When we have something precious that needs to be transported, we often put it securely in a box. Similarly, brand logos are often designed within “container shapes,” as a visual vehicle that defines the spatial and differentiating aspects of a brand.
To be sure, a logo is the ultimate visual distillation of a brand’s value and message – it can convey both a first impression and an enduring confirmation. Implied in this is the notion that as a brand travels, it is imperative that it remains identifiable and is rendered with integrity – enter container shapes.
A great example of how container shapes are used is the iconic transport service provider, UPS. As a brand that promises integrity and reliability, it seems natural that it be housed in the gold standard shield – a very “ownable” and differentiating brand element.
By locking the brand’s wordmark along with the container shape shield, the brand’s boundaries are well-defined, and the relationship between the three letters U-P-S is retained. In doing this, the container shape acts as a telegraphic, visual motif that houses the UPS logo, which is particularly important when the logo gets a quick read, as it would on the side of a fast-moving truck.
Further, for global brands like UPS, the logo has to live in many more foreign places where a well-defined logo can make this journey a smooth one. Finally, in the context of co-branding, sub-brand extension and partnerships, a container shape can provide clear, non-verbal usage guidelines and simplified application rules. It also reduces misuse and the amount of possible logo variations, thus driving consistency.
As UPS demonstrates, delivering a consistent brand experience on a global scale can be a daunting task, but with the use of a container shape, a brand can project itself in a unified and consistent manner anywhere in the world.