A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library
Ludovic Houplain is the co-director of an Oscar winning animated short called Logorama, a 16 minute crime story told with logos and brands filling-in for all the characters, props, and sets. It has Ronald McDonald going on a violent crime spree through L.A. (brandishing the Red Army Faction‘s logo as a weapon, no less), pursued by two Michelin men in the role of a buddy cop team.
Houplain used thousands upon thousands of logos to create the film, and Logobook is the result of his collecting and research. There is virtually no text, just a short introduction and over 7,000 logos alphabetically arranged with a brief description of their date and origins.
You’re about to ask “I’m not a designer, nor do I work in marketing or branding, so why would I want to flip through page after page of logos?” Which is totally justifiable, and was my first reaction too. But I quickly found myself immersed in the book, fascinated by just how many of the logos meant something to me. It was a bit off-putting to discover that many of these images had been burrowing in the recesses of my brain completely familiar to me even though I hadn’t seen them in years. Some of them even had a mysterious sentimental power over me. I mean, when was the last time I thought about Santa Cruz Skateboards? I know 1993 was about the last time I actually owned any of their products. Yet here was their screaming hand logo, unseen by me in all that time but instantly recognizable. And what about all those logos for products I’d never used, yet immediately brought to mind brand names that were never a part of my life except through exposure to ads?
But the book is more than just a handy reminder of how powerful branding and advertisement can be. Many of the logos are ingenious or compelling as design, even when they are not familiar. Bugatti’s logo, for example, is neither familiar to me nor does it awaken any desire to drive a supercar, yet, just by virtue of it’s pristine Italian design, it instantly has me craving a night of gelato and Fellini’s 8½.
So come in and take a look at Logobook. I think you’ll find it a bit liberating to willfully appreciate design that you’re normally unwillingly bombarded with on a daily basis. Or maybe you’ll just like the pretty shapes. Whatever. It’s a fun book either way.
Review by Matthew