There was a punk rock music festival in Tompkins Square Park over the weekend. Not exactly my thing, but I did love what some enthusiastic soul did to our neighbourhood. On about ten of the pedestrian crossings, black tape had been strapped to the flashing ‘don’t walk’ hand to make it look like the official signal for rocking out that punk rockers so love. Entertaining stuff.
You know that it wasn’t part of a marketing ploy; but in fact the work of a rather excited fan. Which raises an interesting point about symbols and iconography. If you have a set of symbols that are short-hand for your brand and what you represent, you allow room for people to interpret it and play with it as they see fit. And everytime they do, they’re spreading your message; your brand. An overly used example of this is Obama’s logo-creator. And a less talked about example is Linux – who let us play with their penguin mascot and make it our own. So perhaps we should think along the lines of symbols and iconography and what we are willing to hand over to our fans.