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A Study of 597 Logos Shows Which Kind Is Most Effective
- Jonathan Luffarelli,
- Mudra Mukesh,
- Ammara Mahmood
Is your logo too simple for its own good?
Great logos help sell products. But what kind of logo is right for your brand? Researchers analyzed 597 companies to answer this question. They discovered descriptive logos (those that include visual design elements that communicate the type of product) more favorably affect consumers’ brand perceptions than nondescriptive ones (logos that are not indicative of the type of product). They also found that descriptive logos are more likely to improve brand performance — unless consumers associate your product with sad or unpleasant things, in which case a nondescriptive logo is probably better.
Imagine you are a marketing manager about to launch a brand called Noxu, which markets jigsaw puzzles. You just received an email from your CEO, asking you to choose between two logos. Your goal is to choose the one that will make the launch more successful. Which logo should you choose: the one on the right or the one on the left?
- JL Jonathan Luffarelli is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Montpellier Business School (France). He studies brand aesthetics, logo design, and brand personality. His work has appeared in premier journals such as the Journal of Marketing Research and Journal of Business Venturing .
- MM Mudra Mukesh is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Westminster Business School in England. Her main research interests are in the area of consumer well-being and social media. Her work has been published in leading journals such as the Journal of Marketing Research and the Journal of Business Venturing .
- AM Ammara Mahmood is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Lazaridis School of Business and Economics in Canada. Her main research interests include exploring the impact of social media marketing and platforms on online content consumption. Her work has been published in leading journals such as Management Science , the Journal of Marketing Research , and the Journal of Business Venturing.
From the brand logo to brand associations and the corporate identity: visual and identity-based logo associations in a university merger
- Original Article
- Open access
- Published: 12 January 2021
- Volume 28 , pages 241–253, ( 2021 )
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- Ari-Matti Erjansola ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-0626-7243 1 ,
- Jukka Lipponen 1 ,
- Kimmo Vehkalahti 2 ,
- Hanna-Mari Aula nAff3 &
- Anna-Maija Pirttilä-Backman 1
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Brand logos are a fundamental part of the corporate visual identity, and their reception has been vigorously researched. The focus has been on the visual traits of the logo and their effect on the reception process, whereas little attention has been paid to how the logo becomes part of the brand. This article narrows this research gap in investigating how a new logo is evaluated, how the perception evolves, and what underlying dimensions emerge from the reception process. We adopted a longitudinal free-association approach and followed the qualitative and quantitative changes in logo associations among first-year students at Aalto University as it was going through a merger accompanied with a radical visual-identity redesign. We show how the new logo faced initial resistance before it became a source of positive brand associations, and how it became anchored in the university´s corporate identity. We argue that logo evaluations span three dimensions: they may be congruent or incongruent with the disposition of the individual toward the change: they may be congruent or incongruent with the visual preferences of the individual; and they may be based on the visuals of the logo or on its identity-expressing capabilities.
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What defines the image of an educational institution? Discussion, evaluation, change. A school is constantly re-evaluating, discussing and adjusting the way it organizes itself and its activities. The image of a school is thus undefinable—it is in constant change. This is why the logo should not provide a static predefined image, but a blank canvas, which will in time be attached with meaning—an identity created and experienced by the students, researchers and employees.
The above quotation is from graphic designer Rasmus Snabb, when he was in the process of designing a logo for Aalto University in 2009. The starting point was unconventional. Literature on logos emphasizes the role of organizations as their creators, whereas customers are mere recipients (Kim and Lim 2019 ). In the case of Aalto, the purpose was to create a symbol to communicate change and a fresh start. At the same time, the logo was meant to be a tool for identity building—a blank canvas on which the community could reflect the identity of Aalto University. More and more universities are facing such challenges. Competition is intensifying as the field becomes increasingly marketized (Wedlin 2008 ), but as organizations valuing diversity and academic freedom they constitute a potentially challenging environment for brand management (Melewar et al. 2018 ). Fragmented identities may make it difficult to create a uniform brand (Wæraas and Solbakk 2009 ). In the following, we focus on how resistance to a new logo turns into acceptance, and how the logo becomes a source of brand association and symbol of a shared identity.
A logo is a graphic design, which companies use to identify themselves and their products (Henderson and Cote 1998 ). They are known to contribute to recognizability (Balmer and Gray 2000 ), brand equity (Abratt and Kleyn 2012 ) and a sense of familiarity (Foroudi et al. 2014 ). There has also been research on the logo-creation process and consumer evaluation (Henderson and Cote 1998 ; Buttle and Westoby 2006 ; van Der Lans et al. 2009 ), as well as on the psychological mechanisms behind their reception (Park et al. 2013 ; van Grinsven and Das 2015 ; Miceli et al. 2014 ). A logo could thus be described as a brand-management tool used in a carefully planned process to create brand equity, customer commitment and competitive distinctiveness. As a visual presentation of a corporation, the logo has also been viewed as the root of corporate identity (Foroudi et al. 2017 ; van Riel and Balmer 1997 ), and in addition to their functional benefits and aesthetic appeal, they have been found to facilitate identity expression (Park et al. 2013 ). A logo may display desired identities, hence congruence of the self and the brand is crucial (Japutra et al. 2016 ). According to this line of thinking, logos convey associations between the brand and the self—from the organization they represent to the identity of the consumer.
Although there has been vigorous and ambitious research on logos, the majority of studies use quantitative metrics with relatively short time spans, and target groups with no meaningful relationship to the brand in question. We know much of what happens during the reception phase and about the effect of different design elements (see e.g., Henderson and Cote 1998 ; Janiszewski and Meyvis 2001 ; van Grinsven and Das 2016 ; Miceli et al. 2014 ; Bresciani and Del Ponte 2017 ), as well as about the consequences of using a logo (see e.g., Park et al. 2013 ; Abratt and Kleyn 2012 ), but little is known about how the process unfolds. We therefore take a complementary approach in this article, considering logo associations from a longitudinal perspective. Our investigation covers: (1) how the new logo of the university is being evaluated and what is associated with it, (2) how perceptions and associations evolved following the founding of the university and (3) what underlying dimensions emerge from the logo associations.
Our research method originates from the theory of social representations (Moscovici 1973 ; Abric 2001 ). Using both qualitative and quantitative analysis, we show how the university’s new logo faced initial resistance before it became a vessel for positive brand associations, and how it came to be anchored in Aalto’s corporate identity. The approach resembles that of Van Riel and van den Ban ( 2001 ), who categorized logo associations as either intrinsic (focusing on visual elements directly resulting from confrontation with the logo) or extrinsic (originating from associations with the organization behind it). They refer to the former as graphical and the latter as referential associations. Building on this work, we argue that logo evaluations span three dimensions: they may be congruent or incongruent with the disposition of the individual toward the change: they may be congruent or incongruent with visual preferences of the individual; and they may be based on the visuals of the logo or on its identity-expressing capabilities.
Our approach has several benefits. First, it allows us to tap into a real-life setting in which the participants are deeply invested in the brand that is being revamped, unlike most modern research on logos that relies on controlled laboratory experiments or traditional surveys (Kim and Lim 2019 ). Second, our longitudinal setting covers an exceptionally long period of time—seven years—which enables us to follow changes as they transpired after the founding of the university. Third, our focus on the qualitative associations evoked by the logo enhances understanding of the reception process and the underlying dimensions from the recipients’ perspective. In essence, the method enables us to monitor how the link between the symbol and the organization evolved, and how the logo became a synonym for the organization invoking associations related to the brand. Fourth, applying the theory of social representations in our analysis gave us the opportunity to interpret many of the phenomena we monitored in the logo-reception process.
Brand logos and corporate visual identity
Logos are a fundamental part of the visual identity of brands and corporations. How they are received has attracted attention in the literature during recent decades, which is not surprising given the considerable resources corporations devote to their design. The focus in the research has been on the reception process, and more lately also on the benefits of logos as well as their meaning and identity-based elements.
According to Henderson and Cote ( 1998 ), a logo should evoke recognition, affect and meaning, and reflect the organization it represents. It should also arouse positive reactions and carry the same meaning across people and contexts. Building on this, van Grinsven and Das ( 2016 ) found that increased exposure to the logo can lead to stronger brand recognition and positive attitudes, especially if the logo is complex. According to Miceli et al. ( 2014 ), however, there is a difference between visual and conceptual complexity. Whereas the former is evaluated more positively on the first exposure, but the evaluation turns more negative thereafter, the opposite is the case with conceptually complex logos, which may evoke multiple meanings.
Logos have purposes other than being just symbolic reminders of a particular corporation or product: they may have symbolic and functional benefits (Park et al. 2013 ) or convey a corporate identity (Foroudi et al. 2014 ). Above all, the logo should be suited to the organization (Foroudi et al. 2014 ), whose image may end up “colouring” the logo in the long run (van Riel and van den Ban 2001 ). In other words, there should be congruence between the organization and its symbol, because the two may have a reciprocal relationship.
The link between the logo and the identity of the organization behind it is especially evident in strongly value-driven organizations such as universities. A new visual image may threaten the sense of tradition in a university, which may provoke resistance (Idris and Whitfield 2014 ). It is nevertheless possible to mitigate the resistance by means of empathetic communication (Walsh et al. 2019 ) and focusing on the congruence between the logo and the organization (Japutra et al. 2016 ). It has been shown that incongruence may lead to resistance, especially if the new logo comes as a surprise (Grobert et al. 2016 ).
