17 December 2012

Undentity

There’s a man I know, a guy that I’ve done a lot of work with, and he has one of the strongest brands in our locality. His business is well known and passionately loved by its customers. And he built this brand without a logo.

Close-up of a plastic skull signifying undentity. Photo by Larry Hynes

In the early stages of working with him, I tried too hard. I didn’t pay attention to what he had going on, and I tried to impose designer-y restrictions on his brand visuals.

There was friction, and I was wrong.

The truth is, almost everything he publishes looks different to the last thing. There are some common threads, but they’re a bit all over the place. Turns out, that’s his secret.

He has an Undentity, and it’s working like a charm.

Once I figured this out—and it took me a while, I went with it. Now, I play a full part in the process, actively seeking new ways to make his business look different to the last time but still familiar. And I’m happy to keep the rough edges, while avoiding the temptation to add some where they don’t exist naturally.

Because his Visual Identity is an Undentity. And you know what? It doesn’t matter a damn. You can tear up your ID Manual and replace it with a stylish scattergun. People will still get to know and love your business.

A case in point.

Deus ex Machina is a hugely popular name in motorcycle customisation, a true brand that is slowly working its way North from its Southern Hemisphere birthplace. Here are just some of their logos and trademarks…

The moral of this story?

Feel free to imagine yourself away from “we have a logo” and “the logo should be on it”. There’s lots more to your identity than that. Your business might thrive with an Undentity.