Why Do We Need Logos? Logo Design in The Light of Human Psychology
Have you ever wondered why brands spend tens of thousands of dollars on their company logo?
Why don't they just slap a name on it for the identification?
Why do they get so critical when it comes to the logo?
The answer to these questions is deep-rooted in your psychology.
It's not just a matter of getting an emblem designed for your brand identification.
There is a comprehensive psychological explanation that defines and describes the importance and impact of logo designs on the human mind, which we are sure you have never thought of.
Symbols and Human Mind – An Overview
Meaning of Symbol/Logos
The word symbol comes from a Greek word ‘symbolon' which means token, insignia and a means of identification.
Similarly, the word ‘logo' is derived from the Greek word ‘logos' which means “word.”
When you are designing a logo, do not consider it as a mere insignia, but think of it as a ‘virtual word' which is meant to represent and deliver a comprehensive message to its audience in the most compact manner possible.
Just like symbols, pictures, words, and gestures, a logo design too requires the association of the specific conscious ideas to define the meanings that it incorporates.
Why Do We Attach Meanings to Symbols?
Daily, we stumble upon a plethora of signs and symbols, we don't even pay attention to some of these, but still, they get stored somewhere in our subconscious.
Not to mention, as a human being, we love to search for meanings in random things.
Our mind knowingly or unknowingly attaches meanings to the symbols we see.
Where words can be difficult to read by people of different cultures and backgrounds, symbols facilitate them as they can be equally understood by people of all cultures without getting help from words and languages.
For instance, water suggests birth and purification, while the circle represent unity and eternity.
Carl Jung, the renowned psychological theorist, refers to these images and symbols as the archetypes.
According to him, these images represent the universal pattern of human thought process that gets stored in the collective human unconscious.
Some of these symbols belong to the pagan beliefs about nature while some are rooted in human culture, spirituality, and psychology.
The fundamental power of symbolism is the main reason that we need logo designs to identify and recognise the brands and absorb the meaning behind them.
If done right, a logo which seems like a simple emblem is capable of causing a robust impact on the human mind.
A logo has a significant meaning for us because it draws on centuries of signs and symbols in human visual and oral language.
With this in mind, a logo designer who used a swoosh or golden arches or apple's image in a logo is because of the reason that it has a contextual meaning that human mind can instantly connect.
How Do Logos Impact the Mind of the Target Audience?
This article is going to shed light on the psychology of logo design, which will help you understand how three core logo design elements such as fonts, shapes, and colours can influence customer behaviour.
Psychology of Colours
We all love colours, whether we realise or not we extract meanings from the colours we see in our surroundings.
Different colours have disparate impacts on the human mind; that's the reason that colours play a crucial role in logo design.
Why did Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Skype all choose blue?
Why did they not opt for a different brand colour?
It's because of the strong impact that a blue colour creates on the human mind.
The appeal of blue is not just a fad or trend; a blue colour triggers trust, reliance, and strength.
Similarly, there is a reason that non-profit, educational and farming industry organisations prefer Green as the primary colour in their branding – as green represents balance, renewal, growth, and health.
You cannot pick a random colour because you like it to be your brand's primary colour.
A professional logo designer knows whether it will be the right choice or not.
Other than this, it's not always necessary that you are bound to use green only for your NGO or blue only for social networking apps.
At the same time, you should not go overboard with your choice of colour.
Think of it by putting yourself in the shoes of the audience, will this colour be recognisable?
It shouldn't be confusing and should be able to deliver the right message without causing any interruption.
Do not make a rainbow of your logo; it's always better to choose a single colour or two unless you want to emphasise that you are a company that loves to play with colours; take this logo as an example here.
Here are some frequently used colours and the psychological meaning behind them
- Yellow: optimism, clarity, warmth
- Red: warm, love, anger,
- Green: health, knowledge, sustainability
- Blue: honesty, competence, quality
- Purple: mystery, respect, royalty, creativity
Psychology of Shapes
It wouldn't be wrong to say that shape in logo design is the make or break factor that can either induce emotions or turn them off.
There are a lot of great logos in which designers took the full advantage of the negative space and other elements and successfully created magic with the unassuming detailing.
Take FedEx's logo as an example.
The logo seems simple and straightforward at first glance.
Upon closer inspection, you will see that there is a hidden arrow embedded between the E and the X that represents a symbol of speed and precision.
Similarly, we have Amazon's logo which has a curved arrow under the typography; some say it's a smiley, while in reality, it's an arrow that points from A to Z.
Meaning, Amazon has everything from A to Z for their customers.
These were just two examples; there is a long list that we can speak for hours on.
From abstract to organic shapes and straight to curved lines, there are a lot more elements that have been used in logos to induce the desired emotions in the human mind.
Here is a list of standard shapes that are used in logos along with the emotions they trigger.
Triangle: power, stability, upward momentum
Square: Stability, strength, order, reliability
Circle: harmony, unity, timelessness
Hearts: love, compassion, relationship
Arrows: direction, travel, movement
Stars: religion, showbiz, patriotism
Thick Lines: Strength and rigidity
Thin Lines: elegance, femininity, frailty
Straight Lines: order, predictability
Curved Lines: dynamism, flexibility, fluidity
Psychology of Fonts
Just like logo shapes, colours, and composition – fonts too have a powerful psychological impact on the audience.
From anger to urgency and hunger to joy you can induce any emotion with the usage of the right font in the right place.
Similarly, a wrong font can distort the message and can leave your audience perplexed about the message you want to convey to them.
To send the right message, you need to know which font style will work best for you.
Again you need to understand the nature of your business first.
If you sell party supplies your logo font should be funky and lively.
If you run a toy shop, your font should be playful and colourful.
In short, your fonts should align with your customer's expectations of your brand.
Other than this, make sure that the fonts you are using are clear and readable; only then they will be able to leave the desired impact on the human mind.
Your logo is considered as the visual identifier and figurehead of your company.
That's the reason you cannot compromise on a single feature of your company logo design.
Be it shapes, colours, fonts or even the white space; nothing can be arbitrary in your logo.
Everything has to be thoughtfully incorporated by keeping the message you want to convey into consideration.
A great logo design is the one that is designed by keeping the target audience in mind.
However, why do we consider the target audience and their preferences?
Because we want to create a logo that resonates with the target audience and it would be only possible when it is constructed by keeping the psychological traits of the audience in mind.
Every aspect of your logo should be intentional and should be able to communicate your brand message.
Remember the choices you make with your logo are going to make an impact on your target audience.
Keeping the fact in mind, a thoughtless logo will mislead the audience and even worse, your brand identity and brand message will be distorted.
Author Bio: Loius Martin is a Creative Marketing Manager at Invictus Studio, a design company situated in Southlake, Texas. Loius approaches digital marketing as not just a profession but a creative thinking process. He has a passion for writing about design, content and social media marketing. Read more of his articles @loiusmartin1.