What business, person or organisation do you know that doesn’t have a logo? Whether it be a specific use of fonts in their title, a simple icon or both, every business will undoubtedly have a visual representation of their brand. Logos are a powerful source of branding that not only help to identify a business but also help link multiple products or services to that business. Logos can vary from being simple text to detailed graphics but whatever design your logo is, it must be iconic and memorable to your audience to be successful.
Supermarket and home ware brands are popular with using type as their method of identification. As you can see from the examples below these are some of the most well known supermarkets and home ware stores, the majority of them only use type in their logo. The reasoning behind this simplicity could be to do with the variation in the products that they sell as they’re a very open type of brand with a wide variety of target audiences so by keeping things simple it makes them non-obtrusive and non-offensive. The names of these big supermarkets also don’t really mean a lot, they’re not words you’ve necessarily heard of before. They’re simple and do not incorporate any buzzwords, which could be seen as an indication to what the business may sell; this could relate back to the idea that things are kept very basic and minimal due to the variation in the products they offer.
For example, ASDA is actually an abbreviation of ‘Asquith and Dairies’ who merged to form the chain, but does anyone know that? Do people say they’re ‘just popping to Asquith and Dairies for a pint of milk’? No, they stick to ASDA because it’s simple and easier to remember especially as you drive past. Another thing that helps to make logos unique when they only consist of type is the placement of negative space within that type. A brand that is quite self explanatory of working with this technique is FedEx as they use negative space within their lettering to form an arrow and pursue a hidden message.
The colour schemes of brands are also relied more upon when branding uses only text within a logo. Linking back to ASDA, their store is full of green placements, there’s the green price tags, the green bags and the green uniform, this is their iconic recognition. If you also think about Cadbury, they use logotype, but they hugely play on the colour purple across everything they produce, including this iconic and very memorable TV Advert below. The colour reinforces and works with the type within the logo, and even if the brand was to ever update the logo (by changing the font or making things more minimal for example), the colours will always remain the same because that’s what you recognise and associate with that brand. Something you will also see at the end of the advert below is how the logo will remain on the screen for a few seconds whilst nothing else is happening. By placing the logo on screen at the end of the advert for a set amount of time, you may not have seen / been paying attention to the advertisement itself but you may still see the logo ensuring the advert is still successful in highlighting the brand.
Icons are becoming more and more popular within logo design. They’re so simple but so effective in telling the audience not only what a brand is about but also what applications and software can do for you too. Icons have grown in popularity due to the convergence within technology as smart phones and smart TVs now have the capability of having all the things you need in one device. Companies have also got involved in this too creating ‘Apps’ for their clients or customers. When it comes to iOS users they have applications on their phones such as email, which is represented by a ‘mail’ letter icon, weather app will be represented by the sun, music will be a music note and the camera… a camera. This works the same way as icons do for business logos.
Have these icons ever been explained to us though? No, we just instantly know that by tapping on the ‘envelope’ icon we’ll be able to send someone an email or by tapping on the ‘music note’ we’ll be able to listen to our favourite songs. It is also not just within logos and apps where we see icons used these days either, it’s the same when we want to watch a film for example; you have to press the little arrow icon to make it play (you might have already done it yourself to watch the Cadbury’s advert above). There is no instruction telling us to do that but because icons are so simple and clear to understand we automatically know what they mean and what we have to do to make things work.
Slogans use to be the catchiest way to remember brands but as technology has developed and things are being converged, in my opinion I feel icons are not only are easier to remember and recognise over a slogan, but they also show more of a clear indication into what a company does. What would you be more confident in telling me, what Facebook’s slogan is or what their logo looks like?
Combination logos are logos that consist of both text and icons but often the icons don’t work the same when they are combined with text as they do on their own as a logo. The icons in this type of logo are seemingly pointless and are only there to make the logo look good. Don’t get me wrong everyone wants a logo that looks good as it’s there to represent your brand, but with combination logos the icons used often don’t have any relation to the brand itself and could never work as an icon alone. Look at these logos that I’ve put together below, imagine they’re all new brands that you’ve never seen or heard of before. Imagine them without the text, can you tell what the companies do just by looking at their logo icons?
Were you able to tell that a bear dancing in front of a mountain related to a brand that sold chocolate? Or that the dominoes had nothing to do with the game at all and actually the brand made pizza? These meaningless icons have been chosen to make the logo look good but they have no actual obvious meaning at all. We’ve learnt to associate these icons with these specific brands and what they do, because that’s how successful logos can be in identifying a brand and their products or service.
You may think Facebook is an icon logo because you most commonly see the white ‘F’ inside the blue square, but it is actually a combination logo. Facebook’s logo consists of the word ‘Facebook’ inside a blue rectangle but it gets shortened into the ‘F’ icon for simplicity, as well as showing how successful and well known the business now is. The little white F inside a blue square can be placed on any form of design and with no wording in place you still know exactly what it is representing. Social media icons are notoriously simple and easy to remember. However, sometimes people like to have a little bit of fun with what they think a logo represents…
Sometimes the icons within combination logos can also get confused and interpreted the wrong way because we believe they do actually mean something. For example the Ferrari logo; at first I thought the horse was maybe an indication of the speed of the car and the elegant appearance, but it actually represents Count Francesco Baracca, a legendary “asso” of the Italian air force during World War I, who painted it on the side of his planes.
This type of logo seems to me to be the most creative out of the three types of logos, as you don’t necessarily have to incorporate a specific clear meaning. Instead you can play around with the colours and even rearrange the placement of the icon as the business evolves. But in a world where technology is developing on a rapid scale and everything is being made to be as simple as possible, will this impact the combination of icons and type for these business logos?
After seeing the different types of logos you can have and seeing how they work, which style would you choose if you needed to create a logo? You can see below how businesses have changed their logos over time and how they’ve evolved in relation to current trends.