Logobama: Inclusive Brand

I came across this site after reading The Daily Heller this morning. I love this. It’s a side project done by Substance, out of Portland, OR. A site that allows you to mash up the Obama logo with anything from your dog to President Bush.

This is a wonderful case of extension of the Obama brand through non-official channels. To my knowledge, this wasn’t conceived by the Obama campaign, but it wouldn’t have been possible if certain elements hadn’t been in place. A candidate to inspire folks. An attractive and fresh (for politics anyway) visual identity. And a campaign that is inclusive enough to make this kind of action supported.

We hear so much about how brand is becoming more of a collaborative model, but for all of that talk, visual identity still remains sacred. As a visual designer, I can understand this. I don’t want to see the Myspacization of my carefully considered work. But this is siloed thinking. If sacrificing the integrity of the visual design allows the brand message to come through, then I say have at it.

This Logobama tool also has some nice features that shows they really get this challenges of designing tools for a DIY culture, they understand that it’s not about just launching and seeing what sticks, but developing rules and tools that allow users to have enough guidance to create and participate.

Well functioning crowdsourcing communities always rely on clear, explicit, and shared rules to deliver an experience that is productive, fun, easy to comprehend for all parties involved, as well safe for everybody to engage in.

I’m keeping an eye on collaborative brand initiatives. If you know of any let me know. Brand is great place to look as we prepare for the future of products. We’ll do well to learn from the challenges of building collaborative brands. Mistakes will be far more costly as participatory models move from the digital to the physical.