Logo designs are all around us. Take a moment to look around, and you’ll easily spot at least 10 different logos without much effort. They are scattered everywhere we go, embedded in our culture and way of life. Logos have a significant impact as they influence our decisions, communicate and represent a company’s values, and are often full of meaning.
But what is the purpose of a logo, and why do they matter? These are questions that graphic designers and business owners really need to understand before working on their brand identity. So, let’s dive in and explore!
What’s the Purpose of a Logo?
The primary role of a logo is to identify. Remember this, as it trumps all other advice you’ll ever hear. Identification is what really matters. That’s it.
Trends come and go, design tools and techniques will evolve, and our perception of a logo may even change over time. But the single most important goal of a logo will always be to identify the person, product, business, or service it represents.
This means that as a designer or business owner, before working on any ideas, you need to fully understand the environment in which the logo will be seen. Who are the brand’s competitors and how do they look? What colors and symbols are already owned by established competition? How can we differentiate the logo so the business stands out from the crowd?
Logo design is a strategic tool – it’s not art. Many people mistake logos for art since they are visual objects. However, our role as designers is not to create something purely beautiful or based on personal preferences. Instead, logo design needs to be treated as a strategic business tool that allows a company to be identified in the vast world we live in. Of course, a logo can still look good, but that should be a secondary factor. Identification comes first.
A logo design doesn’t need hidden meanings either. Designers often aim to infuse logos with deep meanings from the outset, but this isn’t necessary. The focus should be on identification. Any meaning or association will come with time through interaction with the logo. As designer Michael Bierut wisely said, “A new logo is an empty vessel,” and it gains meaning over time through ongoing marketing and interactions customers have with the brand. Just look at the tick and apple icons. They have become much more than just well-designed illustrations—they evoke a whole range of emotions and brand associations.
Why Do Logos Matter to the World?
Logos matter because they are the face of a business, product, or service. When you think of a business, you often immediately picture its logo. The golden arches representing a famous fast-food chain or the apple with a bite mark representing a beloved technology brand—these logos are ingrained in our memories, experiences, and interactions with the brand.
A well-designed logo establishes instant brand recognition. Shapes and colors are easier for our brains to process and remember than words. So, if a logo is unique in the marketplace, customers can easily find and identify the company again to purchase its services and recommend it to friends.
Logo design also influences our decisions. From the day we are born, we start building a visual library in our minds, associating fonts, shapes, and colors with specific emotions and objects. Simply by looking at a logo, we make immediate judgments and perceive a business, product, or service in a certain way. If a company’s logo looks too expensive, too corporate, too fun, or too radical, we might avoid it. On the other hand, if the logo aligns with what we’re looking for and wish to be associated with, we’ll actively engage with the company and buy its products and services. The logo acts as a filter, attracting the right audience and forming expectations for the company. Failing to meet those expectations can result in wasted time, money, and potentially negative customer reviews.
A logo also creates a good first impression. In today’s internet-driven world, a company has only one chance to impress and attract customers. If the logo design fails to do so, it’s easy for potential customers to move on to another option. That’s why striving for a well-designed logo is crucial, as poor design can be detrimental to a business when first impressions matter so much.
Lastly, logos can communicate brand values and additional meaning. While the primary purpose is identification, logos can also be leveraged to convey important brand messages and values. It’s essential to keep it simple and focus on one key idea. For example, Amazon’s logo has a smile beneath its name, communicating the happiness of receiving something you’ve wanted. The vibrant orange color enhances this positivity. Similarly, the FedEx logo cleverly hides an arrow within the white space of the E and X, symbolizing speed and precision.
By understanding the role of a logo design, you can create stronger brand identities that perform for the business. So, it’s not just about creating a pretty picture, but rather crafting a logo that effectively represents the essence of the company.
If you enjoyed this article and would like to dive deeper into logo design, check out the free eBook: Logo Design Tips from the Pro’s. Within this eBook, you’ll find expert logo design tips and advice from some of the world’s greatest logo designers, including Aaron Draplin, Michael Bierut, David Airey, Von Glitschka, and Jacob Cass.
Now that we’ve explored the purpose and significance of logos, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Find me on Twitter, and let’s have a conversation. Or if you’re a potential client in need of a logo designer, don’t hesitate to get in touch so we can discuss working together.