Logo Selection For Branding

Despite the importance and widespread use of logos, many evoke negative evaluations, are unrecognizable, and hurt the corporate image. Part of the reason for this poor performance might lie initially in poor logo selection.

Logos typically are selected from a pool of designs by the marketing manager or the chief executive officer. After the logo is selected, considerable time and money are spent to build recognition, positive affect, and meaning.

It is possible that desired responses are not achieved because the selected logos have designs that are difficult to store or access in memory, are not likable, or fail to create any sense of meaning.

The word logo can refer to a variety of graphic and typeface elements; however, we use it here to refer to the graphic design that a company uses, with or without its name, to identify itself or its products.

Although the logo selection/modification decision is common across businesses, it might occur only once or twice in the career of the marketing manager. As such, there is little opportunity to develop the experience necessary to discern the best logo.

This may explain, in part, why many logos produce disappointing results. However, companies are hesitant to leave the decision up to the design firm because the decision requires understanding the goals and culture of the company.

Proper selection is critical because logos are one of the main vehicles for communicating image, cutting through clutter to gain attention, and speeding recognition of the product or company.

What Makes a Good Logo?

Logos should be recognizable, familiar, elicit a consensually held meaning in the target market, and evoke positive affect. Logos enable speed recognition of a company or brand. The rationale is that pictures are perceived faster than words.

This is important because many company communications are seen for only a brief time (e.g., driving by outdoor advertising, walking by products on shelves, flipping through advertisements in magazines).

Logos are important particularly in stores and online as a means of speeding recognition of products. Research further shows that remembered pictures (logos) can enhance memory of accompanying verbal material (e.g., the company name).

Finally, achieving logo recognition is a means of protecting the symbol from infringement. Logo recognition occurs at two levels. First, consumers must remember seeing the logo (correct recognition).

Second, logos must remind consumers of the brand or company name (recall). The former depends largely on design. Given equal exposures, a more memorable design will be recognized more easily than a less memorable one. Therefore, facilitating recall of the company logo starts with selecting a design that is recognized easily.

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