You know it when you see it. The golden arches, the swoosh, Colonel Sanders. A brand logo is a quintessential tool for brand recognition.
But what makes a brand’s logo effective and iconic? And how do you stay recognizable while adapting to the times? Let’s talk about it.
Origins of The Logo
The concept of a brand logo can be traced back to Ancient Greek rulers who would monogram coins. Similarly, the Ancient Egyptians branded items to mark their possessions. Over time, the modern brand logo emerged in the Renaissance when potters, goldsmiths, and other craftspeople added logos to their pieces.
Jumping to 1876, a brand logo was trademarked for the first time by Bass Brewery. By 2020, there were approximately 13.3 million trademark applications worldwide1, with Apple being the most recognizable logo globally in 20222. With so many popular, globally iconic logos, why does your logo matter for your brand?
Why a Brand Logo Matters
Visual information makes up 90% of our information consumption and is processed 60,000 times faster by our brains than text information3. Therefore, even with the most perfect slogan, copywriting, or brand name, a logo is undoubtedly your brand’s first impression.
For this reason, a brand logo should be reflective of its brand’s voice and personality. This can be done through the colors, typography, and imagery used. Brands also must represent consistency in their logo to solidify easy recognition. However, you may notice that some brand logos have evolved or changed over time. For example, since 1999 Microsoft Word has had six different variations of its logo. So where is the line between acceptable brand evolution and jeopardizing brand recognition?
Why Do Logos Evolve?
A brand logo evolves to show dynamism. Styles, technology, and trends are constantly changing. To show that your brand is keeping up, you must change with the times.
However, the key to balancing modernity with consistency is keeping a brand logo recognizable at its core. Take the Pringles logo. In 2009, “Mr. Julius” of Pringles was sporting textured brown hair and a bushy mustache to match. Come 2020, Mr. Julius went bald but maintained a mustache that is now much sleeker and smoother in presentation. His chip-shaped face and oval eyes preserve his recognizability as the face of Pringles, but why the change? Back in the late 2000’s, Pringles was showing off their design capabilities by layering elements and creating shadows and dimensions in features like Mr. Julius’s hair. This showed that they were keeping with the graphic design trends and technology of the time. However, many brands today lean toward minimalistic imagery. Dialing back the layers and keeping the core presentation of the Pringles’ mascot brought him into the 2020’s.
Why Do Logos Not Evolve
There are exceptions to every rule. Coca-Cola is still using a logo that was originally designed in 1941. Despite its consistent design, the Coca-Cola logo still works because its original, historic look matches the brand messaging and personality; its product has a classic taste and timeless appeal.
Certainly, brands going for a vintage style can rock an “old-looking” logo. Retro logos can also make for great specialty branding or limited-edition items. For example, you can still purchase many throwback jerseys with your favorite professional sports teams’ vintage logos. Dynamic brands and those looking to convey modern styles though are encouraged to evolve their design from time to time.
Guidance for A Brand Logo Design and Redesign
So, how do you make a good original logo…and then continue to make your logo effective?
Elements to Design a Brand Logo
When first designing your logo, it should be representative of your brand itself. Think about your brand’s voice. Is it energetic, serious, or youthful? Is there a symbol or mascot that correlates strongly with your company? These things can make up the imagery design of a brand logo.
Once you know how your brand presents itself, look into colors for your logo. Color plays a big role in the emotional response and consumer perception of products. Find a color that matches what your brand is trying to convey.
Text can also help solidify a brand logo by clarifying your messaging. Like color, the typography you choose for logo text sends messages about your brand’s personality and reliability, so choose a style that suits your brand.
Time for a Redesign?
Imagery, color, and typography will stay central to your logo over time. However, depending on your initial design, you may choose to evolve your logo once you have more brand recognition or if a certain design feature goes out of style.
For example, Starbucks used to have the words ‘Starbucks Coffee’ in its logo but dropped it in 2011 once its green and white siren emblem was recognizable enough on its own.
You may also add or drop elements like shadows or outlines depending on the style of the time. Companies like Google, McDonald’s, and BMW all had shadow or outline elements to give a 3D-like effect in the early 2000s, but these elements have since been dropped to conform to the simplicity of modern design.
The moral of the story: a brand logo has key elements to keep it recognizable and impactful through the years, but a good eye for design can tweak stylistic elements to make it modern in every age.
Ready to Go with Logos?
If you are looking for a good eye for a brand logo design or redesign, our team at FYD has helped clients in many different industries build a logo that successfully reflects their brand image and style. Impactful color schemes, modern design elements, and clear brand guides are our thing. Contact us today to get your logo ready to go.
1 Statista. (2022, August 5). Number of trademark application worldwide 1990-2020. https://www.statista.com/statistics/257628/number-of-trademark-applications-worldwide/
2 Zippia Expert. (2022, June 28). What is the most recognizable logo in the world? Zippia: The Career Expert. https://www.zippia.com/answers/what-is-the-most-recognizable-logo-in-the-world/
3 Vallance, S. (2016, May 27). THe evolution of logos in marketing: Where did it all begin? Visme. https://visme.co/blog/evolution-of-logos/