The most iconic symbols of the 20th century, and right up to the present day, are the business logos that are emblazoned on shoes, apparel, products, advertisements, billboards, tv commercials, and stickers that we see everyday and everywhere!
The Nike “swoosh” is on everything the company produces. It has become synonymous with the brand and communicates far more than words have about the product. Massive companies with iconic logos (Apple, Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Amazon, Google, Starbucks) market their logo as their most effective form of creative marketing.
The good news is that logos are effective advertising in any size of market.
What are logos?
Logos are symbols. The meaning of symbols draws upon many centuries of signs, symbols and words from literature, art, religion, myths, and family lineages. These symbols draw on a wealth of history and human experience and the best ones reveal a harmony of humanity across cultures, eras, stories and symbols.
In this way logos connect us to one another as human beings. Logos express our likes, our commitments, our beliefs, our preferences, our connections. Logos also convey to your potential customers and clients a sense of who you are.
What do logos mean?
At the heart of your business logo is a symbolic representation of your business. Any creative design agency will tell you that a lot of psychology goes into logo design. Fast food companies almost always use red and yellow in their logos because those colors are known to make people feel hungry. A greenhouse or garden store will usually use the color green and often a leaf or blades of grass in their logos.
The best logos are also simple. They are pleasing to the eye and memorable. Increasingly businesses are all about creating great experiences for their customers. And when they work hard to connect their logo to the good feelings their products provide they gain tremendous traction.
Who cares about logos?
Many people don’t necessarily consciously care about the symbolism of logos and their connection to a good experience or a quality product. However, people often unconsciously connect logos with products they like and positive experiences. In fact, many people become infatuated with or even deeply connected with logos.
This connection is especially true for logos of high priced products. These logos convey a symbol of social status that is not necessarily connected to reality. We went into a Gucci store recently and realized that people will spend $1000 for a hoodie with a Gucci logo even when they could have an almost identical hoodie by Champion for $35.
A lot of customers care about logos. Your business should care about logos too. Even in smaller markets, creative marketing of your company through the use of a logo that symbolically represents your brand and conveys authenticity and meaning with simple clarity is very effective advertising.
How do logos work?
Effective logos capture the essence of your business through simple design and color. They also include your business name (unless you are Nike or Starbucks). Since logos best portray your “brand” it is helpful for your company to work with a creative design agency that offers expertise in company branding before you begin to work on a logo.
Branding helps you consider your own values, vision and purposes as well as who your most likely customers will be. This branding work becomes invaluable as you work to design a logo that communicates who you are in symbols and colors that will attract the attention of your most likely customers.
A stellar (ahem, us) creative design agency will allow you several mock ups and rounds throughout the process of creating your logo. Take advantage of their creative expertise. Having options through this process will allow you to get all of the elements just right and to feel a connection with the process as well and the final logo.
Once you have designed the logo that matches you with your potential customers, you will be able to emblazon that logo on business cards, letterhead, signage, swag (like hats, t-shirts, coffee mugs, water bottles, etc.) and of course across your website, online presentation and throughout the full gamut of creative marketing. All of these products will get you noticed in your market and help guide customers to your products and services.
Logos over the decades (think IBM, McDonalds, Nike, Starbucks, etc.)
Humans have a fundamental desire to understand the world around them in visual representations. Because of this, the ability of graphic designers to create visual symbols that convey a meaningful connection between people and products will continue to have increasing value as we face changing and challenging times.
“In order to be successful multinational corporations, you need to produce brands, not products.” – Naomi Klein
Nike is no longer a shoe company — it is a concept that represents transcendence through sports. Consider the Nike ad above: Lebron James is deified in a Christ-like pose and with religious language (‘witness,’ ‘believe’), both of which imply spiritual transcendence. In the case of Michael Jordan, the star was granted superhuman powers in Nike ads (picture him achieving flight, suspended midair en route to the hoop). In the corner floats the simple, austere Swoosh. In this context, the logo is a sponge, soaking up the ‘brand equity’ created by themes of transcendence and flight as well as the basketball star’s fame/endorsement/deification.
Has there ever been a more effective and simple logo than the Nike Swoosh?
Some iconic logos have a history of modification while retaining the essence and recognizability of the logo. The MTV logo was like an early rendition of what the Google logo has become. Designers could rework or modify it for specific purposes while maintaining its original meaning and impact. And the history of the Apple logo shows us a logo evolving to reflect changes in society and in the company itself, while always maintaining its distinctly recognizable form and brand message for its users.
In short, putting your company logo on her coffee cup is indeed a very good idea!