There has been a vast amount of research on identity, which is a widely used term. In the context of logos, it often refers to corporate visual identity, meaning the visible part of the corporate identity (see e.g., Melewar and Saunders 1998 ; Foroudi et al. 2014 ). Corporate identity is the distinctive public image a corporation communicates and the shared meanings that the corporate entity is understood to have (Cornelissen et al. 2007 ). Balmer ( 2008 ) makes a distinction between the identity of the corporation and identification from the corporation: in this sense corporate visual identity is the latter, the focus being on the symbolism and how the corporation wishes to be seen. The identity of a corporation, on the other hand, concerns its distinctive traits. This article follows the same line of reasoning, according to which a logo is a fundamental component of corporate visual identity. By analyzing responses to the visual manifestation of the corporate identity, we shed light on its distinctive traits. We see the logo as a part of a brand’s associative network, which evokes associations related to the brand, the corporation and the visual image of the logo.
Brand associations and social representations
Brand associations are the informational nodes in the memory of consumers that contain the meaning of the brand to them. They vary in favourability, strength and uniqueness and may refer to attributes or benefits of the product or service, or to overall evaluations of the brand such as attitudes toward it (Keller 1993 ). They could also be viewed as either owned or shared: owned associations are actively communicated by the organization whereas shared associations are perceived and produced by consumers (Mirzaei et al. 2016 ). In this sense, there is active communication between the owner—the organization—and the consumer, during which the meaning of the brand is negotiated. Another major factor is the congruity between owned and shared associations (Crawford Camiciottoli et al. 2014 ; Mirzaei et al. 2016 ), in other words the match or mismatch between associations that are actively communicated by the organization and shared by consumers.
Social representations, on the other hand, are “fields of knowledge” or forms of common sense (Moscovici 1973 ; Moscovici and Marková 1998 ). They could be considered a set of organized judgements, attitudes and information concerning a social object with a hierarchical structure, which are shared by a social group (Abric 2001 ). From a psychological perspective, a brand is a social representation (Schmitt 2011 ) that enables social groups to communicate, interact and organize around social objects such as products and services. In the context of brand research, the theory of social representations has been applied to consumer perceptions (Roininen et al. 2006 ), brand positioning (Lebrun et al. 2013 ) and brand associations (Michel and Donthu 2014 ). Social representations and brand associations are complementary: both purport to organize the contents of social objects to enable communication and the formation of a shared vision.
This study applies a free-association approach adapted from the social-representation tradition, the aim being to analyze associations evoked by a symbol of the brand—the logo. In our view, once the logo is well established, it provides a lens through which one can view the content of the brand and the associations related to the organization in question. Establishing this link between the logo and the brand may take time, however.
Context and research questions
This article focuses on how the Aalto University logo (see Fig. 1 ) was received. The university was founded in 2010 following a merger of Helsinki University of Technology (HUT), Helsinki School of Economics (HSE) and the University of Art and Design Helsinki (UIAH). HUT was the largest of the merging universities, and all three were top institutions in their fields in Finland. The merger was one of the flagship projects of the Finnish higher-education reform (Aula and Tienari 2011 ) and it marked a significant turn toward marketization. The merging universities were all state-owned, whereas Aalto University is controlled by a privately owned fund and a board including representatives from outside academia. Additional consequences of marketization included the strong financial support from the Finnish government and industry (Aspara et al. 2014 ) and the allocation of attention and resources to branding.
Different variations of the original Aalto University logo. All the variations were introduced in 2009 and were in use 2010–2018. The image was used as a stimulus in the survey
Aalto University is Finland’s most renowned higher-education institution in the fields of business, technology and design and has attracted research interest in various areas such as reputation building (Aula and Tienari 2011 ), rebranding (Aspara et al. 2014 ), strategy (Tienari et al. 2016 ) and organizational identification (Edwards et al. 2017 ). During its early years, the university struggled to establish its reputation (Aula and Tienari 2011 ) and to adopt a service-dominant branding logic (Aspara et al. 2014 ). Edwards et al. ( 2017 ) studied different integration trajectories and found that employee adaptation to the new organization was also slow, especially among employees from the former Helsinki School of Economics and the University of Art and Design. According to Tienari et al. ( 2016 ), the fact that Aalto University positioned itself as a “world class” university caused controversy among employees. According to Ripoll-Soler and de-Miguel-Molina ( 2014 , 2019 ), however, the merger could be considered a relative success in terms of what are considered crucial factors in university mergers, and has brought about improvements in terms of global ranking. The Aalto merger was horizontal and complementary in academic profile, the size of the merged institution was optimal in terms of student numbers, and the original aim was to create something more than the mere sum of its parts in response to contextual demands in its environment.
To better understand the context of the logo-design process at Aalto University, we interviewed selected key informants involved in the creation of its visual identity. The thinking was that the new university would need a logo that would communicate something totally new. The name of the university was decided through a competition, and the same process was used for the logo. Hence, a logo-design competition was launched in 2009, which attracted 177 proposals from students and alumni of the former universities. The winning entry—designed by a student at UIAH—was called “Invitation” containing the text “Aalto-yliopisto” ( Aalto University, in English ) accompanied by a question mark, an exclamation mark and quotation marks. The final logo was modified from this design. There are nine variations, each containing only the letter A accompanied with either a question mark, an exclamation mark or quotation marks in different colours (see Fig. 1 ).
From the university’s perspective, the logo was intended to communicate that the multidisciplinary Aalto University was something different and completely new. The university community was involved in the creation of the visual identity, and the logo was meant to be neutral so that the organizational entity could give it meaning—or “colour” in the words of van Riel and van den Ban ( 2001 )—in the years to come. In terms of brand management and design, the case has many interesting angles. First, the logo is unorthodox in the traditional world of brand management. Instead of a single symbol evoking the same meaning, there are nine variations that are to be used randomly. Second, referring to Miceli et al. ( 2014 ), the logo is visually simple but conceptually complex, thereby allowing room for in-depth analysis of how this type of logo can be adopted as a symbol of an existing social group. Third, much of the literature on logos emphasizes the role of the organization as the creator and of the marketing department as the identity builder (e.g., Kim and Lim 2019 ). A complementary view would be to consider the organization a facilitator of the branding process (Brodie et al. 2016 ), which is exactly what the Aalto case exemplifies.
The focus of our study is on the reception of the logo among students at Aalto University School of Business and its predecessor Helsinki School of Economics. The school is an interesting target because it is one of the smaller universities comprising Aalto, and in this sense it was not in a dominant position in the merger. At the same time, the new logo was designed by a UIAH student, so in this sense it could be seen as an “art and design” project coming from outside the School of Business.
From these premises, we developed our research questions for this article:
RQ1: How is the logo evaluated and what associations are linked to it?
RQ2: How did the perception and the associations evolve following the founding of the university?
RQ3: What underlying dimensions do the associations reveal?
We used a free association approach to tap into the respondents’ impressions of the new logo in this real rebranding situation. The method has been used to study the structure of social representations in various contexts such as brand positioning (Lebrun et al. 2013 ), consumer perceptions (Roininen et al. 2006 ; Mäkiniemi et al. 2011 ) and marketing (Penz 2006 ), and has proved efficient and practical as a way of collecting data without imposing a predefined structure or discourse on respondents.
The data were collected via an online survey, conducted in Finnish, in which the participants were asked to list up to five associations that the Aalto University logo brought to mind. An image with all the logo variations was provided as a stimulus (see Fig. 1 ). The respondents were then asked to rate the tone of the associations as positive, negative or neutral. Following the free-association task there were further questions about the merger, such as how the respondents felt about the name and the brand of the new university. Background information on aspects such as age and gender was collected at the end of the survey. To ensure data-anonymization, no identifying information was collected from the participants in the surveys.
The survey was distributed at three different time points. First-year students at Helsinki School of Economics were approached in November 2009, just a few months before the merger officially took place (January 2010) and 6 months after the new logo had been released (May 2009). A second survey was sent out to first-year students at Aalto University School of Business in November 2011, and a third survey to first- and second-year students in April 2016. Second-year students were included in this third target group to equalize the sample sizes, given that between 2011 and 2016 it became university policy to allow students to opt out of receiving invitations such as this. The total number of respondents was 162 (86 female), yielding a total of 792 associations. Of these, 59 responded in 2009, 52 in 2011 and 51 in 2016. The response rates were 16.8, 16.9 and 17.5 per cent, respectively. The average age of the respondents was 23 (median age 22).
It should be pointed out that the three separate groups of respondents (2009, 2011 and 2016) differed in terms of how they had been exposed to the old and the new logos. Those who started their studies in 2009 had applied to the old university and had studied there for 3 months; thus, the logo redesign represented a clear change from the old to the new. Those who started in 2011 began their studies at Aalto University with its new logo, but were also somewhat exposed to the old logo because it was actively used in marketing until 2010. Students starting their studies in 2016 were only 16–17 years old when Aalto University was founded and were thus only exposed to the new logo, which at this point had been used exclusively in all marketing and communication for six years (2010–2016). Given that Aalto is the most well-known Finnish university in the field of business, it is safe to say that all of the respondents to the 2016 survey had seen the logo beforehand, and that most—if not all—of them had been exposed to the marketing efforts of the university.
