Join Sean Adams for an in-depth discussion in this video Logo, part of Branding for Designers.
Trying to understand what someone means when the use the term logo, is tricky. For some, it's a wordmark, others an icon. Some people consider it to be the brand. Wrong. When I use the word logo, I'm talking about the whole enchilada. If there is only a workmark, that's the logo. If there's an icon and a wordmark, it's the two combined. The logo is the final form the audience should see. It's the formal wear of the identity system. Combining an icon and wordmark, as we've explored, reinforces the connection and recognition.
The Target logo is a combination of the red icon and all caps letter forms. The system might provide the liberty to use the icon alone, but it will typically be seen combined as the formal logo. Other brands, NBC for example, use the same forms for both the letter forms and icon. The peacock symbol has straight lines and portions of circles. The letters are designed to match this. When British Petroleum merged with Amoco, they rebranded themselves as BP.
The company then adopted a green star burst logo, designed by Landor and promoted the message, beyond petroleum. The combination of the icon and monogram, communicated a fresh and innovative company engaged in green activities. Combining the two elements, by dropping a symbol on top, or next to the name, is not the only solution. Merging the two in a unique way, creates an easy to use logo, that cannot be separated into two parts.
The point of understanding the terminology of branding is not to create a complex new language. There are so many misunderstood terms, that it's important to make sure you and your client are talking about the same thing. Don't take for granted that you know what they mean when they say logo. Take a few moments and explain your understanding of each term. Remember, they aren't designers. They're civilians who only know about these things from television shows with ad agencies, like Mad Men or Bewitched.
- The history of branding (pre- and post-1950)
- The elements of branding
- Conducting research
- Solving problems and presenting solutions
- Creating logos and identity systems
- Building a visual system with color, typography, and more
- Communicating branding with manuals and vision books