Logos represent a company, and communicate a few key aspects of the firm. A simple, suitable and well-made logo can help establish trust with potential clients. To know what a good logo looks like for your company, you need to analyze your work, products, services and values. A logo should not represent everything that your company does, but highlight an important aspect of what your company is. It can communicate an accurate look or feel of the company to potential clients, employees or business partners. Logos range from literal symbols to abstract designs. The deciding factor when choosing which part of the literal-abstract spectrum your logo should lie on is usually what you want to say about yourself. You can highlight an important aspect of your goals or values using a well-designed logo. Since your logo is a tool for branding, you can take into consideration the colors used for your firm on your website or other digital platforms when choosing or redesigning a logo for your company. You can also consider the preferences of your target group.
Read on to know which part of the literal symbol-abstract design spectrum to choose your logo from.
1. A literal symbol, if not very commonly used in your industry, can help people remember your brand
The name of your company (in the logo) can have a suitable font, color, typography. This vivid design on letters along with the design of a literal symbol can work well. Design elements on logos can also convey the values that a brand upholds. This is true when the common noun used in your company name is not exactly the same as the product you sell, as it makes people wonder why your company is named what it is (it may be a value you find important, eg: if the name of your company is Quest, your design can show the pursuit of your goals).
The advantage of using a literal symbol of a common noun and commonly used everyday purpose object is that it can be understood across cultures that speak different languages. This is helps brands who have not marketed themselves a lot in the past enter the market.
A literal symbol can help people remember the name of your brand, increasing brand awareness. If the logo contains a word that includes an adjective or something that sounds like an adjective such as ‘Bright Side’, an icon can also be used to visually represent the adjective. However, a literal symbol can also be lost among the numerous literal symbols that we see in our everyday life, symbols that represent commonly used objects. If your logo is an icon of your product (like a flower in the case of a florist), it is likely to not stand out as unique, even among your competitors who sell similar products. To overcome this, more creativity (or detail) can be added on the icon. For example, the oil company ‘Shell’ has an icon that shows a shell, highlighting the shape, with a signature texture (pattern) and detail. ‘Target’, too, uses bright colors and vivid imagery to represent the word.
2. Wordmark logos can increase brand awareness and recall.
This type of logo involves the name of your company. So, it can increase brand awareness and recall (especially when used with a tagline that describes the work you do). You can show some of your brand’s characteristics or values by modifying the design (letters, typeface, font, color, space between letters, space between lines). For example, in the FedEx logo, the space between ‘E’ and ‘x’ forms an arrow to show their priorities of speed and precision in delivery of mail. In this type of logo, there should be an optimum balance between readability (content communication) and creativity. It should be made sure that the logo includes a distinctive and creative style (or catchy name) – to make it distinct. This kind of logo is easy to make copies of.
3. Letter mark logos make it easier for people to remember your company name
It is used when abbreviations represent a company. This type of logo is useful for companies with a long name. Abbreviations are easier to remember, and can increase brand recall. The design elements such as gaps while writing the initials (as in the above logo) can increase recall. Colors can convey values – a gold font on a beige background shows sophistication and has a classic feel. Worn out paper used as a background texture bring up feelings of nostalgia. To ensure your company doesn’t get lost in the crowd, use an abbreviation is unique and very different from those of other companies in your industry.
4. Symbols can be used to show the work done.
These icons should be unique, well-designed, different from those used in daily life. This should also be done as time passes and your brand establishes itself, making itself known in the market. Twitter shows a bird that signifies the messaging and communication you can do on this platform. The logo was initially just the word ‘twitter’ with a small ‘t’, then a combination mark of the word ‘twitter’ with the bird icon, but with time the icon got popular, making the icon itself a logo. It also helped that the association was clear, i.e., “tweet” sounds like something a bird would say.
5. Once your company has made itself known in the market, you can start representing it with a more abstract design.
If you change or exaggerate certain aspects of a real life object and use it in your logo, this design starts moving towards the abstract end of the literal-abstract spectrum. This can also be done by bringing together shapes that are not usually seen in juxtaposition. By using elements such as lines or shapes at odd angles, you can move towards abstract representation. It can represent ideas and intangible concepts such your company values.