The diversity of the collected qualitative data reflected the controversial nature of the subject. The first step in the analysis was to lemmatize the associations, in other words to identify the root words so they could be analyzed as single items. We then combined synonyms in classes reflecting the most representative word in the class and created a further qualitative categorization reflecting the semantics and tone of the associations. In unclear cases, we considered all the associations provided by the respondent concerned in an attempt to establish the meaning. This was especially helpful when the tone was sarcastic, such as “huippuyliopisto” (“top university” in English), which can be used in its literal meaning or sarcastically to ridicule the university.
The final classification scheme comprised 21 categories covering 89 per cent of all the associations. The remaining 11 per cent did not fit any of the classes and were too rare to justify a separate class. A threshold of 10 total mentions was used to focus on the associations that were shared by the group. The first author of this article devised the categorization scheme, which was tested by a second researcher. Contradictory cases were discussed and agreed in collaboration. Table 1 shows the classification scheme including the number of associations per year.
Most of the classes were clear and easy to define, most of the associations being identical or close synonyms. A good example of such a class is “simple”, in which almost two-thirds of the associations are versions of the root word. Other homogenous association classes included “ugly”, “colourful”, “unclear” and “diverse”.
At the same time, many classes required more consideration, “inappropriate” and “academic” being good examples. The “inappropriate” class contains a diverse range of associations questioning the suitability of the logo for a university, varying from “unacademic” to “incompetent” and referring to various non-academic organizations (e.g., circus, pharmacy). The “academic” class, on other hand, contains a wide variety of associations related to academic life, such as “learning”, “science”, “research”, “open” and “critique” in a positive sense. Among the other heterogenous classes were “thought”, “questionable”, “innovation” and “influence”.
We noted during the classification process that many of the classes had counterparts, including contradictory and opposing pairs such as clear—unclear, boring—interesting and simple—diverse. Some pairs were quite simple and easy to recognize—such as ugly (aesthetically displeasing) and stylish (aesthetically pleasing), whereas others were conceptually fairly complex, forming semantic bundles rather than simple pairs. The classes “inappropriate” and “childish” serve as a good example of a conceptually complex bundle, the associations questioning the logo as a symbol of an academic institution and the counterparts deriving from the classes “academic”, “thought” and even “innovation”.
We conducted Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA) and K-Means cluster analysis in combination to identify the underlying response dimensions and thereby better understand the structure of the data. MCA is a generalization of principal component analysis (PCA) for nominal variables; hence, it can be used to analyze patterns of relationships among several categorical dependent variables (Abdi and Valentin 2007 ; Vehkalahti and Everitt 2019 ). In this sense, the method is related to factor analysis, which is often used in experimental aesthetics to discover underlying dimensions (see e.g., Henderson and Cote 1998 ). K-Means, on the other hand, is a traditional clustering method, which is used to discover natural groupings in a given data set (Jain 2010 ). The combination is widely used with free association data to analyze social representations.
The post-classification analysis covered the whole data set, and the cluster analysis revealed four separate respondent groups. We named the clusters Visual incongruence ( n = 30), Identity incongruence ( n = 49), Visual congruence ( n = 36) and Identity congruence ( n = 47), reflecting the responses in each one and the evaluation dimensions in the final MCA model (Table 2 ). For each cluster, we calculated an index of polarity, which indicates the relative sentiment of the cluster varying between 1 (extremely positive) and −1 (extremely negative). The clusters are discussed in more detail in the next section. Finally, Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA) allowed us to identify and visualize the relations among the associations, clusters and time points.
The analysis revealed four respondent clusters and our final MCA model identified three dimensions explaining a total of 35.1 per cent of the variance. The three dimensions differentiated responses along continuums ranging from i) incongruence to congruence, ii) visual congruence to visual incongruence and iii) visual to identity-based associations, each dimension explaining 16.5, 10.3 and 8.3 per cent of the variance, respectively. In other words, the respondents were either resistant to or supportive of the logo, they reacted to the visual design either positively or negatively, and their associations related either to the visual aspects of the logo or to the organization and the brand behind it.
Visual incongruence This cluster had 30 members whose associations focused on the visual aspects of the logo, expressing dissatisfaction with the design. The most typical were “boring”, “ugly”, “unclear” and “stupid”, which alone covered over two-thirds of the associations. To a smaller extent the associations of members of the visual-incongruence cluster concerned the simplicity of the logo, as well as its “questionable” nature, in particular the underlying logic. There were also associations linking Aalto University with technology and the arts—in other words the non-business “out-group” aspects: examples included “engineer” and “modern art”. The cluster as a whole was highly negative with a polarity index of -0.60.
The cluster was at its peak in 2009 and declined throughout the time period: it covered 23.7 per cent of the respondents in 2009, 17.3 per cent in 2011 and 13.7 per cent in 2016. In terms of content it remained fairly stable, although the first associations referring directly to Aalto University appeared first in 2011 and then in 2016. The decline coincided with a decrease in negativity, with index-of-polarity values of -0.63 in 2009, -0.60 in 2011 and -0.53 in 2016.
Identity incongruence This cluster had 49 members whose associations focused mainly on identity aspects expressing resistance, the most typical being “inappropriate”, “childish” and “questionable”. The logo was considered not to be ‘representative of us’, but childish, unacademic and corporate-like. The words “boring” and “simple” (with a negative connotation) were also fairly typical. The cluster was highly negative with a polarity index of −0.69.
Similar to the visual-incongruence cluster, this one was at its peak in 2009, also declining and becoming slightly less negative over the time period. It covered 55.9 per cent of respondents in 2009, 21.2 per cent in 2011 and 9.8 per cent in 2016, the respective indexes of polarity being −0.73, −0.69 and −0.56. The cluster was more representative than the visual-incongruence cluster in 2009, but also declined more rapidly: by 2016 most of the incongruence related to the visual aspects of the logo.
The three most typical associations in the cluster were “inappropriate”, “childish” and “questionable”. Of these, “inappropriate” and “questionable” are highly heterogenous while “childish” is fairly homogenous, the associations including “kindergarten” and “elementary school” in addition to the word “childish”.
Visual congruence This cluster had 36 members whose associations focused on the positive visual aspects of the logo. The most typical associations included “stylish”, “Aalto University”, “colourful” and “simple” with a positive connotation, but also “questionable” and “strange”. The latter two represent the more positive end of their respective classes compared to the same class associations in the visual- and identity-incongruence clusters. The cluster is fairly positive with a polarity index of 0.29.
Whereas the clusters representing visual and identity incongruence both peaked in 2009, the highest level of representation for the visual-congruence cluster was in 2011. It covered 13.6 per cent of respondents in 2009, 28.8 per cent in 2011 and 25.5 per cent in 2016. There was a similar trend in the index of polarity, which was 0.10 in 2009, 0.39 in 2011 and 0.30 in 2016.
Identity congruence This final cluster had 47 members with associations focusing mainly on positive brand associations and identity-related themes. The most representative associations were “academic”, “thought”, “modern”, “influence” and “innovation”, but “simple” (with a positive connotation), “interesting” and “diverse” also featured. Most of the classes were heterogenous and ambiguous, such as “academic”, “thought” and “influence”. The cluster is the most positive in the data set with a polarity index of 0.60.
Unlike the other clusters, this one was at its peak in 2016. It covered only 8.5 per cent of respondents in 2009, rising to 36.2 per cent in 2011 and 55.3 per cent in 2016. The respective indexes of polarity were 0.80, 0.54 and 0.60. It is clear from the rate and index for 2009 that at the beginning there was already a small but extremely positive group of people who took the logo as their own and linked it to positive and multidisciplinary themes such as “technology”, “invention”, “intelligent” and “evolved”.
The reception of the logo The initial response was one of shock. Almost two-thirds of the associations in 2009 were negative (see Table 3 ), the five most typical being inappropriate, childish, questionable, ugly and boring, reflecting both visual and identity incongruence. These classes alone covered almost half of the associations in the first year. The tone quickly became more positive; however, the rate of negative associations had already halved in 2011, whereas the rate of positive associations had more than doubled. This trend continued in 2016, at which point half of the logo associations were positive and less than a quarter were negative.
The same trend is visible in the development of the clusters throughout the time period. The most typical clusters in 2009 were identity incongruence (55.9%) and visual incongruence (23.7%), meaning that almost 80 per cent of the respondents expressed associations reflecting dislike of or resistance to the new logo. This rate dropped by half in 2011 (38.5%), and to less than a quarter in 2016 (23.5%) (Table 4 ).
Identity congruence was the most typical cluster in 2011 (32.7%) and 2016 (51.0%), and all in all the identity clusters dominated each year at 62.7 per cent in 2009, 53.9 per cent in 2011 and 60.8 per cent in 2016. There was a decline in both identity and visual incongruence throughout the time period, and an increase in identity congruence. Interestingly, the visual-congruence cluster behaved differently: it increased from 2009 to 2011, peaked in 2011 and decreased slightly from 2011 to 2016. The index of polarity showed the same trend, also peaking in 2011.
