Psychology of Logo Design

Logo design is largely all about brand recognition and the corporate identity of a business. What components, then, can be used in designing a logo that psychologically appeals to a potential customer or not? Below is an overview of the psychology of logo design and how various design components contribute to how well a corporate identity of a business is received.

Logo Design & Branding

1. The Psychology Of Logo Design
Through logo design, targeted audiences and customers are able to better recognise the identity of a company, their products and services. The types of design components and elements used can “make or break” a company’s productivity. The design of a logo is your only opportunity to ensure that the very first impression made is a good and positively recognisable one. A logo design is, therefore, a complete package of contributing elements. If one design element does not compliment the others, the overall impression from a consumer or target audience will fall short of a possible desired impact.

Have a look on our site for Home Page Design do\’s and Don\’ts to further help you in designing your website.

As the saying goes, the “customer is king” and the design of a logo must perform the dual functions of being something of a “people pleaser”, as well as meet all of a company’s business requirements (i.e.: the logo must make use of a short slogan and graphics to illustrate who the company is, what it stands for, the type of business it is and what is being offered to a customer in terms of products or services).

Business owners can adopt the thinking and equate their company logo design to that of the front cover of a novel. If the cover (graphics) is appealing and attractive, and its title (slogan) tells a potential customer exactly what the “story” is about in a few short words (i.e.: is informative), the product has a better chance of being sold. In just the same way, a logo design must appeal to the psychological frame of a mind of a potential customer, attracting interest. Wherever the potential for a question mark to be formed in the minds of a targeted audience or customer exists, a designed logo has not done its job.

2. The Psychology Behind Branding & Corporate Identity
What is your message? Any company that has a good brand has a lifestyle, a point of view and an attitude amongst many other factors and attributes. This message is what gets “translated” into an illustrative form (i.e. logo design”) with the sole aim of promoting and communicating a company’s “look and feel” with a consumer market. This is one way in which a clear and “to the point” business message becomes a brand or identity. Get the message wrong (i.e. unclear) and the expected result or desired outcome won’t be a positive one either. A client or customer should not be expected to simply “get it”. The message must be clear.

A good logo design will serve as an extension of a company’s brand or identity. A bad brand equals a bad logo design and visa versa. It is always good to remember that whatever industry business is being conducted in, competition is present. A good logo design and brand places a company in a more positive position for better business opportunities within their own competitive markets. Have a look at our page on Logo Design Guidelines.

3. Logo Design & The Symbolism Of Shapes
Shapes are a critical tool in the “box” of a designer’s repertoire that can be used as they tend to convey fairly universal, psychological meanings to human beings. Different shapes encourage a spontaneous perception that is connected to others on a much deeper psychological level. Human beings simply can’t help but react curiously or associate an emotional connection of some kind to a shape that they are viewing, whether on a conscious level or not.

Since human beings can’t help but respond to shapes on an emotional level, a professional logo designer should have at least a basic understanding of how certain shapes can be used to best appeal to levels of emotion and create positive perceptions. When designing with shapes, it is important to also take into account other elements such as line and colour if the logo design is to truly work or shine. In other words, all elements used in the design of a logo must compliment one another. If not, the impact of a poorly perceived shape or other design element can mean the difference between the success or failure of the logo.


Logo Design & The Use Of Colour

1. Colour Psychology & Internet Marketing
As with shapes, colour has an emotional effect too. The human mind is almost “hardwired” to respond emotionally to certain colours whereby the sight of them triggers the subconscious effect of translating them into “messages” and creates a perception associated with a specific emotion. Just the same as shapes hold a significant amount of power over whether a design succeeds or not, colour influences perceptions, emotions and general opinions too.

The wrong colour used will almost certainly translate into a “bad logo”. Logo designers learn to understand that a design can be viewed as “bad” based on colour perceptions in the blink of an eye, even before a company’s message is delivered or a single word is read. A second or two is all that is needed for a low opinion to be formed if a colour that is used is not appealing. An emotional reaction is virtually instant and many are unaware as to their pervasive and persuasive effects. Many potential clients or customers will base their decision to look into your business services or products almost entirely on the appeal or not of the colours used in a logo design.

The use of colour in a logo design is all about making a good impression. Since a logo is a company’s tool serving as a symbol for their business, repetitive and frequent display are necessary. As mentioned a company’s logo is a fantastic branding tool that enhances virtually all business components such as websites, business cards, products and services etc. A logo is thus, virtually an inseparable part of a business. It is for this reason that it is critical for colour to be used correctly. No business wants to “put off” potential clients or customers for colour choice reasons. If appealing colours are integrated correctly into a logo design, chances are a company’s brand and logo may just be unforgettable.

Find out more about the use of colours in designing your website and read our page on the Psychology of Colours.

Colour choice becomes tricky where they have already become “owned” in a sense. Certain colours are already associated with identifying specific business brands. Colour can thus become a business symbol. Examples include:

  • Coca Cola red
  • First National Bank – teal and orange
  • Standard Bank – blue

Colour Examples & Their Perceived Opinions / Meanings

  • Black – mystery, secrecy and tradition
  • Blue – power or authority, calmness, success and trustworthiness
  • Brown – earth, nature, simplicity and seriousness
  • Orange – affordability, fun, youth, creativity and celebration
  • White – simplicity, cleanliness or purity, peace and innocence

2. Logo Sizes & Websites
Many businesses involved in promoting and advertising online develop websites whereby their company logo will be displayed. Often, website and web page designers are requested to enlarge the size of an originally developed logo for display purposes on a website. This doesn’t always suit a layout design and neither does it necessarily give a company’s brand any more appeal than if the logo were to remain its designed size. A car brand for example may develop a signature feature for a particular new model. The feature on the car may be purely aesthetic or even ornamental and thus form a small, almost insignificant portion of the motor car’s design. This feature does not need to be excessively obvious. Clever advertising will work to sell the car and its new feature. The feature will do little, if anything at all, to enhance an existing brand. If the brand, however, isn’t appealing the car will not sell well, with or without an “out-of-this-world” feature.

A website is an extension of a company’s brand or identity and designed logo. The function of the website is mostly focussed on content that emphasises a company’s brand and its purpose (i.e. it’s “business” being online). The logo is thus not the most important element of the website and doesn’t necessarily need to be “in the face” of the visiting viewer, dominating a web page. Instead the logo, with regards to being displayed on a website, should in a subtle way, lend a helping hand in attracting brand awareness and interest to the content of the site. The logo “brands” the website. A good logo design will “do its job” no matter what its size.
Logo designs are a company’s communication tool and must be creative and distinctive if they are to be effective. They can be likened to a shop or store entrance. First impressions will always linger around or haunt a business. If the first impression is a good one, productivity has the opportunity to grow from strength to strength. If not, a total make over may be necessary to re-introduce a business differently. Design components have the ability to affect a potential client or customer’s psychological impression. Getting in a professional logo or graphic designer, who understands how these components affect a human being’s psychological frame of mind is highly recommended, especially where there’s only so much money on the table to play with.

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