What is a Logo?
The dictionary meaning of a logo is a symbol, sign, or emblem. Human beings have used such symbols throughout time to convey a succinct message. In present times, logos tend to be graphical in nature, designed for easy recognition of an organization. It is a tool to build an identity for the organization, as part of its trademark or brand, and to generate favourable thoughts and feelings about the organization.
A logo needs to be original and memorable for the greatest impact.
Features of a Corporate Logo
A corporate logo should create a memorable association with a particular brand character. It is the initial impression most people see of company, like the flag of a country, but its impact depends upon how it is used. Its creation needs to consider many factors, including the culture of the company it represents.
Interesting and intelligent combination and use of shapes, colors, typefaces and other elements can create an image that is simple, yet rich with a concept synonymous to the organization.
Select symbols that best describe the business and withstand time. For example, the HMV or ‘His Master’s Voice’ logo, depicting a dog sitting and intently listening to a phonograph, first used in 1910, is still in use and relevant today.
If appropriate symbols and images are not found, abstract images can be used to relate to the organization’s philosophy.
Directed towards the masses, a logo should not have any cultural, racial, or other kind of bias, thus allowing it to appeal to the widest possible audience.
Use of Ideogram or icons makes them suitable for use in multi-cultural, multi-national, and cross-language marketing. However, a logo can be either typeface or icon based, or a combination of both, like that of Red Cross, Nike, Coca Cola, and Sony etc.
Colours express meaning, have emotions associated with them, and designers implement them appropriately to suit the nature of the organization.
A logo is associated with the value of the brand, becoming a symbol of assurance and reliability.
A logo is a core identifier of an organization, used on business cards, letterhead, and advertising material. More than a mere visual mark, it is the face of the organization, and so it must be original and memorable for the greatest impact.
– See more at: https://www.treefrog.ca/what-is-a-logo#sthash.ibB2TLeD.dpuf
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the phrase: Your logo is not your brand. This is repeated often enough that I have to guess there are people out there, who think a logo is a brand.
On the other end of the spectrum there are people arguing that a brand is so much more than a logo, that a logo is inconsequential. So I wanted to show how I define, understand and use the terms logo and brand, as well as some other related key words.
WHAT IS A LOGO?
A logo is the graphic symbol that represents a person, company or organization. If the logo is well-known enough, such as the Nike swoosh, you may even see a logo used without the name of the business that it is associated with. Normally, most marks have a typographic part that more clearly spells out the name of the organization.
What is a wordmark or logotype?
A logo can also be purely typographic. It is called a logotype or wordmark when only the letters of the name make up to the logo (there is no additional symbol). A great example is Coca-Cola’s red scripty type. Some people also refer to the logomark as the word portion of a logo that also has a symbol.
Sometimes the graphic symbol and typographic word mark are very separate (see the logo for Retail Association of Maine). With other logo designs, there is not a clear separation of logo symbol from typography, (see the Maine Auto Service logo).
WHAT IS A BRAND IDENTITY?
Once a logo has been designed it gets applied to many different applications. These can be as simple as the logo placed in the top center of a piece of paper and calling it letterhead. If all you do is essentially rubber-stamp your logo onto different things, you really have not developed a full brand identity.
A brand identity is the larger, distinct visual look that is associated with a company. Read here about 8 Essential Elements to a Comprehensive Brand Identity. That is a brief overview of the elements that can be put together to make your brand’s identity more robust than just a logo.
When a brand identity really works, you should be able to recognize the brand even if you don’t see the logo. For example, Netflix’s red envelope is a simple yet powerful example of a brand identity.
Many people have heard about the importance of using their logo consistently. But there should be a consistency to elements beyond your logo.
The tricky thing is that while your logo is unfailingly unchangeable, your brand identity must have both consistency and flexibility. Creating a brand identity that is distinct yet varies based on it’s form, is a challenge but can big dividends in your brand’s value. The elements that can be part of a full brand identity could be fonts, colors, imagery, and even the voice of the writing.
WHAT IS A BRAND?
What is included under the term brand is much harder to define. It certainly encompasses the logo and the full visual position created by a strong brand identity. But it also includes many other areas that are not part of the strict design side of a business. These may include your content, messaging and story telling. Customer service and the client experience also a part of a brand. The idea of a reputation is a critical part of defining the word brand. Some people summarize this into the very abstract idea of a promise.
You will also hear some people (including me) use the word brand almost interchangeably with company or organization. It can be a way to talk about product or service; individual or organization; company or non-profit without getting caught up in listing all those particulars. For example, people will say: “A great way to promote your brand is using social media.”
I like to think of a brand as a combination of how you define and promote yourself and how others define and view you. You never have complete control over your brand because it is not wholly generated internally.
What definitions do you like for the term brand?
