Here’s another example of using a design that suggests a logo, rather than using it outright. This is a “Win Compatible” badge from the package of a KVM switch. (I think it was from IOGEAR.)
What I like about this is that it manages to get the idea across clearly even though it doesn’t use the actual Windows name or logo. “Win” is enough to get the name across, and the overlapping colored rectangles immediately call to mind the look of Windows 2000, Windows Me, and Office 2000. Sure, it’s one redesign back, but it’s still recognizable.
As for why they made their own logo? Well, it’s all hardware, with no drivers needed, so there really isn’t any point in putting it through the OS compatibility tests. You might as well label a monitor as being “Designed for Windows.” But not everyone knows what is and isn’t OS-dependent. Even those who do are more likely to buy it if they have that reassurance. I’ve looked at devices that I was 90% certain should work with any OS, but bought the one that specifically mentioned Mac or Linux compatibility because it filled in that last 10%.
I was looking for a list of requirements for Opera, and found this browser comparison table [archive.org]. Opera is compared to “Browser 1” and “Browser 2” on various features, speed, security, etc. Browser 2 doesn’t look too favorable, but Browser 1 looks terrible.
Of course, even if you don’t recognize the specs, you can identify them easily by the column headers:
Opera is red
Browser 1 is blue
Browser 2 is orange
Interestingly, I’ve got a project I’ve been working on off-and-on for a couple of weeks, and I’ve already put together a design using just color to represent different browsers.
It looks like I may have been on to something.
Update August 8, 2005: Apparently there are countries in which it is illegal to mention a competitor by name in ads, which might explain the tactic. Also, Opera has taken down the page, replacing it with a note that “This page is under development.”
Just saw a link for the current entries in the SpamAssassin Logo Contest. Entries range from a simple updating of the current logo through ninjas of varying danger and cuteness levels, and a few that have actually dropped the ninja motif altogether.