Your Logotype is Not a Story

October 9, 2015

A common request when working on identity systems for clients is a logotype that somehow explains the business – what it is or does. While this doesn’t have to be a bad idea, it’s by no means necessary for a brandmark to be successful. In fact, many of the worlds most iconic marks and symbols do not tell stories at all, but rather provide an easily recognizable signature to the story told by the brand as a whole.

The reason for this, as with all communication, is that the more we are asked to remember – the quicker we’ll move on and forget all about it. Logotypes become iconic because they are quick to identify, simple to recognize and easy to remember, rather than because they are impressive narrative illustrations.

Think about any successful brandmark and you’re probably so familiar with it’s looks you could easily draw it on a piece of paper. While having been exposed to it thousands of times will undeniably contribute to this, chances are you would have been able to do it just as well the very first time you saw it. Simple things are easy to remember, and anything that can’t be quickly replicated with a few quick strokes is probably asking for too much.

Another factor to consider is that we’ll have a much harder time filling a brandmark or symbol with meaningful association over time if the story is already told by the mark itself. Let your brand tell the story by delivering on what it promises, and it’s mark will as a result of this become a trustworthy sign of approval.

Providing your products and services are first class they will be remembered on their own merit. The logo and brand will help people recognize that it’s you, but will only ever be perceived as creative or trustworthy as the business behind it. It’s not about getting people to understand every part of your company. It’s about reminding them that you’re there, and what you actually bring to the table.

Jonas Salvador, Art Director & Partner