Why we love logos

Logos are the symbols of our times.

They resonate with meaning and understanding while telegraphing social class and tribal colors. They’re transnational symbols of everything we hold dear.

Change an established logo at your peril. The backlash when a brand launches a new logo is usually brutal. Especially if it incorporates a completely new design.

Shock, outrage and disgust are quickly followed by loud calls to return to the original design. The uproar against Gap when they introduced a new logo was so big they were forced to change it back. Who really cares about the Gap logo? We all do.

It’s not really about the design of a logo. It never is. It’s always been about what a logo represents.

Logos are a shortcut to memories. Take away the logo, and you remove the connection to all of those moments you associate with that brand.

New logos hold no memories and therefore no meaning. And takes away the thing that did. It’s like being slapped in the face. Twice.

People want certainty. Especially in uncertain times. Nothing like a global pandemic, social media destabilization and the likelihood of world war three (with bonus nuclear weapons) to see everyone pining for the good old days.

If you’re working on a new logo for an old brand, look for the memory structures built over the years. Look for the long-held positive associations with the brand. Look for implicit meaning.

The job of a logo is to be a shortcut to your brand’s values, capturing neatly what you stand for and what makes you different. Design a logo that moves your brand forward while strengthening memory structures.

Set off positive chemical reactions in our brains to produce pleasant feelings. Let the dopamine flow. Trigger positive rewards in the palladium, posterior cingulate and frontal cortex.

Be less obsessed about what a logo looks like and more in tune with how it makes us feel.

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