There’s a hidden language behind every symbol, every icon, and every logo. There are roadmaps of visual perception that persuade us to feel a certain way. Every shape, color, and curve can trigger different emotional responses that tap into our needs and desires. So it’s no surprise that companies use this language to reach more customers and sell more of their products and services. If you’re planning on creating logo you should always consider its psychological effect on your audience.
Let’s explore a few concepts of logo design psychology.
Finding Your Demographic
Not all people have the same response when looking at the same thing, so it’s important to know your audience. The aesthetic qualities of your logo should reflect the values not only of your company but also of your audience. If your company provides a serious product or service, it doesn’t make much sense to have a silly logo. A visual identity that’s appropriate to your demographic is key. That being said, shoehorning yourself into too specific of a niche can turn potential customers off.
It’s always important to ask yourself, “Will my logo stand the test of time?” Make sure the direction and style are modern and up to date, but not too trendy. What we’re really saying is you don’t want your logo’s time in the world to echo an episode of Portlandia. If it’s just another iteration of a passing trend, then its appeal may fade quickly. Remember the influx of glossy “swoosh” logos in the late 90’s and early 2000’s?
Swoosh, There It Is!
We’ve all seen plenty of hipster logos at this point. If something called the Hipster Logo Generator bursts onto the scene, it’s probably a good idea to tread lightly into this territory. However, every style has its time and place, so long as it’s the proper representation of your brand, go ahead and dabble in it.
Seen A Few Like These Before By Chance?
Overall, logo generators can be a great place to start thinking about the composition of your logo and what imagery you might want to incorporate into your branding. A good place to start is Canva’s Logo Maker, an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop design tool with hundreds of icons and customization options to help you come up with your own unique visual branding.
Ultimately, you’ll want to try to imagine how your logo will be received in 10 or 20 years. There’s nothing wrong with a little revamping of a logo every once in a while (in fact, it’s often recommended), but the basic concept should be timeless. This brings us to our next point.
Evolution Of A Logo
Is your logo flexible enough to evolve or withstand ever-changing design trends? There are ways to keep your logo current without going back and reinventing the wheel. Many famous logos have evolved with the changing of the times. Remember Web 2.0, when everything started to take on a 3D, curvy, bubbly look? As mobile has emerged, companies have been slowly gravitating back to something more simple, classic and timeless that is more easily translated to smaller formats. We can help you do that too if your logo just needs a refresh.
The Power Of Imitation
We’re sure you’ve heard it. “That looks just like the ______ logo.” Perceived similarities can be mistaken as a design faux pas, when actually it can be a very powerful tool to communicate a certain feeling that a famous logo may have already induced the masses with.
Color Is Huge
Studies have shown that changing the color scheme of a marketing campaign can alter our motivation to buy by 80%. Associating colors with emotions is etched in our brains from the times of our ancient ancestors as a means of survival. For instance, it’s no coincidence that seeing red (the color of meat and blood) can increase a person’s heart rate and stimulate appetite.
Let’s look at some characteristics commonly associated with colors:
White: peace, purity, refined, sterile, cleanliness, innocence, simplicity, surrender, truthfulness
Black: authority, power, classic, mysterious, serious, traditional, conservative, formal, simple, sophistication
Red: danger, energy, excitement, action, adventurous, aggression, love, passion, strength, vigor, stimulate appetite, urgency
Yellow: happy, joyful, cautionary, cheerful, cowardice, curiosity, playful, optimistic, youthful, clarity
Orange: lighthearted, high-spirited, creative, fun, enthusiastic, jovial, affordable, approachable, confident
Blue: calm, secure, authoritative, dignity, trustworthy, powerful, successful, loyal, distinguished
Green: nature, wealth, fertility, relaxation, fresh, tranquility, crisp, environmental, health, healing
Brown: natural, simple, calm, deep, serious, utilitarian, earthy, subtle
Purple: royal, beautiful, sophisticated, just, noble, mysterious, fantastical, ceremonious
Pink: feminine, soft, tranquility, gratitude, delicate, graceful, floral, innocence, appreciation, gentle, romantic
Gray: neutrality, authority, corporate, practical, respect, somber
Typefaces are just as important
Typefaces have a similar effect as color in the sense that they can subconsciously affect mood. For instance, soft, rounded typefaces can relax and calm you, while sharp, angular typefaces tend to get you amped and focused.
When choosing a font, legibility should be your biggest priority. Bottom line, if people can’t read the words, they’re certainly not going to understand what your company is about.
Be original when choosing a typeface. This doesn’t mean you have to create a new font from scratch, although if you can, more power to you. More often than not, just taking a font and altering it a little can achieve great results. Try finding a font that matches your company’s aesthetic and changing something about it. It can be as simple as tweaking one letter, maybe connecting two letters, or adding a dividing line. The key is to make your logo’s font unique and separate from the default.
Shapes carry emotional characteristics as well
Even if you’re not explicitly using any shapes in your logo, observe the quality of your font or icon. What sort of shape characteristics does is it have?
Circles: integrity, continuity, perfection, unity, love, friendship
Triangles: stability, reliability, seriousness
Triangles: power, science, religion, law, seriousness, masculinity
Vertical lines: strength, power
Horizontal lines: calm, safety
The purpose of a logo or any symbol for that matter is to express an idea. Be aware of every visual facet of your logo and what effect it might have on a viewer. Logos that have the biggest impact are simple, unique, and carry a message that is easily identifiable.
We hope that gives you a more little insight into the thought process behind designing a logo. For details on our own brand identity design process, we go deeper here.