Since logo creation is a key part of a brand identity, and brand owners are eager to convey meaning, they often assume their logo must explain their brand story.
Which is a mistake.
Understandable but avoidable. Creating (or re-creating) a brand identity means orchestrating name, mark, logotype, color palette, elevator speech, website look and feel, tone of voice, tagline, auditory signature and a dozen other elements. If you’re a retailer, even smell is crucial. Nothing is trivial; all the parts must contribute.
It’s also true that a brand does not and cannot depend on any single instrument to play that symphony, solo. The logo (or name) that explains too much, for example, usually results in industrial-strength “that’s boring, Captain Obvious.”
When you answer all the questions, you provoke none.
Branding must create a dialog to engage prospects, so provoking questions is a stimulus, while answering questions is a sermon. Yawn.
It’s obviously true of naming that we ignore the predictable and ordinary. Call it the “Pinnacle Dry Cleaners” mistake. (“We’re the best. We’re dry cleaners. Hey. Why are you ignoring us?”)
What’s true of names is true of logo design. We filter out the clichés and the forgettable. 99% of pizza delivery boxes communicate nothing memorable about the brand. There’s also memorably ugly, of course, as in Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps or the Waffle House.
Here’s the test: Think of ten logos you admire. (Mentally separate name from logo as each makes a contribution to meaning, and focus just on the logotype/mark.) How much “meaning” comes from the mark? Is it obvious at first glance, or subtle?
I’m betting at least 8 of your 10 are in the “subtle” category. What was your score?