For 21 years, the Samsung name as served as the company logo, occasionally superimposed over a wobbly blue oval. It's the kind of logo that's fine on washing machines and televisions, but incredibly boring on something personal, like a smartphone. Never is this more apparent than when compared to the branding of Samsung's arch-enemy in Cupertino, which is simply the silhouette of an apple.
Regardless, Samsung sells more smartphones and tablets than even Apple does. Doesn't it deserve branding just as good?
Inspired by Andrew Kim's gorgeous Microsoft rebranding concept, Dutch visual designer Aziz Firat decided to unite the many elements of Samsung's discordant branding "strategy" behind a clean new icon.
The icon takes the form of a stylized "S" folded like a ribbon, which not only gives Samsung a powerful and recognizable symbol for the back of its devices, but does double-duty as a home button design for smartphones, tablets, and other mobile products.
Firat's concept isn't entirely without fault. He says the icon is meant to represent simplicity, quality, and unity--which sounds wonderful--but he's really branding a bizarro world version of Samsung. There's currently nothing about Samsung products that represent the combination of simplicity, quality, and unity.
Still, the icon does offer consistency to the branding itself. Samsung uses different logos in different typefaces almost willy-nilly across their product line: The marketing materials for Samsung's flagship phone, the Galaxy S5, use two different "Samsung" logos and three different fonts in just the product splash shot alone. This not only makes a Samsung product less instantly recognizable, it makes Samsung look like it doesn't care about detail.
And while rebranding alone can't make Samsung's actual products embody the simplicity, quality, and unity that Firat's new icon would have them aspire to, a revamped visual identity can signal to the world that the company is ready to take such concepts seriously--which might be why the company is restructuring its design team. It's about time Samsung focuses on how it presents itself outside of those ridiculous, self-parodying mission statements.
[Images by Aziz Firat]