In our previous post, Crafting your Brand. Part 1 - Constructing an effective Logo, we established a simple definition of what makes a Logo effective, and primary requirements that should drive logo design.
To recap, for a logo to be effective, we must approach logo design with the primary goal of achieving Effective Visual Identity Communication. That is, the Logo must help the customer clearly recognize and remember the Company Name.
The Company Name
In the human experience, the most important signal of independent, autonomous beings is the Name. Therefore, all efforts of branding, including Logo design, must be approached with clear understanding of the innate significance of the Company Name.
The Company Name is the most important component of a Brand. In the rush to design a great looking Logo, it is easy to overlook this.
The choice of Company Name do have significant implications and constraints on the choices available to us in effective logo composition. This is a topic we will explore even more in-depth in a separate blog.
However, it should be clear that an organization can call itself whatever it wants. The job of effective logo composition is to reflect the needs and demands of the organization's Brand, and create a logo that achieves the effective visual communication required by its Company Name.
With this in mind, let's explore the 2 basic types of logo layouts for effective visual identity communication.
Logo Layout Option 1: Nameplate Only
The Nameplate, or Wordmark, Only logo layout is the most effective logo layout option available, and the most widely adopted option by large and small organizations alike.
It's basically of the company name, rendered in a unique or custom typeface and colors; i.e. the logo uniqueness is strictly achieved with use of typeface and color differentiation.
Here are some examples of national and global brands composed using this logo layout option.
Looking at these examples, it is easy to understand why this layout option is highly effective for brand marketing.
With the company name as the central focus of the logo design, there is little chance of customers unable to identify and remember the Company Name.
Logo Layout Option 2: Nameplate and Symbol Combination
The Nameplate and Symbol combination is the most popular logo composition layout. This is the layout that is frequently assumed when thinking about logo design.
It can be very effective, when executed properly.
This layout option has 2 distinct parts to it.
The first part is the Nameplate or Wordmark, just as in the previous option, and executed with the same constraints.
The second part is the inclusion of a uniquely identifiable symbol, representing the brand even more visually. The choice and construction of this symbol need be made with care, in order to achieve effective visual identify communication.
While multiple symbols can be used, it is not recommended. The more symbols are introduced into the design composition, the less effective visual identity communication is achieved.
The symbol is commonly assumed to be the Logo. What it is called is largely irrelevant.
In addition, symbols should have an obvious relation to the Company Name to be effective. If ordinary customers can't recognize and connect the dots between the symbol and the Company Name, then it should not be in the logo design composition.
Other than that, as with nameplates or wordmarks, corporate symbols are otherwise constructed using the same rules guiding use of colors to differentiate it from others in the marketplace.
Here are some examples of brands using this composition option.
This logo composition layout has one significant advantage over the Nameplate Only option. The inclusion of a symbol opens the chance for the brand to grow into an iconic brand status more easily.
Becoming an iconic brand is no small feat, but should the brand marketing and market presence grow to such a size, company symbols can be powerful drivers of brand presence in small media formats and hence brand loyalty. This can be especially significant to consumer brands, a good example of which is Apple and its iconic Apple logo and its effective use in product packaging.
For new and emerging brands, the web's multi-media environment, offers more opportunities for creative iconic brand marketing. From website browser icons, to PC desktop application icons and small format web banners, companies large and small have more options to achieve effective brand presence, and corporate symbols works well in these environments.
Here are examples of brands whose corporate symbols are primary drivers of brand iconic presence.
In the next blog in this series, we will continue by looking carefully at typeface or font selection for the logo Nameplate or Wordmark.