Brands go purple to honor Prince

To say the artist Prince was beloved is an understatement. And, no more so than here in the Twin Cities where Prince grew up, became a super-star, and stayed. Almost immediately upon the discovery of his passing, people and businesses began to honor the man by going purple. Bridges, buildings, billboards far and near lit with a purple glow. Brands too. Especially online, brand artwork was created or altered to celebrate Prince.
For the most part, these tributes came off as genuine and the brands attached assumed authenticity. These impromptu brand alterations can teach businesses a lot about how their logos and, brands in general, are perceived by the public. In no case that I witnessed did turning a corporate logo purple ruin a brand or create any sort of market confusion. Actually, the opposite happened. People noticed these brands even more.


We call company-insiders who are in charge of logo guidelines the brand police. Like a police force you’ll have some reasonable cops and some that are unwaveringly strict. For those people, there is one, and one way only, to show their logo. In the desire to create consistency of how their brand is portrayed, their complete adherence to the written rules of logo usage, at times makes their brand suffer. If not suffer, they certainly limit the possibilities of what their logo can do to promote their brand. As a person whose profession involves creating and communicating brands, I encourage the brand police to consider adaptations of their logos under a few circumstances:

  1. The alteration would attract additional attention to the brand.
  2. The purpose for the alteration would be readily apparent to the average Joe.
  3. The alteration has a limited and defined usage.

A Quick Example



Take a look at the above logo alterations done by the folks at Target. In all cases the three circumstances I mentioned are being met. Although the logos are not being used in the exact same way—neither the cropping, nor color, nor spacing is the same—the brand is undeniably Target and using the logos in this way enhance both the brand and message. We’ll have more on brands, branding and logo usage so stay tuned.