– See more at: http://www.visiblelogic.com/blog/2013/02/logo-brand-identity-brand-what-is-branding/#sthash.DiTSazUW.dpuf
A logo (abbreviation of logotype, from Greek: λόγος logos “word” and τύπος typos “imprint”) is a graphic mark, emblem, or symbol commonly used by commercial enterprises, organizations and even individuals to aid and promote instant public recognition. Logos are either purely graphic (symbols/icons) or are composed of the name of the organization (a logotype or wordmark).
In the days of hot metal typesetting, a logotype was one word cast as a single piece of type, e.g. “The” in ATF Garamond (as opposed to a ligature, which is two or more letters joined, but not forming a word). By extension, the term was also used for a uniquely set and arranged typeface or colophon. At the level of mass communication and in common usage a company’s logo is today often synonymous with its trademark or brand.
What’s The Difference Between A Logo And A Symbol?
The misuse of the word “logo” is one of those things that gets many design-minded people practically purple-faced with anger (a sibling to debate over “fonts” v. “typefaces”). A logo, they say, is not the same as a symbol, which in turn is not the same as a combination mark.
So what’s the difference? In brief: A logo is a word, a symbol is a picture, and a combination mark is a PB&J mashing up the two. But really, in most circumstances, using “logo” for everything is just fine, say Pentagram’s Michael Bierut and Ammunition Group’s Brett Wickens. Just don’t expect the pedants to like it.
LOGOS VS. SYMBOLS
Although most people call any emblem that has been designed to visually represent a brand a logo, “logo” is usually taken to be short for “logotype,” which literally means “word imprint” in Greek. This is why we sometimes call logotypes “wordmarks.” According to this line of thinking, the only true logos are the ones that contain nothing but stylized letters, representing the literal name of a company. In its curlicue cursive, the distinctive Coca-Cola emblem is a logo. So is Paul Rand’s Venetian Blind IBM wordmark . Other logos include CNN, Sony, Samsung, Ray-Ban, Dell, NASA, Fed-Ex, and even Fast Company. Basically, if you see something in a company’s emblem that can’t be read, it’s not strictly a logo. Or, at least, a logotype.
But logotypes have issues in a global economy. Because they depend upon being read, logotypes for American companies might be confusing to people who live in countries that don’t use the Latin alphabet. Sometimes, companies will modify their logotypes for different markets accordingly: Coca-Cola, for example, maintains a stylistically consistent logotype in many different alphabets. These days, though, many companies prefer to take a more abstract approach, creating a universal symbol that abstractly represents their brand. Apple’s iconic fruit is such a symbol, as is Airbnb’s new sexual Rorschach test of an symbol. Other examples of symbols include the Red Cross and Red Crescent emblems, the Shell gas station symbol, the Nike swoosh, and more.
Finally, there’s the combination mark. These are emblems that use a combination of both words and symbols to represent a company or organization. McDonald’s, Domino’s Pizza, Starbucks, TiVo, AT&T: all these companies use combination marks. Some companies use both logotypes and symbols, depending on the context. Nike, for example, has both a logotype and a symbol, which can be used to represent the company in different scenarios. The Nike swoosh by itself might work on the side of a sneaker, whereas a combination of the swoosh and the Nike logotype might look better on company letterhead, for example.
DO THE DISTINCTIONS MATTER?
Over the years, we here at Co.Design have had plenty of commenters criticize us for using logo as a catchall term. But really, the distinction is pedantic.
A symbol may not be the same thing as a logotype, but abbreviating both logotypes and logomarks as “logos” is totally logical, because both types of logo are meant to do the same thing. In fact, symbols are often referred to logomarks for just this reason. The distinction between a symbol and a logomark might be useful to designers, who may want to pin down what type of logo a client is looking for, or experts who are discussing the distinction between logotypes and symbols academically. But 999 times out of 1,000, just saying “logo” is fine.
“I don’t think the distinction is that important,” Brett Wickens, partner and identity specialist atAmmunition Group told me. “Almost everyone refers to the emblematic visualization of a brand as a “logo,” even though it might be a symbol, a stylized word, or a combination of both. For a designer, what really matters is deciding what’s most useful, and what’s likely to convey the right attitude and distinction for the brand.”
Pentagram partner Michael Bierut agrees. “Everyone seems to have come up with their own definitions for this,” he says. “The distinction only matters when you’re in a situation where you need to refer to these overall identity elements precisely.”
Don’t expect the people who want to distinguish between logos and symbols to go away, though. Wickens says that while “logo” is a perfectly fine catchall term for an emblematic visualization of a brand, new techniques in identity design are creating even more kinds of logos (and more names!), such as responsive logos that change depending upon the ways they are used.
“With emblems that change based on circumstance, we see new terms like ‘fluid’ or ‘dynamic identity’ starting to emerge, and I’m sure a whole new lexicon will spring up around that,” he says. There’s a new world of logo design right around the corner to be pedantic about!