The LOGO or LOGOTYPE has the task of narrating and graphically summarizing a company's soul
In visual communication, the LOGO or LOGOTYPE has the task of narrating and graphically summarizing a company's soul. Its creation requires preparation and a thorough study of the brand, together with some fundamental rules, such as simplicity, relevance with the brand and ease of memorization.
The roots of the logo date back to ancient Greece. At that time, logos were used to describe the history and life of mythological characters. The first logos were straightforward and consisted of a single digit or letter. Over the years, designs have been added to them, creating real coats of arms and trademarks adopted by the nobility or used in trades and graphic arts. The study of semiotics - a discipline that studies the meaning and use of signs and symbols - affirms that they can evoke words, images, flavors, smells, thoroughly stimulating the senses. If we imagine the Swarovski logo, figures of sparkling crystals appear in our minds. If we think of the Barilla logo, we can almost feel the smell of pasta.
The logo, which has become an essential part of graphics, is the element around which all corporate branding revolves. Large or small companies have a corporate identity that encompasses their history, desires, and purpose. One of the many challenges that the graphic designer must face when designing a logo is to make it unique, recognizable and unforgettable. This last aspect particularly caught my attention. How can a symbol, in a short space of time, persist in our memory? What characters can make it unique? Let's take one of the logos that, in my opinion, embodies all these qualities: Nike. With a single symbol, it expresses movement and evokes the goddess of victory Nike. It is recognizable, easy to memorize, relevant, and straightforward to the brand's essence: a perfect logo.
The creation of a logo does not always arise from compliance with these rules. There are various examples of logos born by chance, fun, or just a simple sketch. One of the cases is EMPORIO ARMANI's logo. In an interview, the Italian fashion designer states:
It was born by chance. I still remember when I drew it while I was on the phone, following a request from my partner Sergio Galeotti, who urgently needed to define a logo. I pulled down the sketch without overthinking, and that symbol of unreachability launched my name in the Olympus of young people. I never thought that drawing, done in a hurry, could be such an overwhelming sign
One of the logos that we are most used to seeing is that of AMAZON. The history of the brand is completely enclosed in its logo. On AMAZON, you can buy anything from A to Z. This small detail is highlighted by a yellow arrow which, connecting the two letters, also forms a smile: a simple logo that associates a reliable image with the brand.
For creating the FEDEX logo, the graphic designer played with an illusionistic effect, hiding a detail inside the logo. The brand name is written so that the space between the letters E and x forms an arrow, suggesting the promptness of the service offered.
I recently came across the logo of the cultural and educational exchanges between Japan and the USA, TOMODACHI – meaning friend in Japanese. This word is represented in a fun and impactful way. The "M" symbolizes two people are holding hands.
Another essential feature of a logo is its recognition in all markets. It means that it must reflect certain canons, for example, writing. An appropriate example is the NINTENDO logo. For seventy-five years, the company has maintained the Japanese characters, preventing its recognition internationally. Fortunately, in 1982, the ideograms were replaced with a font that everyone can read.
An essential issue in the logo's composition is the use of fonts, colors and spaces between the letters. In the world of luxury, logos are very minimal. Often colors such as black, blue or gold are used, with the designer's name alone as Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Hermes, Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger and others. The increase in white spaces between the letters gives the logo more outstanding cleanliness, lightness and elegance.
Unfortunately, a logo is not always relevant. The Italian graphic designer Emanuele Abrate - specializing in logos and visual identities - illustrates some of them. For example:
The designer has reworked the logo starting from the rectangular monitor's shape by inserting a cross in the center. Combining the IT context with the medical one, he also highlighted the two letters that make up the brand: C and D, or rather Computer Doctors.
Each logo is different in style, colors, and history. Creating a logo isn't just about having the right graphic skills. Creating a beautiful, practical, and durable logo takes creativity, study and curiosity. As David Airey - a graphic designer from Northern Ireland – states:
Anyone can design a logo, but not everyone can design the right logo.