One of the first design and advertising books that really spoke to me was Pentagram’s Living by Design (long out of print). Its basic premise was that design extended to more than graphics, architecture, advertising- but was the entire consumer/brand experience- long before people were talking about experiential marketing.

I was lent the book by a former employer, who had been given it as a gift by one of his professors. After I read it, I tried to talk to him about it, his response: “I don’t read books.” I didn’t stay at that job very long (probably because I did read).

I went to Pentagram’s London office to find a copy, several years later. They were nice enough to give me a copy- that had a section removed- and she copied the missing pages. I later got a complete copy from an art book store in Santa Monica- it’s one of my most prized books.

So, when I stumbled onto Pentagram’s blog- and saw this logo- I was instantly reminded of why I believe design does make a difference.Logo for One Laptop Per Child by Pentagram

Take a look at this elegant logo- then read their description:

New at Pentagram: New Work: One Laptop Per Child
Pentagram has designed the identity and website for One Laptop per Child, the non-profit organization with the goal of providing laptop computers to all children in developing nations.

The identity is a hieroglyph, designed to be universally understood, that utilizes the icons of the OLPC laptop interface, also developed by Pentagram. The website design employs these symbols as the basis for navigation. Each icon leads to a corresponding section of information: the laptop to a section about hardware and software, the arrow to a section about participation, and so on. The site launched in English but is currently being translated into many languages.

For all the companies that don’t think they can afford to do a proper logo on start-up, just remember, you can pay now, or pay later. A well designed brand mark can make the difference between having a corporate identity- and becoming a lifestyle brand, ala Nike, Apple, BMW, Mini etc.

And, by the way, if you aren’t familiar with the One Laptop Per Child initiative, you need to read more about it- it’s truly something that could change the world.