O2 signageO2 signage photo by Alex Segre.

O2 bubbles

“The O2 launch has been the most successful mobile brand launch that Accenture’s ROI group have seen.” [more]

“See what you can do — O2 adopted the phrase in 2002 after changing its name from BT Cellnet.” [more]

“The thinking behind O2 stemmed from the consumer insight that mobile phones are ‘essential for life’. The oxygen-bubbles design built a rapid presence in a market in which growth had slowed, creating differentiation from rivals as well as providing a consistent brand glue across communications.” [more]

O2 Visa card

What other brands can be identified without the logo?


The usual suspects are bound to be listed — Apple, Target, Harley Davidson, Victoria’s Secret, Benetton, and maybe a few airlines.

This is tough for brands to achieve because it requires both a unique visual sensibility (beyond logo and type) and the widespread exposure for it to stick. Usually, you get one without the other. For example, small businesses, museums, clothing lines, etc. may have a cool style, but only something on the scale of a bank, sports team, or fast food chain has the exposure to hammer it home. The latter categories are almost always dull by nature.


i think it’s only a half truth this about removing the logo, O2 is not present in all countries including mine and i assure you that if you put a banner with some bubbles over here no one will know what it’s about , to get brand awareness you need a logo first , after you get that you can use collateral imagery without the logo because people know the brand’s look.

one more thing, the idea of a logo is to present the company in a quick visual way without complicating things, as you can’t always use intricate graphics one will always return to the root of the brand which is the logo

Even tough the brand doesn’t exist in my country, the bubbles immediately reminded me of O2. How? I really don’t know.

I guess the same tactics could apply to the Coca-Cola Company, the waves are just unmistakeable. You had some articles proving this, right?

The O2 bubbles do the bulk of the work in describing the character and personality of the O2 brand. They are the visual brand-marks that are most emphasised of all the various brand-marks that cue the O2 experience.

The primary O2 brand-mark is linguistic (ie. the name) and so its visual form remains primary, despite the fact that the visual representation of the name is secondary to the bubbles. The O2 brandmark doesn’t draw on any other non-verbal symbolic representations that would otherwise draw attention to it. This enables the flexible (and infinitely variable) bubbles to perform most of the work in carrying the oxygen metaphor of the brand-idea. Thinking of the O2 brandmark as a ‘logo’ is ineffectual and makes a good case for demonstrating how thinking of brands in terms of ‘logos’ is redundant.

Simon Manchipp’s ‘Brand Worlds’ are constructed of ‘Brand Marks’, in much the same way that all the various marks of experience (material, linguistic and gestural) provide all the ‘material’ necessary to determine any distinct identity, without exception.

In conclusion, any discrete identity made up of marks that determine the experience of that particular identity can be usefully held as a brand.


..and with that a thousand photoshop atrocities were born that would leave a spreading stain across Britain’s visual landscape for years to come.

Coca-Cola. Everything about Coke breaths coke, tv comercials, print ads, the cans… Everything…

IKEA is another company…

I’ll beg differ with you guys. It’s not that simple. Remember, O2 logo is shown here before the bubbles. Could you recognize this brand by only seeing bubbles? I don’t think so.

Try showing graphics without logos for a real test.

From my experience that seems about right, Prescott. O2 is one of the exceptions.

MC, certainly the idea applies only to those 25 countries in which O2 operates.

As nomi suggested, would’ve been better to publish the imagery without the brand name.

Andrew, interesting thoughts as per usual. Cheers folks.


Same here. Don’t know what O2 is (other than the element with atomic number 8 and represented with the symbol O which at standard temperature and pressure, two atoms of the element bind to form dioxygen, a very pale blue, odorless, tasteless diatomic gas with the formula O2).

As i said, the bubbles took my mind to O2, not the element, but the brand.
Somehow, i connected these two elements together. If you show me O2, i will think of bubbles, if you show me bubbles i will be reminded of O2.

But it s not just the bubbles, it`s the colors too. Having the bubbles without that particular gradient in the background i don`t know if it would have the same effect.

I bow my head before the O2 company.

I agree with some of the above posters. I have never heard of the company, so the poster without the logo didn’t hint at anyone in particular. In fact, i thought it might perhaps be a bathroom fixture company LOL!

I agree, O2 is just a boring business with some blue bubbles. The don’t do anything different from the competition, no one could ever feel good about their ‘relationship’ with O2, perhaps a mild ‘nothing to complain about’ feeling.
O2 has no focus, they are not the best at anything, the brand is simple wallpaper. If you want to call this part of your life’s ‘experience’ please feel free to do so.

A brand has many visual signatures other than just the logo and these trigger emotive responses.

The best brands infuse their whole being with a unique personality that engages and builds on the emotive relationship it has with the customer.

Brands are more than just a logo in the way that a country is more than just a flag.

I’m sorry.
For me it doesn’t work. I’m from Spain and never heard about this brand, maybe as others commented it works for wideworld known brands.

For me I think you could even go as far as removing the bubbles and still know it’s o2 just by the blue gradient they use. I like removing logos, it’s actually one of the games we sometimes play at christmas with my family, and you have to guess what company the products are or just what the company is depending on how it’s played.

Some brands will maximise an opportunity by using a logo, others won’t. There is no general rule, it really depends on the brand and the unique set of circumstances surrounding it.

For example, a Mercedes is more valuable to it’s customers when it has a logo on it. But David Beckham (people are brands too) would not benefit from a logo because he’s already a recognisable and memorable personality.

Having worked with many of the world’s top brands, there are a few things I have found them to have in common.

Typically strong brands:

• Are more than just a collection of product features
• Have clear, simple positionings that are easy to understand
• Exude a confidence in all that they do, this in turn inspires confidence
• Demonstrate real insight into their customers’ lives
• Have strong personalities that help to differentiate them
• Are consistent, wherever you meet them
• Have the whole team behind them, all pulling in the same direction

Notice there’s no mention of a “logo”. That’s because the logo is irrelevant in the big scheme of things. Just look at Google – crap logo, world’s largest brand.

In my opinion, if a logo works in the brand’s favour, then use it. If it doesn’t, then don’t. Just make sure the identity is recognisable and can be applied with consistency.

I agree with you dan. I think companies like Target, IKEA, Apple, and Coke all have this quality. It goes beyond just brand identity, to the kind of an idenity an individual person has. As a consumer you feel that you actually know the company and can rely on them. They exude their identity in every detail of what they put out for the world to see from their logo, advertising, product deign and packaging, to the design of the store themselves. Their identity is consistent even in new marketing campaigns. They are the companies that when they make a major changes (ie. the “new Coke” that everyone hated) their customers actually have a strong emotional response, almost like they just got dumped (an exaggeration? Or maybe not). They are the kind of companies where you don’t need the actual logo anymore.

I just love seeing clever branding out there, where branding elements and colours are so reenforced throughout all their marketing consistently, eventually the brand is not only recognized by it’s logo, but the distinctive colours and branding elements. Nike is a great example, however they are still showing their logo, but the shape of their logo is so recognizable now that they don’t even need the word ‘nike’ anymore.

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