A symbol is anything that is meant to represent something else. It can represent a word, a statement, a feeling, belief, a group or place, and anything in between. Symbols have meaning.
A logo is a symbol created to represent your brand and your company, and therefore should contain and convey meaning. Your audience should be able to see your logo and get a sense of who you are, what you do, and what your values are. Your brand is the narrative. The logo is simply the illustration of that narrative. Being clear on what that narrative is and how it should be illustrated is critical. If the connection between the narrative and illustration are not clear, than lines of visual communication will be crossed and you will misrepresent yourself to your audience. The goal with branding is clearly and accurately represent yourself and manage your audience’s perception of you to the best of your ability, otherwise they will form their own perceptions and opinions of who you are, what you do, and where your values lie before you can make any introductions.
Understand this fact: the human brain seeks to understand the things around it. If a person sees something that he or she does not understand then they will assign meaning to it. The last thing you want is for your audience to make false assumptions about your brand.
Let’s test. If you were to see a logo of a blue hand holding a green leaf, you may assume the following:
- The company represented is caring (as told by the hand holding something small and fragile)
- They are trusting (blue is the color of trust)
- They value growth and/ or customer relationships (as displayed by the green leaf)
Now let’s add context. What if this logo were the logo for a burger restaurant? Or a car repair shop? Or a dentist office? How might your perception of the business change based on your understanding of the logo meaning?
Being intentional on assigning meaning to your logo is crucial. Not only does it help for brand representation, but it also helps to secure your base. People will rally behind symbols with great meaning, and display it on their chest with pride. Give your base something worth believing in by making your logo’s meaning clear and accurately representative of your brand, and you will build a solid foundation for your visual platform.