What’s in a logo

According to Logodesignsource.com, there are essentially three types of logos:

  1. Iconic/Symbolic logos capture an essence of the brand or product in their imagery. Think of Nike’s “swoosh” which captures a sense of movement.
  2. Logotypes (this is where the word “logo” comes from) or Wordmarks incorporate the company or brand’s name in stylized form. Think the “Disney” logo, below.
  3. Combination forms, like the Starbucks logo employ both an icon (the mermaid) and the name (in a ring around the icon).

According to logo designer Lo Min Ming, “a good understanding of the psychology of colors, typefaces, and shapes is an important part of making a great logo.” He compares the emotion and tone of the Disney wordmark with the impact of the same typeface for a different kind of company or product, as shown below.

Consumers have an amazing ability to recall companies’ identities from the tiniest fragment of a logo, suggesting that the choice of logo is critical both when introducing a brand and when maintaining it over time.

No-go Logos

Take a look at Business Insider’s list of logo fails… although copious resources were likely spent on each one, they do seem particularly  awful, as though a manager was phoning it in the day the work got approved. A frequently used example is the logo for the London Olympics in 2012:

logo olympics



Are there any logos that you find particularly effective? What are some conditions that make logos more or less critical to corporate identity. For example, would you argue that they were more, or less, important in the B2B space?



2 thoughts on “What’s in a logo

  1. serenapece

    I think logo design is extremely important to the creation of a brands identity as it essentially sets the stage for the all of the brands visual communications. As a graphic designer myself, thats usually the first thing I notice and remember about a brand. The most effective logo designs are the ones that are simple, eye catching and appropriate for the brand. This article from Complex magazine provides a list of the 50 most iconic logos of all time: http://ca.complex.com/style/2013/03/the-50-most-iconic-brand-logos-of-all-time/. Although some of the logos have changed over time, all of the brands current logos are simple, unique and memorable.

    I would argue that logos are just as important in the B2B space as they are in B2C. A well designed, well recognized logo provides a signal of quality. B2B firms usually don’t have the same level of brand awareness as B2C firms. Therefore, using a logo to build that awareness is a very powerful tool B2B marketers should use.

  2. Nicole Panos

    I think logo designs are extremely important, this is how consumers recognize brands. The logo is what they recall and as said in the article “the choice of logo is critical both when introducing a brand and when maintaining it over time.” This is crucial, because as you develop a brand consumers always remember the logo, but if you change a logo when it didn’t need changing it can take away from the brand. An example of this I think is Reebok who currently changed their logo to move away from targeting professional athletes and focusing more on the everyday person exercising and crossfit http://adage.com/article/news/change-reebok-logo-shift-pros-crossfit/291923/. The issue I see with this is, it isn’t in the logo that represented targeting professionals it was how they marketed the brand. I think taking away the Reebok logo, and especially replacing it with one that isn’t as appealing and people don’t recognize was not the best decision. The logo before was so well known, they should have just created a new strategy and not changed the actual logo, because now people see this new logo and don’t recognize it when Reebok was a really great and trusted brand before.

    In regards to the B2B question, I think logos are definitely important, but maybe not as important. I feel consumers or more easily influenced by logos, but businesses base it off of reputation and quality. On the other hand though a logo can represent a great reputation and high quality so it can be very important in B2B as well.


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