Written by Jessica Kane
A logo is so much more than just a picture or your brand’s name in carefully chosen colors. Your brand’s logo is a visual representation of your entire company. It will serve as the face behind your company’s name and should not just be visually appealing, but communicate a message to everyone who sees it. There are many principles of logo design that require both time, dedication and passion in order for the end result to be both effective and gratifying. By taking a look at some of the world’s most recognized logos, we can gain a better understanding of the core principles of logo design, as well as how they relate to the greater psychology of logos. A solid grasp of both concepts will enable you to gain a better understanding and clearer image of the type of logo that will truly capture the heart of your business’s values.
Basic Principles of Logo Design
For brevity’s sake, we’ll look at four of the most important principles when it comes to designing logos. The word “logo” derives from the Greek “logos” that literally means “word”. So a logo is, or at least should be, a visual manifestation of a word that is easily identifiable and presents a clear message.
The best logos are simple. Even the most clever logos that reveal deeper meaning upon further examination convey an immediate message. When it comes to successful logo design, the key is to keep things clean and simple. A logo should be a window, not a door. Take Nike for example. Their simple stroke is instantly recognizable but also projects the company’s encouragement of fitness and activity right off the bat.
Creating a memorable logo is a lot easier said than done, but the fact that a logo needs to be successful in order to fulfill its purpose is essential nonetheless. You need a logo that your audience will be able to draw an instant association with. Take Facebook’s logo. When you see that F in a blue box, you automatically know that it involves the site. A simple logo that can be easily memorized and tied into actions is one that will be remembered the most.
Don’t go for a logo that loses all context when scaled down or has its font swapped. You need a logo that can be placed on a variety of surfaces, presented in a multitude of scenarios and even be updated with a new font or color but still retain its strength.
Too many people want to create a custom logo that looks just like all the other top logos of today, or even ones that are based off famous ones from the most successful companies. That’s a huge mistake. Your logo has to be reflective of your company’s values and mission. You want people to remember the symbol, not the trend.
Psychology of Logo Design
Now that we know some of the most vital principles behind any good logo, let’s take a look at some real-life examples to better understand how they illustrate the psychology of logo design.
Color plays an enormous, if not the most influential, role in logo design. There are universal connotations of colors that elicit very distinct emotional responses. Colors make unconscious impressions to viewers. They may not automatically look at your black logo and think, “This man means business,” but their brains will associate the sleek darkness with authority, sophistication and perhaps even intrigue and mystery.
Referring back to the Facebook example mentioned earlier, the two colors used in the social networks logo are blue and white. Facebook is all about community and strives to create an atmosphere that is welcoming and friendly. It is, afterall, a place for friends. Blue is a color that promotes peace, serenity and tranquility, while white is considered to represent purity, honesty and simplicity. When you combine the two, you get an emotional image very similar to Facebook’s core values and mission.
A circle represents wholeness and continuity; which translates to trust and credibility. Hard lines create stronger contrast and design can either use them to build solid foundations or create unintentional, off-putting barriers. Even the direction of strokes, in your logo, convey a message; would you rather move up, representing growth, or point down? Twitter’s latest logo iteration is a perfect example of how much a difference stroke and angling can make. While their first design wasn’t bad, it’s neutral positioning didn’t leave nearly as strong of an impression as the new bird, angled upright and emanating with positivity and cheer.
Amazon is another great example. Although the brand name in the logo is simple, the curved line that connects the letter A to Z establishes the fact that they’ve got you covered no matter what it is you’re looking for.
Even though the average consumer isn’t familiar with the logistics of typography, the font you choose has a major impact on how they perceive your company. A serif is serious and professional, but it can lack personality unless there is some crafty kerning and tracking (spacing between letters and characters) involved to create a greater meaning. Sans-serif fonts on the other hand can come off as juvenile and inexperienced if the right one isn’t chosen. Not many people would take a university seriously if they displayed their logo in Comic Sans.
Using Logo Psychology in the Real World
Most of the time, reading about the principles and psychology of logos and design is a lot simpler than actually designing a logo that encapsulates all of the essentials and gets its job done. But you can use these points as a guide while drafting your own logo or working with a designer. Keep your company’s values and the distinct impression you want to make at the forefront of your mind and the sincerity – coupled with the right techniques and design approach – is sure to yield fruitful results.
Jessica Kane is a professional writer who has an interest in graphic design, marketing, and printing. She currently writes for 777 Sign, her go to place for banner signs, custom flags and custom signs printing.