February 15, 2010

Conceptual Logos: evolved differentiation

Minnesota Public Radio is one of my favorite organizations, and their--now series of--logos are beautifully conceptual.

My reading of the logo(s) is multi-layerd and multi-dimensional; The randomly colored clustered circles simultaneously represent community and diversity, the organization and the audience, physical and ideological dispersion.

  • Both Community and Diversity - The clustering of the various colored circles represent classes of individual listeners who can be simultaneously differentiated while comprising parts of various listening communities.
  • Both the Organization and the Audience - One can look at the logo's circles as a map of the radio stations, and in fact MPR publishes a geographic map of their transmitter locations using the same colors of the logo to represent the content: News, Classical Music, Current Music. One can also look at the same set of circles as listeners or listening groups who are located in different communities and have different listening profiles.
  • Both Physical and Ideological Dispersion - Related to the two previous notions, physical and ideological dispersion looks at the organization from a marketer's perspective. As a program underwriter, this logo implies that I can reach my target listening (and browsing) group because MPR and APM will help me channel my message to them.
When the logos were originally introduced, both MPR and APM used the same design with the following two differences:
  1. The Text - The MPR logo had the text Minnesota Public Radio below the cluster of circles, and APM had the text American Public Media below the cluster of circles.
  2. Circle Colors - The top-most circle for the MPR logo is Classical Music green, and the top-most circle for APM was Current Music red; also, the color orange was introduced.

Recently, however, APM has dropped the MPR look-alike logo for the more distinctive one on the right above. Looking suspiciously like the Target Corporation logo, this new, simplified and differentiated logo seems to imply to me that here is a single conduit through which one can deliver a message to the desired target audience.

Posted by Jonathan


Susan said...

Very insightful and observant. Thank you for a nice beginning discussion of the design intents and impact of the logos discussed.

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