The different trend of the visual-congruence cluster is also visible in Fig. 2 . Incongruence with the visual and identity aspects of the logo dominate the cohort of 2009, which then changes to congruence on the visual and identity levels. Visual congruence is especially prominent in the first phases of accepting the new logo, as the cluster peaks in 2011. A possible explanation for this is that visual congruence precedes identity congruence—if the positive brand associations are to become dominant, the visual aspects of the logo first have to be accepted.
Three-dimensional multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) with association class, year and cluster membership. Association font size indicates rate of manifestation. Dimension 1 spans from incongruence to congruence. Dimension 2 from visual congruence to visual incongruence. Dimension 3 from visual to identity
Figure 2 further shows how time relates to the three dimensions: reception moves from incongruence to congruence in a fairly linear fashion (2009 via 2011–2016) along the first dimension. There is no linear trend on the dimensions from visual incongruence to visual congruence or from the visual to the identity aspects, but it is clear that 2011 was slightly more visually oriented than the other years. This also supports the interpretation that visual congruence precedes identity congruence, and that visual acceptance of the logo could be a prerequisite for identity-based associations to emerge.
As a final interesting observation, a comparison of the cluster rates of each year reveals that 2009 and 2016 are almost exact mirror images. Identity incongruence dropped from 55.9 to 9.8 per cent, whereas identity congruence rose from 6.8 to 51.0 per cent. Visual incongruence, on the other hand, dropped from 23.7 to 13.7 per cent whereas visual congruence rose from 13.6 to 25.5 per cent. The year 2011 is the exception, with a more evenly distributed cluster representation.
This study enhances understanding of how logos are received, building on a novel and practical research method that is well-suited to the domain. The focus was on associations related to the logo that was introduced in a newly established university following the merging of three higher-education institutions, as part of a major redesign of its visual identity. We used both qualitative and quantitative analysis in combination. According to the findings, logos are evaluated on the basis of resistance to or acceptance of the change, and in terms of whether or not they are considered aesthetically pleasing. Moreover, evaluations are either identity-based, focusing on the organization and its brand, or visuality-based in which case the focus is on the visual aspects. Finally, how the new logo is received moves from the negative to the positive—from resistance to acceptance—on both the visual and the identity dimension. It is typically heavily resisted at first because it is not considered aesthetically pleasing, or representative of ‘us’, but in time it becomes acclaimed and it is accepted as a common symbol. Eventually, the logo becomes synonymous with the organization, yielding associations related to the brand and the corporate identity.
The study offers several interesting theoretical insights into the research on logos. First, reflecting the work of Van Riel and van den Ban ( 2001 ), we posit that logo evaluations are targeted either toward the logo or toward the organization behind it. Visual evaluations focus on the logo, whereas those that are identity-based focus on the organization in the form of resistance or identity expression. The logo may also be used to express resistance to and criticism of the change, in that ‘it does not represent us’. Alternatively, as a method of identity expression it could even link directly to the core elements of corporate identity. In a sense, it has become a synonym for the organization in that when people look at the logo they see not only the graphical image but also the organization and brand behind it.
We conclude, based on the analysis, that a logo may serve as an analytical lens through which to scrutinize the associative network of the brand. Aalto, for example, has been depicted as interdisciplinary and as having “innovation at its heart” (Aula and Tienari 2011 ). It could be argued that some of the associations from 2016, such as “innovation”, “diverse” and “academic”, are positive brand associations with deep links to the core of the university. At the same time, much of the criticism of the logo in 2009 and 2011 reflected the public discourse regarding the university. Aalto was criticized for being too business oriented and falling for “innovation hype”, for example (see e.g., Aspara et al. 2014 ). Hence, the meaning of the organization was continuously present in the identity clusters, which also dominated the reception process throughout the time period.
Moreover, although the identity-based clusters were dominant throughout the period, there were considerable differences between the time points. For example, the identity incongruence and congruence clusters were dominant in 2009 and 2016, but there was a much more even distribution in 2011. It seems that 2009 was marked by resistance and 2016 by acceptance, whereas 2011 was the most divided and visually oriented. It seems that the process of accepting the brand and the new identity was still underway in 2011, which is evident from the even distribution of the clusters as well as from the content of the associations. A substantial part of the positive shift in associations from 2009 to 2011 could be attributed to visual congruence, which raises the question of whether visual congruence is a prerequisite for identity congruence. Do people need to accept the visual appearance of the logo before they can embrace it as an identity symbol?
Another interesting point is that 2009 and 2016 almost mirror one another. The associations change from resistance to embrace, and from “childish” and “ugly” to “stylish” and “modern”. This polarity trend is also evident on a more detailed level in the data, in that many associations have an opposite counterpart. It is almost as if the respondents were engaged in a debate, voicing competing views about the logo and its meaning. The negotiated identity seems to be heterogeneous and ambiguous, representing different things to different people and mixing visual, organizational and brand elements.
Finally, although the logo was meant to be a “blank canvas”, it evoked a strong response. The obvious question is, ‘Why?’. One plausible explanation relates to the incongruities between the brand, the logo and what was expected from the university. The name Aalto means “wave” in Finnish, but it also refers to the famous Finnish architect and designer Alvar Aalto. In this sense, the name could be considered fairly conservative, which may have caused the discrepancy among the respondents. Another potential explanation lies in the merger context of the study. Although the new organization was nascent, its predecessors had a long history and strong significance to the respondents, who in fact had applied to a prestigious business school without knowing what Aalto would be. Thus, the reaction could have reflected their shock at the merger itself and the incongruence of the initial Aalto brand in comparison with what they had come to expect from Helsinki School of Economics. The resistance could then have been at least partly mitigated by the fact that in 2011 and 2016 the respondents already had a relationship with Aalto University. Both cohorts had applied there. The 2011 cohort was probably also very familiar with Aalto´s predecessors, whereas those in the 2016 cohort had been subjected to Aalto´s branding efforts for years.
In sum, it is clear that there was heavy resistance before the logo was accepted, and the debate proceeded along polarized lines:—ugly - stylish, clear - unclear, inappropriate for a university - academic, and so forth. Two potential interpretations arise from the theory of social representations. According to Markova ( 2000 ), social representations may be generated by themata, which are shared preconceptions or pre-categorizations and often take the form of dyadic oppositions. They may exist implicitly in our common sense or—when problematized - emerge as sources of tension and conflict (Liu 2004 ) to function as “first principles” or “source ideas” (Moscovici and Vignaux 2000 ). In this case, this would mean that respondents facing the “meaning vacuum” posed by the new logo could utilize their pre-existing themata: the visual aspects of the logo, their disposition toward the change process and whether the logo represents their idea of their university.
The polarization could also be interpreted as polemical representations (Moscovici 1988 ) that may occur in inter-group conflicts in which there is typically a rhetorical counterpart to the dominant representation. However, the counterpart is not usually a real alternative, it is more like a shadow or a person of straw, created to reinforce the representation of the in-group (Gillespie 2008 ). Following this line of thought, we suggest that there may have been a shared representation of what university means to the business-school students in our study, but Aalto was not yet part of this representation in 2009. Instead, it was an outgroup project to be resisted, which would be well in line with the fact that the business school was one of the smaller universities in the merger and the logo was designed by a student from the school of art and design. Aalto had been accepted as part of the university representation by 2016, and the alternative—the shadow—had lost its meaning.
Finally, it is evident from our study that accepting a new logo may be a lengthy process. We followed its reception for 7 years, starting before the organization was founded, and the form of its evaluation was not yet finalized in 2011. This highlights the importance of longitudinal research in tracking change processes, such as how logos are received.
We suggest that brand and marketing managers planning to redesign a visual identity should carefully consider their organizational context. In the case of organizations that are strongly value driven—such as universities, public-sector institutions and companies with a strong emphasis on values—we recommend including the community in the branding process and building up the stamina to endure resistance. It took several years before the resistance in Aalto University turned into positive brand associations.
Previous research has shown that careful consideration of the various logo elements could effectively reduce resistance. One might be well advised to endure the initial backlash, however, especially if the visual identity is intended to be for the long term. Resistance may simply mean that the community cares, and that its members are in the process of negotiating the meaning of the symbol and the identity of the organization. Resistance to the logo could also arise from criticism of the change in itself: people with limited resources to affect change resist where they can. A careful analysis of the reasons behind the resistance would be a good start. In sum, organizations should be able to cope with resistance, which does not prevent the symbol from becoming iconic later on.
Limitations and future research
This research focused on how a logo was received in a university setting. The context was the merging of three institutes of higher education and our data comprised the associations of students at the school of business, which was one of the smaller universities involved. The logo was controversial in itself, and the creation process—a competition—was unusual. Although these attributes make the case interesting, it is at the same time unclear how specific the findings are to this context. Is the case exceptional, or did the exceptional attributes make certain general dimensions visible? This question opens up several potential avenues for future research.
First, it would be interesting to examine the extent to which visual congruence has to precede identity congruence. We found some evidence of this, but the hypothesis remains to be validated and tested in other contexts. Second, it is our interpretation that resistance to the new logo could be attributed to the “meaning vacuum” imposed by the new visual identity—and the organization behind it. It could also reflect the inter-group conflict brought about by the merger, which in turn led to a dialogical process in which thematic concepts in the form of dyadic oppositions were used to negotiate the logo´s meaning. What would be the case in different settings?
