October 2, 2019: Successful companies and organizations, no matter how large or small, know the importance of branding. A key element here is having a logo which is clean, modern and instantly recognizable. And now the NSS-CDS has one (or, actually, two).
So what was wrong with what we had?
The old NSS-CDS logo suffered from many design flaws. Chief among them:
- It was hard to read: The old logo worked best when reproduced large enough to fill the back of a t-shirt. When reproduced in smaller sizes — and especially in digital media — it was hard to read the text or make out any details.
- Poor design: It’s a near certainty the old logo was not the work of a professional graphic designer. As an example, one thing you learn in art school is to never wrap type around a circle. This only makes it harder to read.
- It was archaic: The old logo was a kluge. Someone thought it was clever to append a cave diving scene to the bottom of the NSS logo (which was already a less-than-professional design). Both logos just scream “1940s!”
- The colors sucked: Want to flunk out of art school? Just submit the old CDS logo as your idea of a good design. If they don’t kick you out over the poor design, you will definitely get the axe for using black, blue, red (and, occasionally, yellow) in the same logo. It’s as though someone asked, “We already have a hard-to-read design…what can we do to make it worse?”
What’s unfortunate is, by clinging to an archaic logo design, we’ve undoubtedly limited some of the Section’s potential. The old logo was hardly indicative of an organization in touch with the times.
A chip off the old block
What do companies such as IBM, Canon, Microsoft and VISA have in common? Their corporate logo is actually a logotype. This is the company or organization’s name or initials rendered in a distinctive typeface. Logotypes are among the most effective logo designs, as they are instantly recognizable, even when reproduced in small sizes or seen at a distance. Now the CDS has one as well.
Some people refer to this sort of design as a “block letter logo.” Whatever you call it, it is everything the old logo isn’t. This is:
- Easy to read
- Instantly recognizable
It’s likely this will become our primary logo in the years ahead. Despite this, we are not abandoning the old logo. Why?
- If you don’t periodically use an older logo design, you can lose your rights to it. Were we to abandon the old logo entirely, someone else could start using it and we would have little recourse to stop them.
- The old logo has a fair degree of recognition, especially in the cave and technical community. Sometimes, we want to take advantage of this.
What we have done with the old logo is give it a new official color scheme. As an NSS-CDS Instructor, you can use either logo, separately or combined with one another.
When using both logos, the old circle logo goes either to the left of the logotype or above it. As long as you use the artwork you can download from the website, without modification, you will be doing this correctly.
With new logos comes a new design for NSS-CDS certification cards.
We are pretty sure you will like these better than the old ones.
When was the last time you saw a color version the McDonald’s logo in anything other than the familiar red and yellow? That’s easy: Never. Like most companies and organizations, McDonald’s has a strict policy regarding what colors you can and cannot use in their logo. And now the CDS does as well.
Official colors for the new CDS logos include solid white, solid black, a special color we call CDS Blue and, when reproducing the circle logo in color, a design incorporating a blue gradient. From now on, these are the only colors approved for use.
Okay, what if you just spent money printing several hundred business cards which use the old logo in the wrong colors? The good news is, we don’t expect you to throw those out…at least not right away.
- The Section itself has an inventory of books and materials which use now-obsolete logos. We are going to consume those as quickly as possible. But we will not discard them simply because the logo is out of date.
- We are asking our instructors to use up any business cards or other printed materials which have the old logo, but in the wrong colors, as quickly as possible.
- As there is generally no cost associated with updating digital media, we expect our instructors to start using the new logo on websites and similar platforms as quickly as possible.
Eventually, the CDS Board will establish a cutoff date after which you must use only the new logos in approved colors.
There are rules
The two logos shown in this article, along with older versions of the circle logo, are trademarks of the NSS-CDS. We consider them valuable intellectual property. This establishes our right to determine when, where and how you can use them.
- In general, the NSS-CDS Board or an Board-designated representative are the only entities who can authorize use of the logo.
- The sole exception to this policy pertains to CDS Instructors in Active status. They may use the logos to signify their affiliation with the Section and their status as a CDS Instructor.
- Instructors may not, however, use the logos in a manner suggesting they speak for the Section or represent the CDS in any official capacity other than instruction. Additionally, you cannot put the CDS logos on hats, t-shirts or other items and sell them…or even give them away.
As mentioned earlier, companies and organizations who fail to vigorously defend their trademarks risk losing the right to them. The Section’s logos are too valuable to let this happen.
The Board has approved a Logo Design Policy and Style Guide. It is available in the Downloads section of the website. Here is what you need to do now:
- Log into the new Training website and download the latest logo versions.
- If the old logo appears on your website, replace it with the new version as soon as possible.
- Do not print or reprint any new business cards, brochures or similar materials with the old long on them. Use the newer versions instead.
If you have questions about any aspect of using the new CDS logos, contact us.