When Austrian art and philosophy collective Monochrom asked local citizens to draw corporate logos from memory during the summer of 2003, Apple fared well, with most of the 25 images at least approximating its well-known picture of an apple with a bite taken out of it.
The project looked at 12 logos, nine international ones and three better known to Europeans. Coca-Cola seemed to do the best, with most of the pictures mimicking the soft drink makeris distinctive script.
When contacted via e-mail, Monochrom member Johannes Grenzfurthner agreed, although he noted that one person drew the Pepsi logo instead. "People donit remember the details," he said, "but being memorable is only one factor. A well-crafted logo might have other temporary, but still important, advantages, like leaving a good impression."
Regarding the Apple results, he commented: "They remembered the iApple,i obviously... but are there colored stripes? Is there a stem? Is there a bite? And if so, is the bite is right or left?
"Many of the logos (not only with the Apple logo) were flipped from right to left. Humans tend to flip things horizontally much more often than vertically because our vision is horizontal: our retina is much wider than tall, our necks turn sideways better, etc."
Among the other logos -- Peugeot, Adidas, Lacoste, Maggi, BP, Philips, Eskimo, Toyota, Iglo, and Raiffeisen -- it was hard to tell which did the worst, as some of the companies have older or alternate logos that some respondents were clearly trying to draw.
"I donit think thereis a ibest and worst,i" Mr. Grenzfurthner said. "We wanted to short-circuit the one-way communication process of brands. Brand logos should be recalled... but not be drawn. We ienforcedi people to a process that they are not meant to do in our market society. You know, consumers shouldnit be too creative."
"Many people canit even spell out brand names right," he added. "People should keep that in mind."
12:17 PM EST, 3/16/06: Updated article with quotes as well as clarification of what Monochrom is.