Your logo is the ‘face’ of your company. Intrinsically linked with your corporate identity, it’s the cornerstone of every marketing campaign, anchoring your brand and providing an easy point of reference.
So, why do business logos matter? And how do you go about designing one that says everything you need it to?
The Purpose of Your Logo
A picture might ‘speak a thousand words’, but a logo has far more to say. A 2011 study into brand perception found that consumers use the typeface and shape of your logo to judge both the target market and credibility of your business. What’s more, they associate killer logos with high-end brands, meaning your logo makes a critical contribution to your corporate identity.¹
This is especially true online, where visitors make a decision within seconds of landing on your site. Logos designed to enhance brand trust (we’ll cover the design principles in a minute) are known to affect a visitor’s perception of your website and, by extension, your brand.² This means your logo has three primary purposes:
- to introduce your brand,
- to promote brand credibility, and
- to encourage brand recognition.
There are four types of credibility: presumed, reputed, experienced and surface. All play an important role in cultivating brand trust, but it’s nonverbal surface credibility that’s important when considering the design of a logo.
The key component to surface credibility is charisma; in other words, a confident and emotive logo. Trustworthiness and expertise also have a role to play and, to get full value from your logo, must be communicated in other aspects of your marketing materials, website and face-to-face interactions.² If you are redesigning your logo, consider auditing your brand to ensure you are hitting the mark across the board.
Logo Shape and Typeface
Logo psychology is about shape as well as colour and typeface. Since large proportions of the population associate circles and rings with commitment, partnership and love, round edges and curves project positivity. Straight lines are more practical, decisive and efficient. Triangles are used in both religion and law and instil confidence.
Similarly, rounded typefaces are considered more youthful, while straight-edged fonts speak to confidence and power.
The most recognizable component of your logo, colour, is a crucial consideration, and boutique brands should avoid colours associated with larger companies.
Natural tones — blue, green and yellow — have the highest level of engagement and are associated with trust and honesty. Blue is universally connected to strength (consider how many big name brands have a blue logo), while yellow implies a playful, positive disposition.
Bolder tones like red should be used carefully. Connotations of love and passion can be overshadowed by associations with anger and danger, so it’s important to find the right shade.
To sum up
Nonverbal communication is as important for developing corporate identity as written content, and should be viewed as an essential element in all branding activities. Your logo plays a critical role in establishing brand trust and has the power to enhance or hinder marketing strategies across every channel.
¹van Rompay and Pruyn, 2011. When visual product feature speak the same language: effects of shape and typeface congruence on brand perception and price expectations. The Journal of Product Information Management.
²Lowrey et al., 2014. A picture is worth a thousand words: Source credibility theory applied to logo and website design for heightened credibility and consumer trust. International Journal of Human Computer Interaction.