Third, the Aalto case is an excellent example of brand co-creation through logos (Kim and Lim 2019 ), and there are probably limitations in terms of when this kind of approach would work. What would happen in other contexts—such as corporations or country brands—if stakeholder groups were given as big a role as in the Aalto case? What would be the optimal conditions for co-creation? A potential field of interest would be that of luxury brands, in which consumers ascribe high value to the products (see e.g., Lee et al. 2018 ). Fourth, given that the founding of Aalto University could, in retrospect, be considered a success (Ripoll-Soler and de-Miguel-Molina 2019 ), how would the dynamics between the logo and the organization play out had this not being the case?
Our study also has implications for the research on brand associations. In accordance with the theory of social representations, we suggest that the initial resistance could have originated either from shared preconceptions—themata—or from the experienced intergroup conflict in the form of polemic social representations. This would be an interesting research question in itself. As we saw from our data, it took several years before the positive brand associations—which were in line with the intended Aalto University brand—started to surface. What is the source of brand associations when the brand is unknown—a blank canvas? How long does it take to communicate the intended associations in different situations?
Finally, this study demonstrates the importance of context, both in business and in research. Managers should strive to understand their organizations so that they can select the best approaches. Sometimes the best way forward is to give control to the community and allow them to attach meaning to the symbol, although this may be painful. In terms of future studies, this study highlights the value of research on real social groups, which is one of the premises behind the theory of social representations. Our target group—students at the school of business—is cohesive and comprises people who share an understanding about their organization and discuss its meaning in day-to-day interaction. This is what enabled us to tap into the underlying dimensions of their associations. The same thinking could be more widely used in research on brands and logos. Potential research targets could consist of several internal and external social groups whose members might react to the organization differently.
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Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
Ari-Matti Erjansola, Jukka Lipponen & Anna-Maija Pirttilä-Backman
Centre for Social Data Science, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
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Erjansola, AM., Lipponen, J., Vehkalahti, K. et al. From the brand logo to brand associations and the corporate identity: visual and identity-based logo associations in a university merger. J Brand Manag 28 , 241–253 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41262-020-00223-5
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DOI : https://doi.org/10.1057/s41262-020-00223-5
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Journal of Product & Brand Management
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Article publication date: 16 March 2015
This paper aims to study how logo design characteristics influence consumer response. Based on an in-depth literature review on consumer responses to logo design, the authors included in this research one fundamental dimension of logo design, namely, naturalness and investigated the influence of the different types of natural logo designs on affective response.
In total, 96 logos were selected as design stimuli. The logos were previously classified, according to the naturalness of the logo design, as having an abstract, cultural or organic design. Responses were gathered through a survey in Portugal, including two studies with 220 participants.
Results show that naturalness is an essential logo design element which significantly influences consumer affective responses to the logo, and that natural logos are clearly preferred to abstract logos. Additionally, this research indicates that, within natural logos, organic designs are favored over cultural designs.
The findings presented suggest that affect toward unknown organic logos is at the same level as affect toward well-known abstract logos. This is a relevant finding from a managerial point of view, as familiarity, an essential cognitive response toward the brand that has a cost for the firm, can be replaced cost-free with unknown organic logos.
This paper is a first exploration of responses to different types of natural logo design. The results should guide managers in selecting or modifying logo designs for achieving a positive affective response.
- Logo design
- Brand logos
- Consumer response
Machado, J.C. , de Carvalho, L.V. , Torres, A. and Costa, P. (2015), "Brand logo design: examining consumer response to naturalness", Journal of Product & Brand Management , Vol. 24 No. 1, pp. 78-87. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPBM-05-2014-0609
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Article: How To Do a Proper Research Before Creating A Logo Design
How To Do a Proper Research Before Creating A Logo Design
Created by Ramotion | https://dribbble.com/shots/20203959-FLYR-Logotype-Branding-logo-design-logotype-visual-identity
Welcome to the exciting world of logo design, fellow creatives! If you're anything like me, you're buzzing with ideas and ready to jump right into the design process. But hold on a second, there's a crucial step we often overlook – conducting proper research before creating a logo design.
Yes, you heard it right. The cool, sleek logos we admire didn't just materialize out of thin air. Behind every successful design is a robust amount of research, digging deep into the essence of the brand, understanding the audience, and scoping out the competition.
As designers, it's easy to get carried away with our creative instincts. But remember, our role is more than just producing a visually appealing logo. It's about crafting an emblem that resonates with the target audience, stands out in the crowded market, and perfectly encapsulates the brand's identity. That's where proper research before creating a logo design comes in.
So, are you ready to level up your design game and dive into the nitty-gritty of logo design research? Let's start our journey together!
I. Understanding the Purpose of the Logo
First up on our deep-dive into conducting proper research before creating a logo design is to fully grasp the purpose of the logo. After all, the essence of any great logo lies in its relevance to the brand it represents.
At its core, a logo is more than just a pretty picture—it's a visual ambassador for a brand, a powerful tool that communicates a company's values, its mission, and its unique personality. This means that as designers, our job goes beyond putting together aesthetic elements. It's about creating a symbol that tells a story, a graphic emblem that captures the essence of the brand.
Created by Eddie Lobanovskiy | https://dribbble.com/shots/10724997-HoverChat
To achieve this, we need to understand the company or brand for which we're designing. This understanding doesn't happen by magic or assumption. It's the result of thorough research and an insightful examination of the brand. This could involve direct conversations with the client, going through their brand guidelines, understanding their product or service, and getting a feel for their company culture.
But why is this deep understanding so important, you ask? Well, a logo that doesn't reflect the brand's identity can create confusion and dilute the brand's message. For example, if we're creating a logo for a law firm, a playful and colorful design might not resonate well with their clients who expect professionalism and seriousness.
At the end of the day, we want to design a logo that's not only visually compelling but also a truthful representation of the brand. Conducting proper research before creating a logo design enables us to capture the brand's essence in a unique, memorable logo that genuinely resonates with its audience.
II. Know Your Audience
Designing a logo is a creative adventure, isn't it? But as we're immersing ourselves in fonts, colors, and abstract concepts, it's crucial to keep in mind who we're creating for - our audience. This step is a pivotal part of the proper research before creating a logo design.
Knowing your audience is not just about guessing who might like your logo, but about understanding the people who will interact with it most frequently. These are the customers or clients of the brand. Their preferences, their habits, and even their dislikes can significantly influence how your logo is perceived.
Let's get practical. How can you really get to know your audience? Start by asking the client for their customer personas or demographic details. This information can shed light on age ranges, occupations, cultural backgrounds, even lifestyle choices. Let's say you're designing for a tech start-up whose audience is young, tech-savvy professionals. A modern, sleek design with a tech-forward feel might be just the ticket.
Created by Carazan | https://dribbble.com/shots/21659808-Hexalink-logo-concept
Also, consider conducting surveys or focus groups to get firsthand input. The audience's perception can provide valuable insights, shaping the direction of your design. For instance, if you're designing a logo for a children's toy brand, getting feedback from kids and parents can help ensure the design is both appealing and appropriate.
The key here is empathy – putting yourself in the shoes of the audience and viewing the design from their perspective. Remember, you're not just designing for a brand, but for its audience. A logo that connects with them can significantly enhance their relationship with the brand.
By doing proper research before creating a logo design and truly understanding the audience, you ensure your design isn't just aesthetically pleasing, but also effectively communicates with the people who matter most.
III. Comprehending the Industry and Market Trends
Now, here's an interesting part of our journey into conducting proper research before creating a logo design - comprehending the industry and market trends. It's like stepping into the wild jungle of creativity where trends are born and fade away in the blink of an eye.
As designers, it's essential to keep our finger on the pulse of the design world. Knowing current trends can help inform our work, ensuring it's not just striking and meaningful, but also fresh and relevant. However, don't misunderstand me, I'm not advocating for blindly following trends. Instead, understand them, draw inspiration, but always prioritize the brand's identity and audience preferences.
Created by Milos Bojkovic | https://dribbble.com/shots/20890720-Trustblock-logo-concept
Industry standards are equally vital. Different industries have different unwritten 'rules' and stylistic norms when it comes to logos. For instance, finance and law firms often lean towards more traditional, professional logos, while tech companies might opt for minimalist, modern designs. Understanding these norms helps us create logos that feel at home within their industry, but remember, it's okay to push the boundaries a bit. Sometimes, a little deviation can help a brand stand out from the crowd.
To keep up with trends and understand industry norms, use online resources like design blogs, industry publications, and social media platforms. Attend webinars and design conferences, if possible. Design platforms like Behance, Dribbble, or Pinterest can also be a goldmine of inspiration and trend spotting.
Remember, comprehension of the industry and market trends is crucial in doing proper research before creating a logo design. It helps us create designs that resonate with the present, are relatable to the audience, and are aligned with the brand's industry. Now, isn't that a win-win-win situation?
IV. Analyzing Competitor Logos
Alright, folks, we're diving deeper into our proper research before creating a logo design. Next up is a step that's not just insightful, but quite fun - analyzing competitor logos. It's like being a detective in the world of design, snooping around to uncover the secrets of successful (and not-so-successful) logos in the market.
