The logo is the representative image of the company. This element is made up of the icon and the typography, or just one of them. Through the corporate logo a company transmits its main goals, values and ideas turning into the most important representative element. Throughout history, an image has been used to represent human kind. From the cave times until today, the use of the symbol is becoming more important and complex. Let's briefly point out what we are talking about.
Cavemen drew in their caves certain symbols which identified a certain group with a certain cave. Among the many interpretations which exist about these drawings, one of them corresponds to the identification of a group with the communal habitat. Armies have always used flags, shields and banners to represent themselves and differentiate in the battlefield as empires and kingdoms used a symbol to delimit their territories. Kings used their famous royal seals to guarantee the legitimacy of their letters. An envelope was closed and that same seal had the court brand so the addressees could be sure that it was not a forgery. In Medieval times, craftsmen and blacksmiths started to brand their pieces of work to demonstrate their authorship. Thus, the way of buying and selling was modified with the new value that represented a piece created by a certain prestigious person. When the industrial revolution broke out, and with the new companies boom and proliferation, these put special interest in their corporate logos to be able to represent themselves and differentiate their products from those of the competitors. Even though we point out this moment as the beginning of the use of what we call LOGO, this design element gained the superlative importance it has nowadays in the mid 20th Century.
The corporate logo is nowadays a fundamental element for the company's image. It is not only a symbol that distinguishes the products; it is much more: it is a symbol which totally represents the company. Therefore, the design of such symbol must be carefully done. To better understand this, let's see the three pillars which support the power of the corporate logo.
Durability: The logo has to last in time and that is how it must be dealt with. You cannot think of a provisional logo; the project that you begin must conclude with the definite logo for your company. The symbol that represents your company needs time to stick into consumers' minds to be truly effective. On the other hand, in the logo we find the main values, ideas and goals of a company, and it would not be reliable if you keep changing the image that represents you since by it you can imply that such values and ideas are capriciously modified. The case of Coke is a great example. Through decades, this company has kept its representative image and, even if today a new similar logo was created, it would be ridiculous since that Western-culture classic image supports such a huge company.
Clearness: A proper logo design has to be perfectly understandable. The fact that a person relates to his logo in the same way he would do with a riddle is, obviously, a mistake unless it has to do with a specific marketing strategy. Many times, the clearness of the logo is a factor that obliges us to reject designs we like a lot. It is quite normal that a designer does not propose an attractive and strong logo which has a positive impact on us, but we must reject it since it does not gather the minimum clearness requirements so as to achieve an effective design. The clearness issue is not only about the easiness of interpretation but also it is about the speed of interpretation; i.e., a logo must be easy and fast to understand so that if you see the ad in the street while driving, you can understand what is it about, what it aims at and what company it belongs to.
Capacity to be remembered: The image that represents the company comes before the firm itself and, therefore, everybody thinks of the company through the corporate logo. That is the reason why this element needs to be designed in order to stick into people's minds, so that consumers remember the company even though they are not in direct contact with it. Thus, a sort of firm rule of design is that the more complex the design, the more difficult to be remembered. This way, we have a strongpoint from which to analyze the proposal of the designer. If we consider the logo is clear and striking but difficult to remember, it will be a shame, but we will have to reject it.
These are the three pillars on which the corporate logo stands. Next we will see the existing types of logo. According to its morphology, the logo is divided into three types logotype, isotype and isologotype. Each of them has a different combination of icon and typography, though it is not only the morphological aspect which distinguishes them every type of logo has different ad features which will be interesting to study.
Logotype: This is the type of logo that is based exclusively on typography and lacks icons. The best advantage of the logotype is that it is highly clear since it uses words to be easy to understand. However, the disadvantage is that, as there are no images, it does not concentrate enough power as to be remembered. With this type of logo, you have to analyze the typography in a special way. We can talk about two ways of transmitting the information of the logotype a verbal and a non-verbal way. The first one uses words and transmits a message through the language the community shares. Typography is traditionally used to write. The second way of transmitting information of the logotype is the non-verbal way. This one does not employ words, but it is all about the typography itself. When we write something with a certain typeface, it does not mean the same as when we write exactly the same thing with another typeface. If you are a dentist, and you buy a logo that uses a gothic typography, such as Dracula type, it is probable that many people will not want to have an appointment with you. Therefore, when dealing with logotype, it is not only what you write but how you write it.
Isotype: This type of logo is exclusively based on icon and lacks typography. The benefit of the isotype is that it is very easy to remember. Psychology studies have shown that images are easier to stick in people's minds than words. The most notorious disadvantage is the lack of clearness; by not using words, it is harder to interpret. Nonetheless, a good icon makes itself be understood and, with the support of other corporate identity elements, it will not be hard to understand the design. On the other hand, isotypes tend to have an auxiliary logotype that appears next to them every now and then to remind the public which is the mane of the famous company that lies behind certain icon. The case of Nike is classic the famous swoosh has, in turn, a logotype that goes with it sometimes to remind people the whole brand.
Isologotype: As its name indicates, it is the combination of the previous types. The great benefits of this type of logo is that it has a huge expressive potential by using icon and typography, by exploiting to the most the verbal and non-verbal way, it turns the isologotype into the easiest logo to be understood. The disadvantage is its complexity; the addition of the two elements makes it difficult to remember it. Besides, this type of logo is the most used nowadays, from big important companies to small ones. This wide range of companies opts to use an isologotype to represent themselves and to turn it into the pillar of their corporate identity.