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Larryon Truman
Iconomy
May 6th, 2015

as the Sign of Change


For my pattern recognition paper I decided to look at the influence of the triangle, both in
form and content, in corporate logos. I was finding that many companies that had logos that
were soft and curved were transitioning into logos that were incorporating the triangle. I believe
that the reason for this is because the triangle is a dynamic shape that represents change,
energy, media and connectedness. In this paper I will: 1) share my experience with
encountering the pattern, 2) give a brief insight into the symbolism of the triangle, 3) provide
evidence that supports my thesis, 4) and attempt to predict the future go corporate logos.
Experience
I first noticed the change in the Reebok logo. It went from the three curved dynamic
elements to a red delta symbol. I thought it was
interesting, but didnt give it much thought.
Then, later that week, I noticed the logo of PNC
Bank and how it too consisted of a triangle. But
again, didn't give it much thought. Then, while
in class, I looked up at my toolbar on the top of
my computer screen and it had four different icons that consisted of a triangle. This is where I
became curious and looked back into the Reebok logo and looked for other instances where
logos had changed to incorporate the triangle. I found that over 30 instances where companies
that had previously had a soft or curved
dynamic element transitioned over to the use
of the triangle.

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I have concluded that there are three reasons
that companies have done so. First, and most
apparent is the triangles association with delta or
change. Second, is its tie to energy companies and
showing the change, ebb and flow, and action potential of energy companies. Third, is the
triangle's tie to media and the motion as well as the play button. Last, I found a sub-pattern
within the larger one where companies have
started to use the Penrose Triangle as a
statement of defiance of the impossible.

Symbolism of the Triangle


Historically, the triangle has been used as a symbol to mean many different things from
the elements to deity. It is the shape that needs the least amount of lines in order to come full
circle.Furthermore, the orientation of triangles have different connotations. For example, a
triangle with its apex pointing up is a reference to the female
version of the shape. It is terrestrial in nature
and strives upward and yearns for the higher
things. Similarly, an equilateral triangle with its
apex pointing down is the male version of the
shape. It is by nature celestial and strives after truth. When these shapes intersect, they form
the six-pointed star.
This is where the man
and the woman are
bound together in a

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perfect marriage. Furthermore, mystics in the Middle Ages used the triangle to represent the
four elements: fire, air, water and earth.
In graphic design triangles can be stable when sitting on their base or dynamic when
angled. Triangles suggest tension or conflict, action and aggression. They represent energy and
power and their dynamic suggests either conflict or steady strength. Based on which way they
point triangles, they can direct movement. Triangles are shapes the mean progression, direction
and purpose. Equilateral triangles are balanced and can be a symbol for law, science and
religion. On one hand triangles can be used to suggest familiar themes like pyramids, arrows
and pennants while on the other hand they represent the religious trinity, self-discovery or
revelation.
Delta
As stated above, the
triangle has been a symbol
for change. There are three
companies that have used
this symbolism effectively to
show corporate rebranding,
new management and
movement in a new direction.
Reebok used to have a logo that consisted of three pen marks that were curved and
were meant to show speed and motion. However, the previous logo did not just do it good
enough since the Nike logo is the epitome of speed and motion. Moreover, reebok had been
dying since the 90s and needed a rebranding. The new logo comprises its self of a red triangle
that is made of of three distinct elements. The Reebok Delta represents the changes physical,
mental and social that occur when people push themselves beyond their perceived limits and

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embrace an active and challenging
life. This is their new mission, and
has found a home in the Church of
Cross Fit as one of their official
work-out brands.
Next, we have Autodesk, a
3D design company. Autodesk was inspired by origami for their abstraction of the A in auto
desk. They said that origami is the convergence of art science and math. The dynamic element
shows the 3D aspect of the company, but
looks more like a folded ribbon than paper.
Some pushback however, is that it looks too
similar to Adobes logo, who are also in the
software industry.
Finally, we have Crystal Rock which is a water bottling company that has a large market
in offices and business buildings. They recently expanded to selling coffee and office supplies in
addition to just water. In order to visually demonstrate this, they went from a water ripple as their
dynamic element to three transparent mountains that represent each of the main things they sell
now.
In this logo, Crystal Rock uses triangles as a means to show the rebranding and shift of the
company in its expansion to more
items sold.
I found that there were
energy companies that wanted to
show the new found energy that
their rebranded companies had. The