In any industry, understanding the competition is crucial. It offers valuable insights into what works and what doesn't, what's overdone, and where there might be a gap that your design could fill. Trust me, this is one of the most rewarding homework you'll do in your design process!
Created by Dalius Stuoka | https://dribbble.com/shots/21230041-Green-Energy-Lightning-Bolt-Orb-Negative-Space-Orb
So, how can we effectively analyze competitor logos? Start by making a list of direct competitors of the brand you're designing for. Check out their logos - what colors, fonts, and styles are they using? Are they going for a modern, minimalist look or something traditional? How well are their logos received by their target audience?
Note these details down. Identify the strengths and weaknesses in their designs. Maybe you'll spot a cliché being used excessively or discover an innovative design approach that's resonating well with the audience.
This exercise is not about copying what others are doing. Instead, it's about learning from their experience. It helps us avoid common pitfalls, differentiate from the competition, and create a logo that truly stands out.
Remember, by analyzing competitor logos, we ensure our design doesn't get lost in the sea of sameness. Instead, it proudly stands as a beacon of the brand's unique identity. That's the power of doing proper research before creating a logo design.
V. Finding Inspiration
Okay, fellow creatives, let's venture into one of the most exciting aspects of conducting proper research before creating a logo design - finding inspiration. This is where our artistic souls get to frolic, exploring the vast expanse of creativity that exists around us.
Inspiration, as elusive as it may seem, is everywhere. The trick is to keep our creative eyes open. Nature, for instance, is a treasure trove of inspiration, filled with unique shapes, color palettes, and structures. Similarly, art, architecture, and even everyday objects can spark innovative design ideas.
Created by Coric Design | https://dribbble.com/shots/18147046-Logo-Design-for-Wasserturm-Cuxhaven-Cafe
It's also crucial to draw inspiration from the design industry itself. Scrolling through design platforms like Behance or Dribbble can expose you to an array of unique, successful logos. Following designers whose work you admire can offer fresh perspectives and creative stimulation.
Books are another incredible source. Titles like "Logo: The Reference Guide to Symbols and Logotypes" or "Logo Modernism" can provide valuable insights into the world of logo design.
Remember, we're not looking to copy here, but to stir up our creative juices, to see possibilities and explore ideas. In fact, it can be a fantastic exercise to draw inspiration from unrelated industries or disciplines, bringing in a fresh twist to your design.
Keep a digital or physical inspiration board where you can save images, color palettes, sketches, or anything else that sparks an idea. Refer back to this during your design process.
In the end, finding inspiration is a vital part of the proper research before creating a logo design. It helps us see beyond the ordinary, pushing our creative boundaries to design a logo that truly shines.
VI. Importance of Sketching and Brainstorming
We've journeyed through understanding the brand, audience, industry trends, and competitor analysis, all vital steps of conducting proper research before creating a logo design. Now let's bring our attention to something more hands-on, a step that marks the bridge between research and creation - sketching and brainstorming.
Sketching and brainstorming is where our research starts taking physical form. It's like the exciting moment when a sculptor first touches clay, giving shape to their creative thoughts.
Sketching is a fantastic way to explore ideas and concepts quickly, without the constraints of software. Grab a pen and paper, and let your creativity flow. It's okay if your initial sketches look rough; this process is about ideation, not perfection. Experiment with shapes, letters, symbols, negative space, anything that comes to mind.
Created by Gert van Duinen | https://dribbble.com/shots/21753182-Panda-Negative-Space-Logo-Design
Simultaneously, brainstorming sessions can be an excellent opportunity to bounce off ideas with your team or even with the client. This collaborative effort often leads to unexpected, exciting design directions. Remember, there's no such thing as a 'bad' idea during brainstorming.
Why is this stage so important, you ask? Well, it saves time and effort down the line. By exploring various design directions on paper first, we can identify promising ideas before investing hours perfecting them digitally.
Additionally, brainstorming and sketching provide a sneak peek into your design process, something clients often appreciate. It shows them you're not randomly assembling elements but basing your design decisions on thorough research and thoughtful consideration.
In essence, sketching and brainstorming are indispensable parts of the proper research before creating a logo design, acting as the creative playground where our insights and imagination come together to form the first glimpses of a compelling logo.
VII. Soliciting Feedback and Conducting Surveys
We're nearing the end of our journey through the stages of proper research before creating a logo design, and we've arrived at a critical pit stop - soliciting feedback and conducting surveys. This part is where we take our creative baby out into the world and see how it fares.
Feedback, my friends, is a designer's secret weapon. It offers fresh perspectives, uncovers blind spots, and helps us refine our work. Sharing your design drafts with fellow designers, mentors, or even non-designer friends can be invaluable. They might spot an issue you didn't see or suggest an improvement that elevates your design.
Remember, receiving feedback isn't about defending your work or feeling dejected over criticism. It's about listening with an open mind, considering the viewpoints shared, and using them to improve your design.
Created by Deimante | https://dribbble.com/shots/17367120-Exetrix
Surveys, on the other hand, provide a snapshot of how your design might be perceived by the intended audience. It's like a mini-test drive before the actual launch. You can conduct surveys using online tools like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms. Questions can range from what emotions the logo evokes, to how memorable it is, to what improvements the participants suggest.
The insights gleaned from feedback and surveys can be transformative for your design. They add another layer of refinement to your work, ensuring the logo isn't just aesthetically pleasing, but also effective and impactful.
So, don't shy away from seeking feedback and conducting surveys. They're integral parts of doing proper research before creating a logo design, helping us create a logo that not just we, as designers, love, but one that resonates with the audience and successfully represents the brand.
VIII. Revisions and Refinement
Alright, creative souls, we've reached the final leg of our journey into the process of proper research before creating a logo design - revisions and refinement. This stage is where our creative explorations and feedback amalgamate into a polished, compelling logo design.
The art of revision is truly an art in itself. It's not just about fixing issues or making changes as suggested by feedback. It's also about keeping the essence of your design intact while enhancing its effectiveness and aesthetic appeal.
Consider each piece of feedback and survey result. Then, think about how to incorporate the valuable insights without compromising your original design vision. Perhaps it's a subtle change in the color scheme, a slight tweak in the font, or a more pronounced modification of a shape or symbol. Remember, revisions are not an admission of failure, but a testament to your commitment to excellence.
Created by Gert van Duinen | https://dribbble.com/shots/19046049-WIP
The refinement process is also an opportunity to ensure every element of your logo aligns with the brand's identity and resonates with the target audience. Check that your color choices are spot-on, your typography speaks the brand's language, and your imagery or symbols appropriately represent the brand's personality.
These steps of revisions and refinement may take time and require patience, but trust me, the outcome is worth it. A well-refined logo not just catches the eye, but also lingers in the mind, and ultimately, wins the heart.
So, as we wrap up our discussion on conducting proper research before creating a logo design, let's remember that the journey from an initial idea to a final, polished logo is a journey of exploration, learning, and fine-tuning. And it's this journey that leads us to create truly amazing logos.
As we conclude our journey, let's take a moment to appreciate the profound impact of proper research before creating a logo design. It's a creative expedition, unraveling insights about the brand, the audience, industry trends, and competitors. It offers a playground for sketching, brainstorming, and seeking inspiration. The process further nurtures our designs through feedback, surveys, revisions, and refinement. Ultimately, it leads us to create logos that are not just visually appealing but also deeply meaningful and resonant. So, fellow designers, let's embrace this journey and make the magic happen, one logo at a time!
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Graphic symbols in logo design
The purpose of this paper is to present the importance of graphics to design a logo. The same time, is about the use of a lot of symbols to create logos. The management of both, namely colour and design, is very important in this field. The element called symbol is presented in a few situations, in different graphic representations, for which we tried to explain its meaning. In this study we have tried to answer to a simple question: How to use symbols to design interesting logos? The symbols are very important to define a graphic representation and in this paper we have developed aspects concerning this matter. As it is known in this area of design, it is difficult to achieve a method for all kind of logos. But in our study concerning thousands of examples, we tried to establish a set of rules useful to design logos as powerful and efficient graphic representation. All this work could be called the language of logo design.
New Trends and Issues Proceedings on Humanities and Social Sciences
New Trends and Issues Proceedings on Humanities and Social Sciences (PROSOC)
The graphic world of logos is interesting and creative. In this paper, we have pleaded about 'the graphic technique' to design good logos using a few essential principles to do it. To draw a graphic representation, as a logo, somebody has to know a peculiar language made of symbols, signs, colours, geometric shapes and words. Because the typology of logos is interesting and allows to create icons, logotype and complex graphic representations. Our study has analysed a lot of logos to identify the main principles 'to build' them. It was a hard work of observation and explanation about logos using many examples. We think we have shown the power of graphics in our study.
This paper presents a study concerning the possibility to choose the right symbol for a logo. For a designer, it is a very hard work to see what symbol is necessary to represent the identity of a company. Our study realised on thousands of logos to understand what message can be conveyed only by a sign/symbol. Also, we have realised that it is not necessary that the symbol be in the field of activity of the company but, it has to be an expressive one for it. The directions of the study were focused to identify the activities for which it is necessary to have an adequate graphic representation and to assure a database concerning symbols used, especially for some activities.
