Visual Logos vs. Text Logos
Some logos consist only of the brand name. Think of IBM, Goldman Sachs, Oracle or Samsung. Other logos use the brand name in combination with a unique visual symbol, such as Nike’s swoosh or Arm & Hammer’s flexed muscle arm with rolled-up sleeve. Others drop the brand name altogether and rely on a visual for their logo, such as Apple’s apple or Mozilla Firefox’s stylized fox.
Our research found that separate visual symbols used as logos tend to be more effective than brand names at creating a sense of emotional connection with consumers. This may not come as a big surprise, because symbols have long been considered more effective than words as communication tools. Symbols better overcome language barriers and are easier to interpret than words. However, despite the commonly understood benefits of symbols versus text, surprisingly few companies take advantage of separate visual symbols. Logos with separate visual symbols thus represent a largely untapped opportunity in reaching out to consumers.
Unleashing the Power of Brand Logos
We are not arguing that great logos are imperative for a brand’s success. A business can do well despite having a seemingly weak logo — one that is not aesthetically appealing or fun, that does not communicate a brand’s functional benefits to consumers and that does not express its core values. We also do not suggest that logos themselves automatically create meaningful positive associations between a brand and consumers.
… Separate visual symbols used as logos tend to be more effective than brand names at creating a sense of emotional connection with consumers.
These associations must be created for a brand through marketing, such as tag lines and advertising. However, once such associations have been created, logos can further reinforce them. What our research shows is that effectively managed logos can help companies to build stronger customer brand commitment and thus allow a brand to improve its financial performance.
Logos offer a frequently untapped opportunity for companies to communicate and symbolize a brand’s essence to consumers, thereby building closer relationships with them, creating strong positive emotions and facilitating top-of-mind recall. Overall, logos are the most crucial visual synthesizers of a brand that consumers turn to on a daily basis. We strongly encourage managers to rethink their use of logos to help them strengthen customers’ commitment to a brand, facilitate new brand extensions and thus trade upon new business opportunities in the future.
Note on this article:
In an effort to make it a little less jargony and more understandable for those who don’t work in design or marketing, I’ve edited some of the content. The original article can be found here: