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Thoughts of and a vow for corporate identity, 1984
Wolfgang Schmittel shares his thoughts on corporate identity in his book Corproate Design International.
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The following is an introduction to Corproate Design International written by Wolfgang Schmittel and offering thoughts on corporate identity. If you enjoy articles like this, and would like to support the project, subscribe to Logo Histories.
There are designed, intentional corporate appearances - and others that have come into existence rather by coincidence. Already in the early fifties Braun, it is said, had such a corporate personality consistently planned for all areas - and so did e.g. Lufthansa and Olivetti. Certainly there were others, but not many and perhaps also not as consistently planned. The term "CI" or Corporate Identity was not yet known at that time. This came up much later together with the Marketing language. Today almost everybody uses the term, which only touches upon advertising communication.
There are many definitions. One of them is contained in the CI book by Birkigt/Stadler: "We see Corporate Identity in parallel to personal identity as a conclusive combination between appearance, words, actions of a company, and its character, or expressed more specifically, as a combination between corporate conduct, corporate appearance, corporate communication, and the hypostasized corporate personality as the manifested self-understand-ing of the company."
As the term is English I have consulted "Cassell's Dictionary" as a competent translator: "Identity" = conformity, individuality "Corporate" = unified, united, mutual effort, also guild, trade association. Or slang: paunch.
After citing all of these eloquent definitions I should like to add my own:
This is what makes Corporate Identity: Equal intentions of all responsible parties. Cumulative effect. Intensive appearance. More credibility. More power of conviction. More successful work!
CI is a comprehensive, all-comprising "formation" It is corporate personality in the widest sense. Trade relationships, pro-duct. communal politics, personnel planning and administration, build-ings, customer service, e.g. the entire communication from the TV spot over packaging and advertisement to the trade fair stand. This can also be read in the theoretical CI books.
To me, however, CI is primarily a matter of attitude, a matter of character! A self-comprehension that comes from inside combined with a clear vision of the goal. Designers can then transfer this mental attitude to a graphic picture - to "CD", i.e. "Corporate Design". In this way purely aesthetic, qualitative aspects create economic values and success. The quality, which from own long-standing experience, I attribute to CI.
Missing self-comprehension leads to a mendacious picture of an artificial 'Corporate Design". Or, what is even worse: there will be no corporate appearance and every new advertising campaign will have a new "advertising personality", and that is uneconomical! A true Corporate Identity does not form itself in an advertising agency. It requires a responsible center point.
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About Logo Histories’ Extra Issue
Logo Histories' Extra Issue unlocks opinion and insights lost to time, buried within the pages of rare out-of-print design books and magazines. Through this series, you'll come to understand the challenges and opportunities corporate identity designers of the past faced to help you better understand design practice of the present. For Logo Histories, click here.