An appropriate abstract design can work for your brand for a long time. It can create a lasting impression and people may even trust your company because of this. It can also differentiate you from your competitors when done well and can bring more attention to your brand. However, it should be made sure that it very apparently connects to your company (name/value) even though it is abstract. This connect should be easily interpreted by people after a little thinking. The process of puzzling it out will help people remember your brand.
Here are two more points on Abstract logos to consider:
A. Abstract designs of logos make people think about the connection between the design and the company itself
Toyota’s logo contains an icon, wordmark and tagline. The icon is an abstract design itself. The two smaller circles form the letter T that stands for “Toyota” as well as “trust”. The larger circle represents technological innovation and globalization. It is interpretative and makes people think about the logo (and company) for longer. At the same time, when the meaning of the logo is communicated by the company itself, it shows the values that are prioritized. This can help establish some context for potential customers to interact with the firm, making it easier for them to do so.
The Amazon logo contains a wordmark along with an arrow that points from ‘a’ to ‘z’ to show the wide variety of products it sells. The arrow also looks like a smile.
B. Abstract designs can be used to represent unusual aspects of your company
The Pepsi logo is one of the most widely recognized symbols, and has helped increase brand awareness. It started as a wordmark and progressed to something more abstract over the years, as the company became better established. It is associated with the American flag (in terms of colors), the Earth’s magnetic field and the golden ratio. It also looks like a smiling globe. The abstractness makes it unique and helps get attention.
6. Mascots and emblems used in logos can have a story behind them. They can attract attention and increase brand awareness.
Mascots and emblems build curiosity about the how they reflect the brand, and over time, get associated with the company. This increases brand awareness and recall. The mascot of Starbucks is a mermaid that has helped it get increased recognition over the years. However, the most recent logo design is more abstract, (since it is without the wordmark, and zooms into the mascot.) The logo became more abstract over the years, as its popularity grew. It is named after an island ‘Starbuck’ in Greek mythology that had twin-tailed mermaids who lured people to them (just the way they want their coffee to lure people to their stores). The logo is symmetric, and also makes good use of a ‘star’ element.
Harvard’s emblem is a shield with ‘VERITAS’ (truth) written on it. This conveys the value it upholds. The crimson color was used in one of the competitions, to differentiate this school from the others, and has been used to represent them since then. This color has been used in various other places such as its website – becoming an element associated with a brand, thus increasing brand awareness. This kind of a logo is especially appropriate when it is to be used on mediums other than digital – such as on buildings and stitched into shirts.
7. Some logos can contain less apparent (along with the more apparent) representations of the work done by your company
NASA’s logo involves using shapes, elements and color to form symbols that remind us of something we are familiar with, but is not an accurate icon of an object used in everyday life. It also contains a letter mark. While some elements are apparent (the stars, and the round shape representing a planet), the white circle seems to be a more interpretative element. It represents the circular orbit that is used in space travel. The red design is also abstract, and makes people think about the logo for longer, helping them retain it for a longer time. It represents aeronautics, and is based on an impressive design of a supersonic aircraft – showing a twisted arrow wing with an upturned nose.
To sum it up, when your company is new, try to use a literal symbol such as wordmark, so people can remember your company name easily. A literal symbol containing a detailed design can complement the wordmark effectively. These can help increase brand awareness and recall. They can also convey information about your brand across cultures and languages. If your company name is a common noun not related to the product you sell, it can be connected to your values. Once your company has made itself known in the market to a decent extent, you can start representing it with a more abstract design. Ideas and intangible values can be represented using well-made abstract designs. An appropriate abstract design can work for your brand for a long time, and create a lasting impression, with its uniqueness.
Everything you do or say, including your logo design, tells the world who you are as a brand. We can help you create, revitalize and bring your brand to life! Get in touch with us http://www.chittlesoft.com/contactus.html