This paper aims to present a research study concerning the graphics and symbols in logo design exhibited in an art program dubbed ‘Golden Ages of Art Nouveau and Art Deco’. It was important for us to understand these trends, their characteristics and graphics, to create many times beautiful masterpieces of art. We have noticed a lot of differences between these two art movements related to symbols, signs and colours which were used. It was ‘a special art travel’ to study, theoretically and practically, the field of logo design connected to these ages. Starting from our research study, we have tried to make ‘a basket’ of features which characterises each trend. We have tried to explain the diversity of elements used as an art graphic design focused on logos. And, of course, we have tried to create logos using the features of Art Nouveau and Art Deco. Keywords: Art Nouveau, Art Deco, logo design, feature, symbols, colours.
Muhammad helmi Muhammad Khir
This paper presents the importance of a logo as a graphic element to support a corporate identity. A logo is a graphic identity vector and it has its place in a communication strategy of a company. It is about the signature of a company. That is why is very important to be able to create a harmony between colours and shapes concerning the universe of logos. There are two stages: first, the research and market projection and the second, the creative graphic work. These two stages achieve the possibility to make a logo lifting " when is necessary.
Computers in The Schools
Douglas H Clements
Georgi V. Georgiev
抄録: The general goal of every graphic design is to make a memorable work, through conducting to users meanings of some kind. In our research we focused on characteristics of meanings in logos-one of the most essential issues for creation of messages. An evaluation questionnaire of 40 logotypes is used for investigation of the connection between user evaluations and discovered meanings. The evaluation was made with 6 point semantic scale.
IOSR Journals publish within 3 days
Our study focused to understand the importance of graphic representations, as logos, in urban environment and to identify the principles of logo design used to create them. In this paper, we have discussed about logos in the historical centre of Bucharest and it was hard work, including walking by foot along the streets to identify all these logos which convey different messages to the people and to show what typology was used and what graphics were drawn. As it is known, daily, the people are assaulted by signs, symbols, colours, which are everywhere on panels, buildings, walls, cars, buses, etc. All these representations are 'expressions of something which exist in reality'. In our research study, we have tried to see in what proportion is used a logo to represent a company, a pub, a restaurant, a bank, a pet shop, a theatre, etc., and the result for this approach was so interesting.
One of the solutions that leads to different brands being seen in the contemporary advertising space is the use of visual cultural-ethnic identities in their logo, and to achieve this, the use of symbols is of particular importance. But unfortunately, it seems that the choice of symbols by the graphic designer in some cases is tasty, without prior research or in its optimistic state, only by a formalistic approach. The present study addresses this question as a way to create a culture-based logo using cultural-ethnic symbols, and asks how the symbol can be used in an appropriate way to create a logo culture-based? It should be noted that in this research, the culture-based logo is not merely a logo of cultural organizations, such as the logo of museums, universities and cultural centers, although this item can also be subset. But, the meaning of the culture-logo the logic axis is that in the design of the logo cultural-ethnic symbols play a key role in the transfer of organizational concepts, and the main idea behind the designer to create a logo is the symbol and cultural motifs of a people and a culture. This is an applied research objective with analytical descriptive nature and data collection is done by the library method. By analyzing international specific logo elements and presenting case studies, this article will examine how some contemporary logo designs have inappropriately exploited specific cultural groups. In the process, this study will theorize how designers can practice culturally and socially responsible design by researching the context as well as the cultural and historical significance of major elements used to create a logo design. For designers to implement specific symbolic elements, they will need to analyze each of them to understand the multiple meanings and what they communicate to the intended audience. This is an important step in the design process that should be addressed prior to formalizing the final design proposal. Understanding the importance of the symbol is very important when creating a culture-based logo. Symbols can also be confusing or informative, given how well they are designed and the fact that the designer has well investigated the audience of that brand. A review of the global literature on logo design suggests that the design of the logo includes two basic steps, the research phase and the design stage; however, with this in mind, in the research phase of designing a culture-based logo, there are two basic stages Another included: 1. Research on the organizational goals of the brand and the identity that the brand is seeking to create; 2. Research on symbols that are consistent with the organizational identity in terms of explicit and implicit implications. Therefore, designing a logo is not a tweet or only a matter of formalistic and aesthetic issues, but in designing a logo, especially a logo that plays a key role in the symbol, the designer needs to have a thorough and proper research before designing it. One can conclude from the examination of international samples that use the symbol in the design of the logo in line with organizational interests, regardless of the harmony of semantic implications of brand identity. Apart from undermining the cultural values that it the symbol of its text is extracted, the use of such an inappropriate symbol can also have a negative effect on the organizational goals of the companies that use such logos, and this is where brands usually have a significant amount of time and funds to create their own logo. When the resulting logo is used to insult a group or ethnic group or use their visual symbols inappropriately, it can be very costly for both that particular culture and that organization's owner. Also, by exploring the purposeful international samples that used the symbol in the design of the logo in line with organizational interests, regardless of semantic implications of the symbol, it was concluded that, apart from the inhibition of cultural values, the use of such Inappropriate symbols can have a negative impact on brand identity and brand image throughout the brand's life, as well as organizations that create and use these logos. Finally, the result of this essay was that in the majority of cases, the connotational meaning of the symbol in the design of the logo was given more attention, whereas the same attention to the denotational and connotational meaning of the symbol and its alignment with the brand identity was the appropriate way to create a culture-base logo. Also, by exploring the purposeful international samples that used the symbol in the design of the logo in line with organizational interests, regardless of semantic implications of the symbol, it was concluded that, apart from diminishing cultural values, such use incorrect symbols can have a negative impact on brand identity throughout the brand life.
This paper talks about the stylised human body used in logo design. During our research, we have seen many logos which have had a stylised shape of animals, insects, birds and human being as a graphic representation. That was the reason to determine us 'to dig' deeper in this field of stylisation shape. Because this field is huge, we were obliged to connect our study only to the human body, as a stylised graphic representation in logo design. One of the results of the research study in this paper, where we have tried to explain what kind of graphic elements, colours, geometric shapes and graphic techniques are used to design interesting logos. For us, it was a challenge because we have analyzed a human body as a stylised whole or parts to join the entire body. We think we have managed this work.
Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation
Chemical Physics Letters
choong mong lim
JOHN MOHAN RAZU
The Breast Journal
Value in Health
GABRIEL HENRIQUE CAMARA
European urology open science
ALESSANDRA RODRIGUES KOZOVITS
European review for medical and pharmacological sciences
International Journal of Advance Research and Innovative Ideas in Education
Mohammed Badiuddin Parvez
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Show off your brand’s personality with a custom research logo designed just for you by a professional designer. Need ideas? We’ve collected some amazing examples of research logos from our global community of designers. Get inspired and start planning the perfect research logo design today.
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Logo design for Accelovance - Clinical Research
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***Available unused design. Please send me a message if you're interested *** “pioneer species,” the hardy organisms that are the first to populate areas that have been destroyed by wildfires, volcanoes, etc. Dandelions are one option for a classic pioneer species that is super hearty, well known, and instantly recognizable.
logo for pregnancy nutrition research lab
Contest winner. 2017. Logo design for a research lab focusing on nutrition during pregnancy. The icon features references to the lab's name, to pregnancy and, on an abstract level, to dietary analysis/composition. It avoids generic depiction of food items.
logo design for research project
Contest winner. 2018. Logo design for a European-US multi-omics research project focusing on autism. The icon features references to the main areas of interest: the human central nervous system (brain) and intestinal microbiome (gut), big data analysis (binary code) and genetic analysis (DNA). Each area is represented on the wings of a butterfly.
We make clothing for working professionals who are interested in space exploration. The company is named Overview after the Overview Effect, which is something all astronauts describe after seeing the earth from outer space. We are making vests and jackets for engineers, designers, and researchers.
Biotherapeutic Manufacturing Centre
This Ottawa-based virus manufacturing facitity is part of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI). We manufacture Biosafety Level 2 (BSL-2) viruses (e.g. Poxviridae and Rhabdoviridae) for human clinical trials. The team has over 50 years of shared experience in process development and Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) manufacturing.
"I search, I dig up information, I connect the dots and tell a story. I research markets, companies, technologies, even people (and yes, I have done work in missing persons and next-of-kin). I work long hours and live on coffee. I love finding information." Said Jonalisa "speedy octopus" :) We enjoyed working on this project! Thanks :)
Logo for top research institute
This logo is for a research institute, the Center of Molecular Biology.
Redesigning the old logo. BREATHE Southern California is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that promotes clean air and healthy lungs through education, research, technology, and advocacy.
Fun logo for a research project about children
Logo for NEXT - Project Heart's Research
NEXT is Project Heart's Research and Innovation Conference. NEXT is a conference designed to engage doctors, researchers and people with CHD and intersted in CHD (Congenital Heart Disease) Research. NEXT is about exploring what is coming next in research to help us collaborate and cure CHD in our lifetime.
Exo Incubator - Biomedical technology incubator
Product: Focused on research and development of the "molecular internet" a recently discovered method of communication within the human body which consists of messaging via nano-sized vesicles (shuttles) which carry genetic and molecular information.
