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As we saw from my earlier post, there are many iconic brands, products and logos.

But what does it take to become iconic?  For starters, a great design - like RayBan aviator glasses – certainly helps. A great design, however, involves much more than just drawing on a piece of paper. The designer also needs to consider:

  • What material will the sunglasses be made from?
  • Will the sunglasses be comfortable to wear?
  • What material will be used for the frames and lenses?
  • Can the design be manufactured?

In short, the designer needs to think like an architect.  When an architect designs a building, all materials must be considered, i.e. glass for the windows, the structure of the floor and exterior wall supports. Sometimes the architect figures out how the building process will occur and if specialized cranes need to be developed.

Thanks to Apple product launches, every day consumers are now aware of the integration between design, function, and manufacturing. For instance, Apple is quick to point out that the design of the iPhone 5 “beautiful” and precision-engineered to include the complex curved edge design, the color selection of the back, etc.

The challenge for iconic brands is they can’t be a one-hit wonder.  They need to survive the test of time.  They need to evolve their designs, yet stay true to their target audience.  RayBan has done this very successfully.  Top Gun (pictured, top) was filmed in 1986.  Ocean’s Eleven (pictured, left) was filmed in 2001. Styles changed and in each case RayBan led the way.

What other criteria are important to designers to create iconic brands?