that has come back from the dead: the 'Adidas Trefoil'. Other examples are: the 'Mobil Pegasus', 'Atari', 'MG' and 'RCA'.

What are your thoughts on the new logo for Dublin City?

Are you serious? We find it absolutely appalling! Formally, it possesses zero graphic strength which will pose many problems in the numerous applications. The typography is ill-conceived and ugly...

We can see the obvious reference to the Spike, but is this really something that should be represented or even celebrated? The Spike is not Dublin - not yet anyway... a contrived logo referring to a contrived public art statement.

Unfortunately, this is a good example of where 'strategic' design takes us. Such solutions are always accompanied by corny 'taglines' and lack any 'stylistic durability'.

Where is the book available?

The book will be available in 'all good bookstores' and at Amazon.com. As it is published by 'BIS', it will also be available at the bookstore in Design Factory (ISBN 90 6369 063 0).

So, I take it that it would it make a suitable xmas present?

Yes, retailing at only Euro 19, it is a perfect stocking filler. Considering the background stories (or 'obituaries') to all the featured logos the book should have appeal not just to designers but also to a public with a taste for nostaglia - remember HTV, Pye Televsion, DMC...

In the next few weeks, we will unveil a digital 'book of condolences' on www.logorip.com. We hope that this site will develop into a 'forum' for the many issues that are raised in the book, such as how in the pursuit of going global much new design is neutral and bland.; how great design was always produced by great individuals who had the respect and freedom of their respective clients - think Paul Rand; and how nowadays big design assignments are handled by agencies with a ratio of 'ten pin-stripes' to every one creative etc.,

Visit The Stone Twins website at:
www.stonetwins.com

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