If you observe your surroundings, you can easily count at least 10 different logos. They are everywhere around us, wherever we go, integrated into our culture and way of life. They influence our decisions, communicate, represent company values, and often carry profound meanings.
What is the purpose of a logo and why are they important? That is what graphic designers and business owners need to understand before embarking on shaping their identity.
What is the purpose of a logo?
The primary role of a logo is identification. Remember this, as it contradicts all other advice you might ever hear. Identification is what truly matters.
Trends come and go, tools and techniques will evolve, and what we see as a logo might even drastically change over time, but the singular most important goal of a logo will always remain the same: to identify a person, product, business, or service. Adhering to these principles when devising a visual identity increases the chances that amidst the sea of information, consumers will notice the brand and grasp its message.
So, the purpose of logo design is identification. This means that, as a designer (or business owner), before delving into ideas, you must fully understand the environment in which the logo will exist. Who are the competitors and how do they look? What colors and symbols are already established in the competition? How can we differentiate the logo to make the company stand out from the crowd?
In this regard, the best logo design is not only visually pleasing but also reduces consumers’ mental effort (due to the content they are exposed to) and shortens their decision-making time for purchase or approval.
Logo design is not art
Logo design is not art – too many people perceive it wrongly because logos are visual objects. The designer’s role isn’t to design something that we or the clients personally like. Instead, logo design should be treated as a strategic business tool that allows a company to be identified in the vast world we inhabit. Of course, the logo still needs to look good, but that should be a secondary factor in logo creation. Identification comes first.
Logo design doesn’t need hidden meanings
Designers often try to infuse logos with meaning, but it’s not necessary – the focus should be on identification. Every meaning or association will naturally develop over time through interactions with the logo.
A new logo or brand is like an empty boat. It doesn’t make sense to viewers from day one. The meaning will be added gradually through ongoing marketing and user interactions with the company’s products. Imagine first encountering the Nike logo – what would you initially think about the company, its products, and its operations?
Why is a logo so crucial in the world?
Logos are the face of a company, product, or service. When you think of any business, you often envision its logo, whether it’s the golden arches of a famous fast-food chain or an apple with a bite taken out of it. Similarly, when you see a familiar logo, you instantly connect it to your memories, experiences, and interactions with the brand. A well-designed logo will be unforgettable and immediately associate users with the brand. The brain processes shapes and colors more easily than it remembers words. This means that if the identity is unique in the market, it can be easily located and recognized repeatedly for purchasing or recommending to friends.
Logo design influences our decisions
From our earliest days, we construct a visual library in our minds and start associating fonts, shapes, and colors with specific emotions and objects. A simple glance at a logo will immediately form judgments about how we perceive that business, product, or service. If we perceive a company as too expensive, too corporate, or too radical, we’ll avoid it. Similarly, if the logo (and the associated brand identity) looks like the type of company, product, or service we seek and want to be associated with, we’ll engage and purchase products and services. Hence, it’s crucial that the logo accurately represents the business, as you want to attract the right audience.
The logo represents a company’s expectations, but if it fails to do so, or if it attracts the wrong audience, the business will eventually decline, and the investment of time and money will be spent on people who won’t become customers, potentially resulting in negative reviews from disappointed customers.
Competing in a world with so many companies is tough, but your business has a singular opportunity to impress and captivate observers. If a logo design fails to impress in today’s internet-based and visually-driven world, then what can it achieve? Some entrepreneurs, especially beginners, opt for low-cost or amateur designers, not realizing how detrimental it can be. Hence, I appreciate the saying “There’s nothing more expensive than cheap design” as it encapsulates the losses a company incurs by opting for the cheapest and quickest route.