What’s in a Logo?

November 15, 2015

A logo has tremendous power. It is tasked with saying everything about a company, yet it must be as simple as possible. Often times when a client is asked about what he envisions his logo to be, a long laundry list of adjectives that describes the client’s company is the answer. But, a logo can’t say all that, branding can. However, this particular blog is about logos, not about the overall brand.

A logo can only say so much. Think Apple. When you see the Apple logo, you see more than an apple, you see the promise of high-end devices, the unwavering reputation, and the latest in technology. Nonetheless, all that surely doesn’t come from just the apple, but from the branding behind the apple.

Rob Janoff, the creator of the Apple logo is hazy on how exactly or why he designed an apple. The reason for the bite was more functional, it made it easy to see that it was an apple regardless of how small the logo was scaled. Scalability is one of the core factors that makes a logo exceptional. If it is distorted at a different size, then it is unavailing. If the apple looked like a cherry, it would have been completely ineffective on the Apple Watch. Part of creating a logo is having that foresight.

A logo is nothing in the absence of the proper branding. If you don’t invest in branding your logo, it will mean nothing, even if it is literally a house. If you sell homes and your logo is a house, it  will convey nothing more than what it shows: a house. With good branding, a simple logo can be made to have great meaning, one that evokes the story it has been associated with. It doesn’t get more plain than the Nike swoosh, yet the moment you see it, your mind conjures a range of images and feelings about it. It truly has universal appeal.

A good logo, aside from being attractive, must be original, unmistakable, recognizable and easy to reproduce. While something might appear pretty, it doesn’t mean it will make a good logo. There is more to a logo than just how nice it looks, it has to be functional. But above all, a good logo is timeless.

You may sell houses, but that doesn’t mean your logo should be a home. In fact, a good logo must be flexible and a bit vague, so that as a company grows it might tap into unforeseen areas. A logo should be modernized and evolved to avoid stagnancy, not changed to meet new needs.

A logo is an extremely valuable asset, particularly in our media-rich society. Logos become embedded into the lives of consumers who become unpaid advertisers, proudly showcasing the logos of well-known companies. This is the result of a successful branding campaign, of which the logo becomes the symbolic representation of it.

Logos in themselves without a strong brand are basically meaningless. To answer our original question: what’s in a logo?  A logo can only be as powerful and transcending as the branding behind it.

If you are interested in learning more about creating a custom logo and brand, contact us.

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