46 Logos: The Steve Jobs Acid Test

The late Steve Jobs said, “You’ve baked a really lovely cake, but then you’ve used dog shit for frosting.”

The cake Steve referred to is your company, your organization, your event or your invention.

The “shit” Steve referred to is the minimal attention some businesses give to the outer layers — those first points of contact — of their businesses:

  • Your Website
  • Your packaging
  • The language you use
  • Your shipping materials (and last but certainly not least)
  • Your logo

Why would Steve say such a thing? Because too many companies treat their identities (those outer layers) in the same way college athletes respect silence in the college library.

No Detail Is Too Small

Steve “loved doing things right. He even cared about the look of the parts you couldn’t see.”

Well, if the stuff you can’t see is important enough to refine, what about the stuff people do see? Especially to people first encountering your company. Does that first impression:

  • Convey authority?
  • Reflect expertise?
  • Relay an unswerving attention to detail?
  • Mirror or exceed the expectations of your customer?

The Outer Layers
and That First Impression

One of the first items prospects will see, besides your name, is your logo. It’s one of the items that Steve called “the outer layers” mentioned at the close of this post.

This important outer layer will convey either “We’re the real deal” or “Hey — we’re amateurs and ask that you look beyond this crap to see our actual value once you scratch beneath surface.”

This important outer layer is not the place to skimp. It’s one of the parts of a brand I spend the most time on, so my clients do not come across looking like “dog shit.”

Here are 46 examples I have designed to help each client with that first impression on this most important first “outer layer.”

1. Simply Stuff, a gift gallery and pottery showroom located in a rustic, rural setting

Logo design by David Brier

2. Botanical Bakery, a Napa Valley-based gourmet confectioner

Logo design by David Brier

3. Coffee from New York City

Logo design by David Brier

4. City of Menomonie Tourism Logo

 

Logo design by David Brier

 

5. Charms With Benefits, a charm accessory company

Logo design by David Brier

6. R&R, a bed and breakfast

Logo design by David Brier

7. Art Deco, a typographic study

Logo design by David Brier

8. Tower Realty Trust, a real estate investment company

Logo design by David Brier

9. Palazzo, an Italian retail store chain

Logo design by David Brier

10. Coco Polo premium chocolate sweetened with Stevia

 

Logo design by David Brier

11. Joanna Vargas Skincare

Logo design by David Brier

12. Legacy Chocolates, artisanal chocolate company

Logo design by David Brier

13. Accessory Snobs, fashion accessories retail company

Logo design by David Brier

14. Enzacta, nutritional supplement sales company

Logo design by David Brier

15. City of Osceola brand identity

Logo design by David Brier

16. Charlie perfume by Revlon

Logo design by David Brier

17. Wheels and Wings Annual Event

Logo design by David Brier

18. Big Dot of Happiness, company specializing in women-centric events

Logo design by David Brier

19. Logo for Fast Company article on Kim Kardashian’s voluptuous empire

Logo design by David Brier

20. Very Moderne Furniture logo

Logo design by David Brier

 

21. Logo design for Fast Company article on a partnership between Google, YouTube and the Guggenheim

Logo design by David Brier

22. App Treasure Hunter, Website for apps for kids

 

Logo design by David Brier

 

23. Deli Patrol, slow-cooked artisan deli meats reviving the legendary tastes of New York

 

Logo design by David Brier

 

24. Secret Sauce campaign brand identity for Milestone Systems

Logo design by David Brier

25. 4ward Planning brand identity for a land use firm

 

Logo design by David Brier

26. box, a typographic study

Logo design by David Brier

27. The Cooked Egg logo

Logo design by David Brier

 

28. Insatiable Genius rebrand (transformed from Toon FX)

 

Logo design by David Brier

29. Robert Giede Design logo

 

Logo design by David Brier

 

30. KnowBe4.com brand identity for Security Training company

Logo design by David Brier

31. Joanna Vargas Salon brand identityLogo Design by David Brier

32. Fresh Face Russian skin care product

 

Logo design by David Brier

33. Palazzo, an Italian retail store chain

 

Logo design by David Brier

 

34-42. The Wedge food co-op series of logos (series of 8 logos)


Logo design by David Brier

Logo design by David Brier

 

Logo design by David Brier
Logo design by David BrierLogo design by David BrierLogo design by David Brier
Logo design by David Brier
Logo design by David Brier


43-44. Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts

Logo design by David Brier

 

 

45-46. Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts (continued)

Logo design by David Brier

Crap or Frosting?

I think Steve said it best here: “In most people’s vocabularies, design means veneer. It’s interior decorating. It’s the fabric of the curtains of the sofa. But to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a human-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.”

He redefined the standard of branding and detail as relates to a company’s success. He was most sensitive to these “outer layers’ — the exact outer layers that define your brand.

The final question is: How are your brand’s outer layers serving your brand and the message it conveys?

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