Good logos are made of this!
The Oxford Dictionary defines a logo as "...a printed design or symbol that a
company or an organization uses as its special sign." Corporate history has
shown that a logo is much more than that to a company. The prima facie identity
of the company. Rarely does one find a piece of corporate identity that can so
effectively and quickly transform the perception of the company in the minds of
the people as a logo can. No sooner does a company change its logo than it is
suddenly seen in a different light and so is the company.
A logo helps attach adjectives to a company - smart, fast, tech-savvy,
conventional, hip, boring! A change to a logo makes the audience sit up and
notice (often rethink) about the company. The human mind has a tendency to
attach personal or humane characteristics to something intangible as an
organization image that helps the logo.
What's in a Logo?
1. Which company's logo is blue and has a crosshatch design?
Not many people are able to answer this question correctly in the first shot. Rightly
so, for there is no information about the product or service industry that the company
is into or the market it serves. One would naturally require answers to these
questions before guessing the company ... or would one? Now lets look at a similar
2. Which company's logo is red and resembles a check mark/swoosh?
No prizes for guessing that. Most of the people get it right. It's Nike! One doesn't have
to even specify the product. The recall of a powerful logo is such that the company
itself becomes secondary to the logo (that's why Nike doesn't need to mention its
name on its shoes since 1995 and maintains just the swoosh...and this applies for its
website as well!)
The first company who also is in the same industry, by the way, is Reebok. Nike has
worked hard to create a strong image around its logo and its effective marketing
campaigns and advertising stress the logo along with its message. Both the
companies have similar quality standards and performance levels. The designs that
both companies employ are equally creative and innovative - still other things
remaining the same, the logo ... and the image isn't!
Successful logos throughout the world have certain characteristics that make them
popular and memorable.
These logos are distinctive, they are different than the rest. Even the fonts of these
logos are designed in a custom manner - it could be a completely new font created
or tweaking provided to an existing font.
Logos are the longest living corporate identity that an organization enjoys,
sometimes more than the employees in the company. Successful logos stand the
test of time - the shelf life of an average logo is considered to be around 20 years.
Though there have been cases where logos change in lesser time than that, the
changes are usually evolutionary than sudden in nature. An evolutionary change
may be needed in bringing a logo more in tune with changing business conditions
but a sudden and drastic change can more often than not affect the company
adversely when consumers are not able to adapt to the change thus bringing the
company to square one.
Coca-Cola is a classic case in this aspect. Designed in
the late 19th century (1886) by the company's book
keeper, the logo still looks fresh and attractive and
denotes a distinctive feel to the company image.
Able to evoke emotions:
Successful logos are able to evoke desired
images in the mind of the prospect. Logos
facilitate carrying the desired corporate
image to the consumer in the shortest
possible time. Whether it is the font type
that expresses this or the accompanying
graphic and colors, the message that gets
across to the audience.
For example, the Michelin man - the logo of
the French tire company Michelin develops
an amiable feeling towards the company
with the use of a human character.
A slightly technical point here, but important nevertheless. Good logos look good
on huge billboards, on visiting cards, on black and white fax copies, on gold
embossed door plates and if you must, mugs and t-shirts. The font and graphic
designed should consider the media over which the logo appears while designing.
Times are changing ... and so are the logos. Logos in earlier times used
to be very elaborate and 'detailed'. Nowadays they more simpler,
minimalistic yet elegant and attractive; somewhat a sign of people not
having the time to look at detailed logos.
Needless to say there are certain logos that maintain their earlier look but
quite a few companies changed their logo to reflect changing times and
even changing cultures.
The AT&T logo for example experienced such changes making it more
sleeker and less cluttered along the way.
Finally, a good logo like a good product has to be advertised and given due
exposure. Some logos even though they are great images do not remain at
the top of the mind because they are not advertised as much. Not many
companies place a premium on their logos as companies like Nike and
Logos have been around since ancient times. Traders since the 13th century
used to mark their wares with monograms to claim ownership and right to title
of the goods. But it is only in the last century that the logo started generating
more interest (and more so particularly after the concept of branding was
introduced by the likes of Pavlov and David Ogilvy). Modern history of logo
dictated companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors who
had similar working products to sell.
Different and often weird situations have inspired and led to creation of
the world's most famous logos. One thing these famous logos have in
common is that they strive to be different and distinct. There have been
changes to these logos but most of them have been evolutionary in
nature than sudden. The logos that have changed over the years show a
trend towards being simplistic and 'leaner' than their earlier versions -
possibly a change to reflect changing (and faster) lifestyles. Below are
some interesting examples (logo images shown below):
At the turn of the century, 3M was more concerned about its
survival than it was about a logo. The young abrasives company
was comfortable in its descriptor..."Minnesota Mining &
Manufacturing Company.". The first logo was churned out in 1906
with the current logo designed as recently in 1978.
Named after the founder Adolf (Adi) Dasler, the Adidas logo has a
triangle cut into three pieces. The three pieces reportedly represent
his three sons!
The blue and white parts of a circle are present in the BMW’s logo that we
see on its automobiles. The origin of this dates back to the 1st world war
when, the fighter planes had their propellers painted by the company in blue
and white so that the pilots could see through them. This inspired the design
that we see on BMW’s cars.
Color Selected Logos
Below, you see an image color map of a lot of major corporate
company logos. It is remarkably a lot of logos all have the same
colors. You a lot of primary colors are used in corporate logo design.
This is to be identified as strong and clear.
1. Go to this website.
2. Click on design cases.
3. Go through each case and read
how they were thought up.
4. Pick the 3 best and the 3 worst.
5. Create a new logo for the 3
worst using the logo principles.