Ring Logos

My notes on a recent Marketing FadÔ

Every once in awhile I'll notice a new marketing trend going on, and it's amusing to watch it progress. Oddly enough, the high-powered (and highly paid) marketing execs don't seem catch on very quickly -- which is exactly what they're supposedly paid to do! I'm not a trained professional marketing type, so don't put any weight on my commentary.  On the other hand, this is probably why I can look at this stuff objectively. So, here's the latest example of lemming marketing. Logo's with rings in them.

I've noticed that every company apparently thinks they need a new logo which must be based on one or more rings or partial rings.  It's amazing to watch as these marketing trends build up steam.  Every marketing company in the world starts creating similar logos and selling them to their customers as if they've just created something new, different and brilliant.  The companies, in turn, buy something they believe is avante-garde and unique and able to be trademarked.  And soon everyone has nearly the same logo. I've collected some examples of one of the current trends which I call:  logos with rings.  Usually partial rings tilted and crossing one another.  In other words, forming images of Saturn, the ringed planet, or images brought back from the 50's of the electron flying around the atomic nucleus.

The Ringers

I have grabbed these images off the owner's respective web pages, and provide links back to these same pages.  Hopefully they won't sue me for placing them here; on the other hand I'm giving them free advertising.  Please note that this is a personal web page and the contents are in no way controlled, sanctioned, or even read by my employer, Tangram Enterprise Solutions, who luckily does not have a ringed logo.  These logos are all the property of their respective companies.  Until, that is, they start suing each other.

  My guess is that this is the logo that re-started it all. Sure, the atomic images had died out. Then Saturn brings back the rings, and it's only a matter of time before everyone wants one!

Bluestone Software is the company.  Sapphire Web is their big product. That's a pretty good marketing start. And Sapphire Web is one of the leading web tools around. I just don't have the foggiest idea how one manages to convince such a company that they need a logo that looks like the planet Saturn.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, the Bluestone logo flipped on it's side!

They liked the ring logos so much they named the company after it!  In all fairness, Orbital's web page claims they've been around since 1982.  Don't know how old the logo is, or their name, for that matter.

The Baby Bells are ringing too!

Net Dynamics, in the same market as Bluestone.  With the same logo theme.

  Perhaps Trendy Micro would be a bit more accurate. But that aside they seem to be a nice company.

These guys really are into the ring trend.  They have yet another logo for their product "Arena" which really looks a lot like the Network Associates logo below, but I couldn't find a GIF of it (I've seen it in a magazine).


Ringers Up

Well, the rest of these aren't quite as obviously similar, but they're close enough to warrant a mention in the "ring" trend.  Besides, how could any "ring logo" page be complete without the infamous Lucent coffee-stain? Great new name, great technology, great company. Silly logo. But memorable! So what do I know about marketing.

Can you use rings to make one of the most angular letters in the English alphabet? I knew you could.
You should have seen the old StorageWorks logo. Talk about font-abuse.

Although this logo at first glance doesn't seem very ring-like, upon closer inspection it has an epliptical circle surrounding a central circle. In addition, I'm certain that I've seen some television ads from this company which use an electron circling the nucleus sequence which then forms into their logo. But I could be wrong. It's happened before. At least I think it has.

No, I don't know why this one is here either. I mean, if this is here, shouldn't the Infiniti logo be here too?

Though I had to include this major ring logo, it clearly isn't a saturn rip-off and is definitely unique. Heck, it has enough irregularities I bet their own graphic arts people have trouble drawing it the same way twice.

Well, I really wasn't going to include this one, but it wins out of sheer volume. As I flipped the pages of a few magazines looking for additional examples, my eyes constantly hit on this logo, and after rejecting it a hundred times I gave up. But these gusy weren't really following a trend, and they certainly did a good job of marketing. Too good, perhaps, as Andy Grove notes in his book "Only the paranoid survive" -- when the Pentium floating-point error was discovered, everyone knew that there was an Intel chip inside.  The book is good reading, but I digress.

OmniRings and soon -- the passing of the rings

An update on December 9, 1999

I realized that this fad, like other marketing fads, would spin out of control until nearly every logo in existance contained a ring or arc of some sort. But how long will it take? It's now easier to find logos without rings than to collect the ones which follow the theme. Eventually, though, the graphic artists will tire of seeing curves everywhere and "invent" the newest trend -- angular logos! So mod! So different! I can't wait. Actually, it's started already. Take a look at the progression from the completely rounded Internet Explorer 4 to the "boxed-in" Internet Explorer 5.

Finally, here are some more of the many rounded logos (venerable McGraw-Hill has fallen for the craze with quite a nicely overdone "MG" ring):


Missing Rings?

What have I missed? I know that as I was first picking up on the trend there were other logos that caught my eye. I just can't remember what they were! In fact, I know there were a few more that rather than follow the Saturn trend played more on the old 50's atom trend. Found any examples of the atom? Send them! Feel free to send me other examples and I'll update this page as appropriate. My criteria for inclusion is simple and absolute: If I decide to, I'll add it!

Send mail to:   robo@tangram.com


Copyright 1998 Robert L. Oliver
The views expressed here are the author's.  Would anyone else be this opinionated?

Last updated 19-May-1998