Inquisitive Slaps
IBM logo by Paul Rand

The genealogy of this historic IBM logo is extremely interesting to me.

In this interview with Miggs B, Paul Rand, the original creator of the logo talks about how he constructed the logo for IBM and the intent was to create something completely abstract with no logic. Paul used the iconic horizontal stripes mainly because it looked good. Post launch a lot of the consumers read into it and attached the idea of technology and speed with the logo because of which a lot of other technology/ electric brands followed suit with their identities. I found it very interesting because this represents something very prevalent in visual culture which is intent versus communication. To each person an image appears different in the way they “read into” it. Sometimes the public contextualises something because it looks familiar to them in a certain way when it originally had no context at all. The same thing happened with the advent of social media. The like button was originally intended to spread positivity and love in the world, the creators did not imagine it to be the reason behind a teen’s depression for feeling underappreciated or causing political polarisation. Sometimes, this “reading into” creates conversation and increases the value of something versus what was originally intended of it. Sometimes, however, this could take a bad turn because people are creative and they find creative ways to use, consume or read the product, and this creative freedom can also be self sabotaging. Similarly, we might not be aware of how a product could be affecting the environment. While I spoke about how consumerism is a notion that feels almost like an abusive relationship, sometimes, the original intent might not have been to manipulate or steal or productise anything. As designers we need to keep in mind how our audience absorbs our content before it starts influencing the world at large.