What makes for a good logo?  I was traveling the last couples days.  Up very early and turning out the lights very late.  Both days I desperately needed a some good coffee.  Peet’s was nowhere to be found.  Dohhhhhh!  So I did what the rest of you do.  I started scanning the horizon for that green logo that means a Starbucks is near.  Do they have a great logo?  What makes it great for me is that they’re very recognizable and I can pick one out from 100 yards away in the airport or half a mile away on the freeway.  That’s a good logo!

Seth Godin had a link to an interesting blog today.  Design Observer had a post today on The Mysterious Power of Context.  Some really helpful ideas on branding and logos.  I especially found this section helpful:

In the world of identity design, very few designs mean anything when they’re brand new. A good logo, according to Paul Rand, provides the "pleasure of recognition and the promise of meaning." The promise, of course, is only fulfilled over time. "It is only by association with a product, a service, a business, or a corporation that a logo takes on any real meaning," Rand wrote in 1991. "It derives its meaning and usefulness from the quality of that which it symbolizes."

As I thought about it, the quote reminded me of the visual image given in this great post by Dave Ferguson.  Now that’s a powerful logo, filled with "the pleasure of recognition and the promise of meaning."

Branding, Logos, and Design
  • Of course the early church used the fish symbol as something of a logo that promised recognition as a member of the Christian community.
    At the beginning there is no context for the name or the logo – good observation.
    I try to help clients puzzling over a new name that the name is not as important as they think. It is up to them to make the name “good” not to choose simply choose a “good” name.
    I wonder what people said when they first heard and saw the Starbuck’s name? Oh, it has to be a good coffee shop, they’ve named it after a character from Moby Dick!
    Enjoying your blog – Mike

  • Thanks, Mike! That is the tension, isn’t it? Whenever I’m trying to work out a name for something (or even some creative wording for a brochure) I try to keep in mind that the quality of the product comes first and that causes people to feel goor (or bad) when they see the logo.
    Thanks for joining the conversation!

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