‘Liquidated Logo Chanel’ by ZEVS (2007)
Epoxy ink screenprint on Plexiglass
180 x 100 x 8 cm, detail above
Whilst knee-deep in print-material design this weekend, branding and all that it entails is the hot topic for the moment. Logos are powerful entities in their state of ubiquity, both in terms of visual valuation and their socio-economic and anthropological implications. Ironically it’s quite easy to lose sight of how significant an impact such concise illustrative interpretations of a specific niche of enterprise have on the way we live and decipher our surroundings. Much like the connotations of words, brands instill a plethora of associations and nostalgic sentiment when in plain sight (surely a logo that fails to do so is a failure in itself…). Artistically speaking, I’ve always believed in the power of a good logo as typified by a self-fulfilling prophecy without which no amount of advertising would be able to supplement. That is of course not to imply that I align myself with corporate culture. Here I speak of brand design in a purely substantive context, far removed from the hubris that later manifests itself once the brand-and-product image is institutionalized and/or tarnished by corrupt business culture geared towards the excess.
For long, the Chapman brothers have explored this in their iconoclastic work with pieces such as Grimace (2002), assuming cult followings in their own right. Similarly, last November’s ‘Liquidated Logos’ solo exhibition of French street artist ZEVS‘ work at the Lazarides Gallery in Soho challenged the interpretation of logos via alteration of their traditional and accepted form (as shown in the instance of his Chanel-inspired piece above). And though unfortunately not featuring one of the best songs off the duo’s 2007 album †, Justice’s video for ‘DVNO’ (shown below) also has the right idea: a single concept can be woven well into the threadwork of various text-based images for varying effect. Conversely, no matter how drastically old logos are re-interpreted, they never seem to lose their initial intrinsic identity of specific product representation by association. (For yet another example, click here for an image of ‘re-designed’ logos demonstrating a good exercise of this exact character-branding mechanism.)
Illustrated by Ed Banger’s in-house creative director So-Me
Sarah Badr © MMVIII
See also: Ed Banger Records