Sometimes It Pays to Know Your Logos

By Mash Bonigala

Logo of Target, US-based retail chain

Image via Wikipedia

We aren’t normally game show catchers around here, but we are complete design nerds. It didn’t take long before our inbox was flooded with emails informing us that a logo design question was featured on popular game show Million Dollar Money Drop. The logo featured was that of consumer good giant Target.

You probably see the Target logo design every day whether you consciously register it or not. However, see if you can answer the question yourself: how many circles are in the image? The answer is a little tricky: one. Although the logo is comprised of a bull’s eye, it technically has only one circle. It is technically a large red circle with a white ring placed inside.

How many people would have answered this question correctly? Our first thought upon hearing the question was: how do you define a circle? The outer ring is technically just that: a ring. Therefore, whether you the design as a red circle with a white ring inside or a red circle with a red ring outside, the answer is still the same.

Corporate logos are a huge part of modern American existence. We already mentioned that you encounter the Target logo on a daily basis, and you actually might see it far more than that. The bull’s eye can suggest a variety of things: that Target is “on target”, that this is the store you are aiming for, or even the sport of archery. Regardless of how you interpret the symbol, it is registered in your subconscious brain along with any other suggestions made in the store’s marketing.

Is your business brand getting the same recognition value? What are you saying to your audience? These questions form the basis of modern logo design. A professional logo designer understands what different shapes, colors, and images ‘say’ to modern consumers and develop their logos accordingly. Recognition factor (such as that seen in the Target logo) is not a secondary factor, but a primary one that is considered throughout the design process.

In addition, Target has created a brand that can is as appropriate and recognizable as the logo. The bull’s eye and the Target colors are part of the entire shopping experience.

Can professional logo design and good branding create a successful business? We don’t think so. The Target corporation has made good business decisions and encountered several lucky breaks in their path to success. Target’s logo design is not singlehandedly responsible for the corporation’s success, but we doubt Target would be the subject of game show questions if not for this familiar image.

On an interesting side note, this logo does not include Target’s name. We don’t know when this happened; obviously the loss of the Target name happened with less outcry than the current change in the Starbucks logo, which is also dropping the coffee house’s well-known name. However, we still recognize the red bull’s eye as a symbol of the retail giant. This suggests that Starbucks may have similar success if their siren is indeed as catchy as a (single) red circle.