What is a logo? – A logo identifies a business in its simplest form via the use of a mark or icon.
I get asked quite often, to create a logo (personally or professionally) because they want to establish a brand. If it has been said once, it has been said a million times – a logo is not your brand, nor is it your identity. Logo design, identity design, and branding all have different roles, that together, form a perceived image for a business or product.
To understand what a logo is, we must first understand what it is for. A logo is for identification.
A logo identifies a company or product via the use of a mark, flag, symbol, or signature. A logo does not sell the company directly nor rarely does it describe a business. Logo’s derive their meaning from the quality of the thing it symbolizes, not the other way around – logos are there to identity, not to explain. In a nutshell, what a logo means is more important than what it looks like.
To illustrate this concept, think of logos like people. We prefer to be called by our names – Jane, Dorothy, John – rather than by the confusing and forgettable description of ourselves such as “the guy who always wears pink and has blonde hair”. In this same way, a logo should not literally describe what the business does but rather, identify the business in a way that is recognizable and memorable.
It is also important to note that only after a logo becomes familiar, does it function the way it is intended to do much like how we must learn people’s names to identify them.
The logo identifies a business or product in its simplest form. Keep this in mind when designing your next logo.