Recent conversations with clients have made me realise that often the word Logo is used without much thought, so I thought it worth taking a step back to look at exactly what we mean when we say Logo. Particularly when I read Martin Neumeier’s book Brand Gap which hits on the subject perfectly and has inspired this blog.
The term LOGO, short for LOGOTYPE (LOGOS is greek for word), has taken on a whole new set of meaning and it is one that is often misused. When people use the term they often mean the actual trademark but a trademark need not be a logo; it could be a logo, symbol, monogram, emblem or other graphic service.
What a logo ultimately aims to be is a symbol for the brand, not the brand itself. When developing corporate identity work for our clients we try to think of it in terms of brand icon; i.e. a name and visual symbol.
As we know, half the brain is dedicated to the visual system and so it is important that a trademark be highly visual. Coupled with this is the increased need for the trademark to operate in a moving environment.
The average Turkish Facebook user can spend a tremendous 19 hours a month watching videos, combine this with the internet at large, TV, cinema, etc. and it is clear that today a trademark must jump off the page and come to life.
In cases of when this is done well, (think Cisco, Intel, Unilever, Walt Disney) icons can reflect the distinct personality of the brand, and have enough meaning to act as the springboard for further brand expression.
So in a nutshell, what is an icon’s fundamental role? To forge a relationship between the company and it’ customers, engage in a conversation with them across a number of channels and the brand experience as a whole.
How can this be achieved? Strategy and design must work in hand-in-hand to think beyond the two dimensional, beyond logotypes and abstract symbols to create icons that can interact with consumers on a conscious and subconscious level – icons that can help differentiate the brand.