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first, Woodgroup, is a leading international energy services company. It comprises three
businessesWood Group Engineering, Wood Group PSN and Wood Group GTS. Wood group
provides a range of engineering, production support, maintenance management and industrial
gas turbine overhaul & repair
services to the oil & gas and
power generation industries
worldwide. However, since there
are three businesses, they had
several different logos for each.
On the surface level, we see
that the triangles come
together to make an
abstraction of the letter
W for Wood Group. The
symbolism here is a
representation of the
different branches of
Wood Group to show a
cohesive organization to its customers.
Next, is Atlantis, the worlds leading developer of commercial scale tidal power projects.
Their first logo had an abstraction of a wave and does not adequately represent their business.
The new logo conveys both energy (in the form of a power grid) and tidal currents (looks like a
wave). Furthermore, the dynamic element is an abstraction of the letter A which makes it look all
around awesome.

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Another logo that clearly shows the
transition from curves to a bold faced
dynamic logo is Frigidaire. To celebrate
the creation of their 250th product, they
launched a rebranding of their logo. The
old logo shows the classic cursive font in
black. The new logo changes to an all caps bold type face with a red triangle in place of the
letter A.

Triangles in media
The most obvious symbolic use of the triangle in music and audio media is the play
button Google play has made a play on this by designing a logo
with a sideways triangle that says play, direction and movement.

BTVision also
used the triangle to
spice up their logo in
their rebranding.
BTVision is an on demand digital television service. Their old logo follows the pattern of a
rounded dynamic element, and then the company switches to a logo with a triangular take.
The play-button is an abstraction of the V and is tilted side wise to connote movement. It is also
a portal in which television comes to life.

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A very clear example
of my pattern is the German music
entertainment channel VIVA. The
old logo consisted of four rounded
triangles that spelled out VIVA.
Their new logo has sharpened up the logos and has filled
in the I. Similarly, AVID, a music composing software
company, uses triangles in three out of the four
orientations to spell out an abstracted word that says
AVID
Penrose Triangle
The Penrose triangle, named after psychologist Lionel
Penrose, is an impossible object to make. I found more than
ten different logos using this shape in their logos. Penrose
himself said that the triangle is impossibility in its purest
form. Companies using these logos are suggesting that
they are doing the impossible. Google Drive has a logo that
is a derivation of the Penrose triangle.
They are doing what once was thought
impossible. A gigantic cloud storage
system that is free for users. Here are a
few examples of some of the Penrose
triangle logos I have found.
Another excellent excellent example
of a round logo moving towards a more

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aggressive triangle is bing. The went from a
very bouncy round and circular logo to a
dynamic triangular and sharper logo. They
added the dynamic element of the triangle
that looks very similar to their competitors
Google drive.
The following are examples of
companies that use the Penrose triangle as
their main dynamic element in their logo. The first company, The Verge is a technology new and
media network. They report on new items relevant to media, technology, product reviews and
entertainment. Here, they
use an inverted Penrose
triangle as an abstraction
of the letter V.
Pattern interruptions
and Predictions
There are a few
cases where the opposite of the pattern has occurred. AOL is an instance where it went from a
triangular logo as a dynamic element to a chaotic, round, scribble as the dynamic element. This
transition didnt really work, and was not received well by critics. After this transition, it went to a
simple text based logo with no icon or dynamic element.
Based on this pattern, I sense a shift in corporate logos. Where there used to be a lame
swoosh or curved graphic, the companies are going to move towards a more triadic logo. On
thought I have is Capital One. In 2008, they added the irrelevant and pointless swoosh to their
rebranding. I predict that Capital One will switch the swoosh into a triangular element.

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Over the past
few years,
JCPenney has
had a bit of an
identity crisis. they
have gone from
typeface logos, to ones incorporating
different boxes. Here is a diagram that
illustrates the history and progression over
the past few years. One critic suggested a
sky-blue arrow/triangle as the round part of
the P for the future logo. Its now 2015, and
that hasn't happened though.
This logo is an example of a breakfast cafe
logo. It was found on a website that makes logos to inspire other graphic designers and to
brainstorm and vision cast. According to the pattern, this logo will not go far, but instead will drop
the squiggly line element and pick up a triangular element.
All in all, I see a
generation of corporate logos
moving to simpler, sharper
and more dynamic elements
in their logos. With increased
technological capabilities,
companies are able to
progress, trade, finance,

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invest and grow at enormous rates. They will want to rebrand and keep up with the times. The
triangle does just that. It is sleek, powerful, spirited, energetic and powerful.