Case in point: some ads, such as this one by the grocery chain Food City, don’t feature a single spoken word, and yet the message comes across powerfully:
What were viewers to learn about Food City’s brand during this minute of powerful storytelling? The company wants to appeal to a multi-generational, but not too ethnically diverse demographic; also, the company celebrates family, traditions, patriotism, and military service. And, as a side note, as viewers we were supposed to infer that this family celebration wouldn’t be complete without the cornucopia of food, presumably obtained at Food City.
When a company is just getting its start, its marketing budget may not support producing such a high scale commercial ad to communicate its brand story. However, a company’s non-verbal brand communication strategy can and should be started on a much smaller scale. In fact, a brand story starts to be told with just one single graphic: a logo.
Dissecting a Logo: Three Key Visual Communicators
Three key elements comprise a company’s logo: color, shape, and form. Let’s explore what each option within these three key visual elements actually say about a company’s brand.
Almost nothing elicits more of an emotional response and conveys a brand’s values quicker than color. Here are the values each color suggests:
Red – High energy, passion, aggression
Orange – Friendliness, productivity, confidence
Yellow – Gregariousness, optimism, vibrancy
Green – Nature, neutrality, peace
Blue – Dependability, trustworthiness, strength
Purple – Wisdom, prestige, mystery
Pink – Femininity, youth, resilience
Brown – Earthiness, groundedness, security
Black – Luxury, tradition, simplicity
White – Purity, innocence, cleanliness
Just like color, the eye interprets subtle messaging from a symbol’s shape.
Lines – Vertical lines, like pillars, indicate strength and suggest masculinity. Curved lines skew feminine. Horizontal lines, however, come across as neutral and calm.
Squares and Rectangles – The straight lines of a square suggest stability and tradition.
Triangles – Triangles have long been used in “institutions” like medicine, law, and religion; they suggest power and science.
Circles and Ellipses – Round shapes suggest inclusivity, family, partnership, endurance.
Fonts play a dual role as they communicate through both the use of shape and the actual written message. Nearly 41% of companies opt for their logos to be created using a font only. Here is what those fonts communicate:
Serif – Tradition, dependability, trustworthiness
Sans Serif – Modernity, freshness, cleanliness
Angular – Masculinity, aggression
Rounded – Femininity, youth
Cursive/Handwritten – Old fashioned, casual, family
As companies grow, the values they wish to communicate may change. Also, if a company’s previous logo was created according to a fad design trend of the day, it can become outdated rather quickly. In either of these instances, a company should consider a logo refresh in order to make sure it continues to communicate accurately with potential consumers and clients.
So, what brand story does your logo tell?