Apples on Campus

When you look at this picture, you are overwhelmed by Apple logos. There are other laptops there, but they don’t stand out.

Apple laptops do two important things with their logo. First, it is the right way up when the lid is open. To do that, the logo has to face away from the user of the laptop when it is closed. This is not a problem because the user of the laptop is perfectly aware of who made their laptop.

Second, it is very easy to make out, even from a distance. In fact, it glows.

On my new laptop, it’s clear that Lenovo hasn’t learned the simplest of these premises. When someone is sitting at a coffee shop with their awesome new tiny laptop, everyone else in the coffee shop (or across the conference table, or classroom) should be able to read the logo on the lid.

The X300 has a tiny black-gloss-on-black-matte “lenovo” logo on it’s lid, and it faces the user (and is therefore upside down to everyone else). The ThinkPad logo (two logos!) is easier to see, but is still small and upside down. The newer Lenovo IdeaPads seem to have improved in both of these areas.

imageOther laptop manufacturers vary (and also vary from model to model).

The Vaio laptop (the crocodile surfaced one in the front) we got recently gets the logo direction right, but what you can’t see in this picture is that the logo itself is indented and a highly reflective silver, which means that without the right lighting or angle, it’s quite difficult to make out.

The Toshiba Tecra M4 I retired for the Lenovo had a tiny silver-on-silver logo, facing the wrong way, but their latest laptops seem to go for large noticeable logos.

The overall branding lesson is here is that laptops (especially consumer, but more and more corporate, as well) are a “statement” device – something that you want to show off. Manufacturers need to take advantage of this trend by making showoffable laptops, and taking advantage of the opportunity to increase their brand awareness. And they also need to not wait 4 or 5 years after the competition does it before finally figuring it out.