This is a quick blog which compliments my previous article on Brand Names which you can read here.

The Brand name is generally the main element of a brand, although visual elements play a critical role in building brand equity and especially brand awareness. Logos themselves have a long history as a means to indicate origin, ownership or association: e.g. the crucifix representing our mate Jesus and Christianity, the protractor of freemasonry, or the Hapsburg eagle of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Logo’s range form corporate names or trademarks (word marks with text only) written in a distinctive form such as Coca Cola, Dunhill, Kit Kat. Through to abstract logos like that of Mercedes star, Rolex crown, Nike swoosh. These non-word mark logos are often called symbols. Many logos fall between these to two extremes. Some are literal representations (Apple logo=Apple which was very clever of them 😉 ). Of course some times certain physical elements can become a symbol too, e.g. Playboy bunny or the golden arches of McDonalds.

Like names, abstract logo’s can be quite distinctive and thus recognizable. Alas, because abstract logo’s may lack the inherent meaning present with a concrete logo, one danger is that consumers may not understand what the logo is intended to represent without a significant marketing initiative to explain it’s meaning.

Benefits of Logo’s and Symbols

A branding advantage to logos is that because they are non verbal, they are versatile when it comes to transferring communications across cultures and over a range of product category. For example, corporate brands often develop logos in order to confer their identity on a wide range of products and to endorse different sub-brands.

Also, logo’s unlike brand names can be adapted over time to achieve a more contemporary look. The history of the Microsoft Windows logo is a good example of this. In updating however, marketers need to make gradual changes and not lose sight of the inherent advantages of the logo.

Regardless changing  a logo is not cheap. According to Allen Adamson of Landor Associates- creating a symbol or remaking an old one for a big brand “usually costs 1 million dollars.”

I’m not  a logo designer so this is all I am going to say on this topic. I would verge on bluffing if I wrote too much more.


O W Lovell

Thanks as always to:


Keller, K L (2001).Strategic Brand Management: Building, measuring, and managing brand equity (3rd ed.).New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.