Logo for laboratory
Logo for an immunology laboratory. The company was very specific about the shape they wanted in the design, a stylized depiction of an antibody. I tried to hint at the letters "P", "I", and "L" in the design yet still keep it minimalist and balanced. Used contrasting light green with the blue to also hint at light sources in microscopes against a glass slide/petri dish.
Research lab's logo. Behavior, Reptiles, Ecology and Evolution
Bullied Into Bad Science
Don`t be bullied into bad science!
Industrial Agriculture, Sustainable Technology development, Industrial, chemical process, engineering design, Nutraceuticals, Commodity sales, research, testing ETC, Target audience is big Agriculture, and institutional public company relations, Contract manufacturers, Nutraceutical product developers, Big food manufacturer Brands. A theme might be high tech almost Sci-fi Terraforming visuals, minimal modern aesthetic.
Serious but not boring logo for education company
A homage to the white boots that fisherman wear, with Louisiana map in the background. Missions are education, research, increase society’s awareness of important Louisiana coastal issues.
Logo for KU Leuven Department of Biology
Logo for Research and Consulting Firm
Eilers & Krejcik Gaming is a research and consulting firm servicing the global gambling industry.
Logo for neuroscience technology company
The client wanted a lightship (ship that has a lighthouse built onto it) and something that relates to the CNS. I added a horizontal brain section as stars above a smooth ocean.
Comparative Behavioral Ecology
Logo Created for Education / Research group under the name Comparative Behavioral Ecology. Main goal was to capture more symbols into one strong round symbol. A bird (a great tailed grackle), a human, a tree and the earth, combined together into semi organic / geometrical symbol was not an easy goal to accomplish, however, clients (Dr Corina and Dr Dieter) gave me open hands on the design with main elements they wanted to incorporate. After few initial shots, I knew how it should look, but it took some time to create this piece I am really proud of ! Enjoy
Abstract metaphoric logo for a social communications research company.
Clean, Bold, Modern. Open For Sale. Send me 1 - 1 project request to buy. I will also provide changes if you want them. Unsold Logo
Logo for company that provides research services
The logogram is an abstract shape that includes a capital letter R and an upward pointing arrow to convey the idea of rising + modern sans serif fonts with an elegant tracking
Dragonfly Health Logo
This logo was inspired by the obvious shape of the dragonfly and how it's wings mirrored the curves of the atom.
Organa makes synthetic organs for medical device research, development and testing.
Logo for University research unit
Paleo-oncology Research Organization
A research company dedicated to enrolling patients into clinical trials investigating new medicines.
S Lettermark Logo for SynthetiChem
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"Embark on a pioneering expedition as we traverse the globe, dedicated to unveiling unprecedented, authentic natural wonders and cultural treasures hidden in the remotest corners of our planet.''
Astro Smart is providing best threat for dogs health through the best science research & nutirition. My idea is combination of simple alpha smart dog, and hexagon symbol also leaf to symbolize of those science and nutrition.
Logo design for clinical research mobile app. Client wanted themes of science, mobile technology, research, rocket launch to be incorporate in hexagonal shape logo.
Modern iconic logo for a dermathology clinic
Modern iconic logo for a psoriasis clinic
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Arctic Fox Logo
This logo represents a research opportunity for undergraduate students to engage in geoscience research in Greenland. The colors of the logo represent the cold, remote environment of the Arctic, as well as the scientific exploration that takes place there. The image of the fox is meant to be both cute and fierce, representing the tenacity of the students who will take part in this program.
Logo designed for a research company. Simple, pleasant and bright.
Logo design for Laboratory for Perception Learning and Development
Smart conceptual for research lab in psychology and neuroscience.
Stanford AI Alignment
Stanford AI Alignment (SAIA) is a student group and research community at Stanford University. SAIA’s mission is to accelerate students into highly-impactful careers in AI safety, build the AI alignment community at Stanford, and do excellent research that makes transformative artificial intelligence go well.
Kitchen Sink Science
Simple and effective logo for sleep research organization
Effective logo with stars and wave graph to express about sleep research organization.
Modern logo for a company that targets scientists working at Japanese national institutes.
Science-themed logo for Race 4 Research 5K fundraiser
anthropology + dialogue
Logo simple owl for biotechnology company
From the requirements of the customer requires a completely different owl and with a focused alert appearance. With this requirement I created an owl from the intersecting circle, along with the squares and intersections of the 45 degree diagonal, an amazingly simple owl shape that would make it easy to reproduce later.
Global sales organizations with high hopes of double-digit growth. Research and consulting services to Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service leaders
Client want a logo which conveys a sense of prestige, professionalism, organisation and sincerity. The full name of the fund have to be clearly legible when scaled down. Also, graphical elements may Grandmaster Jim Fung's image, general Wing Chun imagery or general science / research related imagery at the designer's discretion.
Creative Logo For Laboratory
This project need a simple logo that have connection to a laboratory or research as its client. So I came with 2L from cells as 2 tubes idea.
logo for a premier research software startup targeted at academic researchers
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logo for a kidney stone research database at UCSF
research and detective logo
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Logo for a Cancer Therapeutics Company
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SueLutions-research&writing needs a new logo
Brain + Magnifying Class + Circuit
IRE is a team in Amazon. its name is short for 'AI Research & Education'. We're looking for a logo that matches the visual design language that Amazon commonly uses for its Amazon Web Services (you can get a good idea at aws.amazon.com and more artwork is included in the supplement).
cat research logo
I try to use iconic cat with magnifying glass in tail for marketing research company
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Create a modern logo for a subarctic research station in Yukon, Canada
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Logo design for vegan meat replacement food company. The contest owner wanted a minimal logo representing a seed that can be modulated into icons.
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Yarvie is a web-based system who is supporting scientists to commercialize their research discoveries. I make a symbol that contains the first letter of the company name, letter Y, but I tried not to put the focus on that letter first. The company is supporting scientists to commercialize their research discoveries the idea is to present togetherness, communication with users to guide them and direct communication and because of that three words, there are three connected shapes that are forming the final logo design. Also because the company is doing research this parts inside of the logo is looking like magnifying glasses and there are presenting that word in a best possible way.
Open Privacy Research Society
magnifying glass for "research" + fingerprint for "privacy and anonymity"
Logo concept for ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE company
I created this one for artificial intelligence company cum research laboratories . The client absolutely safisfactions for this logo because this logo adopt three letters that is IAI and the same time the meaning does't change if redirect the logo because company name is " INVERTED AI". I satisfy too working for this project.
A meaningful logo for a research project 'MEGA'
It is based on a molecule. The icon is a chemical molecule and the 'E' is shaped as a triple bond. The research project is mainly based on light and the main colors of light are red, green and blue so i used them in this design.
Research communiity logo.
Logo for a student group and research community at Stanford University (SAIA). Used a brain and AI technology together in a form of a tree.
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Abstract design of beaker & leaf
innovative science & research platform
Zork is a primarily web-based project that aims to increase public engagement with science and provide a place for researchers to recruit volunteers to participate in research, and a forum for anyone/everyone to discuss current scientific research/trends/issues. Modified the "O" to show about scientific related. The "O" show about Dipole Moment.
ZMBH is a top research institute. They need a new logo with DNA sign. Here i incorporate DNA sign into the logo.
Blueprintt Logo Design
Blueprintt is an established leading research and educational firm. The client wants a logo to be sophisticated and to make a brand with a modern edge. The idea behind this logo is to combine letters B and P, these letters are connected. The logo has a modern edge and it also has arrows at the letters, with that arrows I'm presenting word "direction" from the brief, because the client wanted to present direction/s somehow.
Abstract design of the world and the with a heart rate medical symbol attached.
Awesome Supplements is revolutionizing the supplement industry with its cutting-edge, scientifically-backed products that are designed to enhance athletic performance, boost energy, and improve overall health. This new to market company is shaking up the status quo with its innovative approach to wellness, which combines cutting-edge research, high-quality ingredients, and unique formulas to create truly awe-inspiring supplements.
Logo concept for ACAG
Logo concept for Atmospheric Composition Analysis Group
Abstract logo design for Nopmi
Intuition, Holistic, Insight, Nautilus, medical, healthcare, subtle energy, wellnes, integrative
Create a sophisticated & minimal design
The client wanted something handwritten that could be used for mulitiple products
Research Institution Logo
Heritage Tourism Research Project
We are a group of university teachers, researchers, and students from a variety of cultural heritage cities around the world. We will use the logo on a website whose purpose is to showcase heritage tourism to the public, sharing photos, videos, articles, research, etc. We envision it to be colorful and appealing.
Logo Design Concept for a Science Center
Research logos not a good fit? Try something else:
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What makes a good research logo?
A great logo shows the world what you stand for, makes people remember your brand, and helps potential customers understand if your product is right for them. Logos communicate all of that through color, shape and other design elements. Learn how to make your research logo tell your brand’s story.
Types of logos There are 7 different types of logos. They’re all a combination of image and typography, but each gives your brand a distinct feel... Keep reading
Logo colors Choosing the right logo colors can highlight your business’ strengths and help you attract the right customers... Keep reading
Logo shapes The shape of your logo can tell customers if your company is friendly or serious, scientific or artistic, traditional or cutting edge... Keep reading