Symbols are pictures that tell a story. In the long history of mankind, many experts have noted that man has long been fascinated with symbols to communicate messages. We may not be in the time of Egyptian hieroglyphics and other cave drawings but symbols still have a huge role to play when it comes to logos.
A logo is a visual representation of a business or an advocacy group. Many designers use symbols as a way to provide an edge in their logo designs. Symbols are easily identifiable. It can also shape the perception of people about a brand.
The Impact of Symbols
The aim of a logo is to create an identity for a business or a group. It should also communicate its most valued ideals and objectives. In a fast paced world where information moves at the speed of light, people usually get to know companies and groups first with the help of their logos.
This is where symbols are essential. Symbols can appeal to various perceptions of people including imagination and desire. They can easily associate a business with positive qualities such as trust, honesty and reliability.
On the other hand, logo symbols are also open to misinterpretations. When done incorrectly, a symbol in a logo can make a client look laughable or incompetent.
Guidelines in Using Symbols for Logo Design
Symbols can evoke a perception or tell a narrative with just the mere sight of it. Before a logo should use a symbol, it must be carefully researched to make sure it conveys clear and accurate representations. Great examples can be seen in religious symbols.
The client should determine what the message the symbol of a logo should represent. The designer should focus on maintaining clarity in communicating the message. The design should not lose its meaning with an incoherent and indecisive treatment. It is up to the designer to flawlessly execute the vision of the client. Here is a client project where we used abstract symbols.
- Difference in Culture
If a logo will be used for a global campaign, it should have no problem with multiple interpretations from various cultures. Different cultures assign different meanings to symbols. A logo with sights on international conquest should subject it to multiple perspectives.
This is also true for conflicts of interest. A symbol in a logo should not represent opposite ideas that can cause friction. Coherence and a unified message should be the goal of logo design with symbols.
- Interaction of the Symbol
All symbols can have a life of their own. The intent of a designer for the meaning of a symbol may change when viewed by different types of people. It is important in logo design that a symbol must strike a balance between creative interpretation and abstraction. Rallying and unifying symbols are common in the army.
Excellent Case Studies of Symbols
Before submitting a logo design, check the examples and lessons of successful logo symbols. Learn the factors that made these logos a hit:
- Nike’s Swoosh logo exudes a sense of movement and speed that is important in sports activities.
- Batman’s Bat logo inspires a dark and mysterious tone akin to the personality of the Dark Knight.
- The Playboy Bunny has an innocent yet playful vibe to it and its bowtie accessory gives it an appeal for gentlemen.
- McDonald’s Golden Arches emulates the welcoming atmosphere of a passage arch for good fortune. Its bright yellow colors also appeal to one’s appetite.
- Microsoft’s Windows logo may be a literal symbol but it evokes virtues of connectivity and transparency. It also has a flag symbol for victory and loyalty.
- The Clover symbol of the Girl Scouts denotes three profiles for female profiles: womanhood, equality and holy trinity.
Deciding on Symbols
The use of symbols is just one of many strategies for logo creation. But symbols are the ones that are most open to creative interpretation because it does not rely on words. A successful logo symbol can become the foundation of a business or company for years. Creativity goes a long way in making this possible.
Rallying and Unifying Symbols
Military logos are different in each part of the world. Some are very ornate while others are quite simple. One thing they all have in common, though, is their representation of their country or organization. Each logo has a multitude of symbols that characterize the kind of people who use them. For a logo to be effective, it must fulfill this purpose. If it fails to properly represent the country or organization that uses it, then it fails as a logo. A military logo also stands as a rallying or unifying symbol.
All around the world, one vital part of every government is their military. They stand as the country’s defense against war and other threats. A military’s logo is a source of pride and marks them as their country’s protectors. Here are some of military logos some countries use and how their symbols represent the soldiers themselves or the people they are protecting:
1 The US Army flag is riddled with many symbols. The central image is a Roman cuirass, which represents strength and defense. There are also various weapons on the flag – like the sword, bayonet, musket and cannons – that symbolizes the Army implements. As the seal of the Department of the Army, the logo has many colors. But, for the Army’s flag, only the color blue is used for the logo. The color blue is symbolic of perseverance, truth, loyalty and vigilance. All these traits are held in high esteem in the US Army.
2 The Canadian military’s logo is quite simple and yet invokes a lot of things. The maple leaf in the center is the ultimate symbol for all things Canadian and represents the ideals of its military as well as the country it is fighting for. The maple leaf celebrates Canada’s rich natural treasures. It is this beautiful environment that the Canadian military and people wish to preserve. It is their pride and a source of their national identity.
3 The German military uses a simple cross as its logo, depicting minimalism and utilitarianism. Both adjectives describe the German military quite well. The Bundeswehr, or the Federal Defense Force, also made use of the cross to reference the Iron Cross. This particular symbol had been a military wartime decoration since 1813 and can be seen althroughout the history of the German military. Unlike many other military logos that depict swords or guns, the Iron Cross aims to reinforce the Bundeswehr’s role as a purely defensive force. In fact, before 1990, it was only active in disaster control.
4 France’s Army has arguably the most modern logo of the bunch. It makes use of the colors of their national flag quite unconventionally, utilizing a sword to represent the white color. The sword itself is depicted is a graphical way, giving the logo a modern twist. This endeavor for modernization is also mirrored in the equipment and uniform of the French Army. Behind the flag and sword is a simplified version of the globe, another graphic and unconventional image for a country’s army logo.
5 If the French are striving for a futuristic feel, the UK military’s logo does the opposite. Being known for maintaining tradition and history, it’s no wonder why their military’s logo would depict a lion and a crown. The lion has been used over the centuries as a symbol of bravery and royalty. The UK is known for its many kingdoms and sovereigns. Many coats or arms utilize the lion. The crown symbolizes the royal family and alludes to the monarchial traditions of the UK.
6 The Japanese Imperial Army uses a very stunning logo for their flag. The Rising Sun Flag is simple a red circle with red rays emanating from it. The design comes from Japan’s title as the “Land of the Rising Sun”. Its daring colors showcase the aggressive and bold nature of the Japanese Army.
7 The People’s Liberation Army, the Chinese Armed Forces, has a very interesting logo. The symbol within the star literally means August 1. The Red Army of China was founded on August 1, 1927 with the occurrence of the Nanchang rebellion in China. The red and gold colors are also very important in Chinese culture. Red symbolizes good luck while gold or yellow was the color of Imperial China. It can be said that the logo of the PLA takes its roots from history and tradition as well. Both things held very sacred in Chinese culture.