I get Mediabistro's daily blast, one of the few email lists that I actually read (relatively) regularly. It's a good way to keep up with industry developments and gossip. Today, the name Lippincott lept out and so I clicked over to UnBeige and found "What Is a Brand?" (below) from the iconic branding company itself. Honestly, I'm not that interested in branding. Maybe if it didn't show up in every other sentence, I might be more forgiving but like the word curation it's now so overused that it is hardly worth saying. That said (ahem), the Lippincott use is warranted and the video is worth the watch.
My silly snarks aside, we owe an abiding debt to Gordon Lippincott, founder of Lippincott & Margulies, now just Lippincott, and now part of the mega-conglom Marsh & McLennan.
Back in the days when the mail, the kind that came with postage (in this case, 1983), was worth waiting for, an unexpected letter arrived with the return address of J. Gordon Lippincott. I'd never heard of him but inside was a letter with some drawings and a xeroxed sheet.
The letter, which I have in storage somewhere, went roughly like this:
I read your newsletter [at the time we published "Networking Newsletter" and "Networking Journal'] and was interested in what you're doing. I've spent my career developing corporate logos so I spent some time playing around with some ideas for you. They're on the next page. Feel free to use them however you want. I'm also enclosing a page with some of the logos I've designed.
On that humbly introduced sheet were "some of the logos" he'd designed including Betty Crocker, General Mills, Chrysler, and FTD.
And NetAge as in see above. (Details, details: Actually, it was our company Networking Institute that received the logo but as part of the founding of NetAge in 1998, we passed along the logo because of its clear relevance to The Age of the Network, the book that ultimately inspired the founding of the new company.)
We loved it. He said that we could use it in portions (he supplied some examples) or in its entirety but that we should never print over it, a rule that we have mostly followed over the years.
It's interesting to note that many other companies now use logos similar to NetAge's. Some use similar lines. Some use portions of a similar design. But to the best of my knowledge, ours was the first and ours was the only designed by the man who invented the term "corporate identity," Gordon Lippincott.
Gordon died in 1998. His obit is worth the read. And here's Lippincott's new (and quite good) video on branding, a word it of all companies, deserves to use.