Signal // Honor

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy

The historical definition of the word “honor” is one that can generate some controversy today. So, when the SIGNAL team took on this particular word to explore signaling, we challenged ourselves to dig deep and capture the true meaning of the word.

Often, honor is associated with a rule of law — if you live by a strict code of honor, you are therefore honorable. But in today’s society, we’re evolving to a more individualized culture. We each set our own code of honor, based on beliefs and values, and we are each expected to live that out, while not imposing specific standards on others.

So, where does honor fit in today, and how can it be applied to business and branding?

When we look past the traditional definition of the word, and take the true meaning of the concept of honor, a powerful message emerged. Today, honor isn’t about following a code — it’s about treating ourselves and others with a genuine, deep respect. It’s holding those we respect in high esteem, and it’s showing our gratitude to those who’ve earned it. Honor is subtle and dignified, strong and poised. And when we go the extra mile to show this to those who, in each of our eyes, deserve it most, it can be so powerful.

When we honor others, whether as individuals or organizations, we show them that we appreciate their every effort. And as individuals and organizations, if we align our actions to our own values, we act honorably.

What does it look like to signal honor?
  • Deep, rich jewel-tone hues and clean, airy neutrals.
  • Classic typographic styles are highlighted in centered compositions.
  • Highly refined details and type styling.
  • Textural depth (in color and/or lighting).
  • Croppings and compositions focus on the detail and construction of the subject.
  • Elegance and sophistication in materials and texture.
  • Bold use of scale and clear space.

Find other examples of visually signaling honor here.

Who’s signaling honor?

Brands and organizations can signal honor is many different ways — but the key is showing our respect and gratitude through actions and deliverables, not just verbal expression.

These brands have especially stood out as signaling honor:
Whether it’s beverage companies honoring their heritage, Google, who honors their staff through policies and perks, Comcast, who shows their appreciation to new and loyal customers alike, or Compassion International, who lives out their values by servicing others, — honor is being signaled loud and clear today across many industries. Read more.