When Naomi Klein published No Logo in 1999, I embraced it as a welcome intervention to the massive over-branding that was going on in the consumer goods industry. Like Ed O’Brien, the guitarist of Radiohead, I felt that

No Logo certainly made me feel less alone. She was writing everything I was trying to make sense of in my head. It was very uplifting.

On the other hand, I was left with the feeling that No Logo failed to offer answers. In 2002, the Economist asked:

What is the superior alternative to capitalist development that Ms Klein proposes? She feels under no obligation to say. It is not her job to dictate to the movement. The most she can do, in all modesty, is to offer indications and observations; the people, thus empowered, must do the rest.

Now hobbyprincess offers an alternative that I dig. She suggests: instead of No Logo / Pro Logo, think ‘Own Logo‘. Instead of doing away with logos, the point is to create tools that allow people to create their own designs and labels:

An essential aspect of the own logo phenomenon is the branding of one’s own creations. Many of the people who have started to make their own designs (including me and my friends) want to tag their creations with their own symbol. The symbol can be their initials, a nickname, or any other sign that they want to adopt as their own brand. These people would probably agree with most of the arguments that Naomi brings up in her book. Still, instead of No Logo, they are signing up for Own Logo.

Sign me up to the movement.


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April 26th, 2005 at 3:22 pm (#)

I’ve been playing with this idea for a while, specifically in regards to blogs. Blogs are almost becoming brands for individuals. If someone I’ve never met wants to get to know me, a good place to start would be with my blog. It doesn’t represent the “real” me (the way the Nike website doesn’t represent the “real” Nike), but it offers a glimpse into the way I want to portray myself, my brand.
And it gets even more fun when you add a second blog for a different aspect of your personality. You can start to diversify your own brand a little bit…

April 26th, 2005 at 5:35 pm (#)

Well, I think designing your own things and putting your own logo on them sounds cool, but who has the time to do that? So while the idea you support is interesting, it’s not that practical.
I’m all for supporting small, local businesses. Not that creative, but an easier solution.

April 26th, 2005 at 6:02 pm (#)

Kyle: I agree that blogs are a way to project an image of ourselves to the rest of the world, and it’s interesting to see how some people end up splitting that image into different blogs to maintain coherency while others don’t seem to feel that’s necessary. It’d be interesting to know how the division maps to differences in managing the work-life boundary more generally. Also, blogs and clothes are both associated with that sense of a need for continual renewal. To push the analogy: if I don’t update my blog for a week, it’s like I’d been wearing the same T-shirt. It’s all about social expectations I guess.

April 28th, 2005 at 11:38 am (#)

Interesting comment.
It reminded me of a selfmade African shoe I saw at the Pitt Rivers Museum here in Oxford. A mother had attached a relatively poor copy of the Swoosh logo onto her child’s shoe, giving it a somewhat hybrid Nike/native look – is that Own Logo?
One might add another category to the logo repository. What about Cannibal Logos?
In my research I have come across a lot of companies that seem to resemble other organisations in their graphical identity, whilst simultaneously taking pride in being _completely_ different, e.g. Qibla Cola: http://www.qibla-cola.com (you should allow html links).
Of course, it is up for discussion whether personal ‘branding devices’ like blogs can or should be compared to cola manufacturers and larger scale logo politics in general.
See you soon.

April 29th, 2005 at 3:12 am (#)

Anyone remember customatix? They allowed the user to create custom shoe designs that were then manufactured in the far east and shipped. They seem to have moved into the corporate market now, but maybe the time is right for another try at mass customization.

Jelle Beijer
May 2nd, 2005 at 6:00 am (#)

Own Logo? Must everything be tagged, branded, owned, colonized? Be a teeny weeny little monopolist all by yourself?
Getting credits for hard work is one thing, putting your fingerprint on it is another thing; demanding revenue for using your logo or the product, object or idea that is branded with it, isn’t there where it ends?

May 15th, 2005 at 3:11 pm (#)

Jelle: As I understand it, own logo is about tools that make it easier for a consumer to also become a producer. The result would be a broader variety of makers, not all of whom operate on an industrial scale.

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