Psst! Meaningless logos too can get the job done

wwf logo identity brandmarkA brandmark designer’s priority is to develop an identity that visually differentiates brands, especially those competing for the same consumers.

Apart from form of an identity, colour is heavily relied on to communicate something or evoke a feeling about the brand the mark represents. The biggest challenge for us, as brandmark designers, is that we don’t really have control as to what the colour red means to whoever is exposed to the brandmark.

Colour is a very subjective subject.

Apple’s logo gets the job done, whether people realize the meaning behind it or not.

The focus should be placed on how effectively does the logo express or at least fit a company’s desired brand image not on which colour can the designer use to communicate that the brand is “innovative.”

At times creative rationales behind logos are misused by brandmark designers as a tool to give clients an impression that the designer deserve the amount of zeros on their invoices.

The story behind a brand, what they do and/or how they wish to be perceived usually shapes the look and feel of the brandmark but this isn’t really a must do. The brandmark will give meaning or attach experiences with the brand to the brandmark, and not the other way around.

That’s whole point of having a brandmark; identify and call experiences to mind.

How useful is the green on a brandmark, if consumers aren’t getting the fact that it is intended to communicate “growth?” Anyways which brand isn’t in pursuit of growth?

The challenge is that offerings and aspirations of most brands are common. Aiming to articulate them in a logo often leads to monotonous brand identities.

As much as this is not what we’d like to hear as brandmark designers, consumers don’t really care about what we’re communicating with the logo. People use logos to identify brands, they don’t seek the brand’s history or philosophies that should supposedly be incorporated within a logo.

A professional will of course have the wisdom to know which rules to follow. Things like relevance, scaling without losing detail, working well in one colour and so forth.

The fedEx logo worked very well, some people still fail to see the arrow in created by the negative space, but the brandmark still does it’s job well.

More important than a logo having meaning, is finding a look and feel that has the tone that fits the desired brand image, brand message etc.

Great design is useless in this context if it doesn’t have any brand strategy behind. And on the other hand, a great brand strategy is easily suffocated by bad design.

It’s the uniqueness and relevance that makes a logo, not the meaning behind it.

It is the brand that will give meaning to the brandmark.