In this article on the symbolism in logo design I explain what a logo means to me. Daily, we are inundated with logos and we notice most of them unconscious. Therefore, for you a logo might be just a logo, but for me logo is a LOGO. Something special, something sacred, something magical. I’ll tell you why.
Logos are usually formed by an image, icon, or symbol, whether or not in combination with a word or brand name. A logo is not designed to explain something. It should ensure the brand is being recognized and that it becomes memorable. Through the targeted use of a logo (which is called ‘branding’) the imago of a brand which we have formed in our minds, could be enforced or modified. In fact, a logo is a product, service or organization in its simplest form. So far marketing language.
What does Wikipedia write about logos? “A logo (abbreviation of logotype, from Greek: λόγος logos “word” and τύπος typos “imprint”) is a graphic mark, emblem, or symbol commonly used by commercial enterprises, organizations and even individuals to aid and promote instant public recognition. Logos are either purely graphic (symbols/icons) or are composed of the name of the organization (a logotype or wordmark). Logos is an important term in western philosophy, psychology, rhetoric, and religion. It is a Greek word meaning “a ground”, “a plea”, “an opinion”, “an expectation”, “word”, “speech”, “account”, “to reason”, but it became a technical term in philosophy beginning with Heraclitus (ca. 535–475 BC), who used the term for a principle of order and knowledge.”
In this last sentence, therein lies the rub. The often hidden symbolism in logo design eludes most people completely. Only when you know where you should look at, you can’t imagine that you never noticed before. The designers of these logos have always a purpose with this symbolism and thus give their logos (and the brand) extra layers which will be picked up by your subconscious. Which in return creates a particular desired effect.
A logo is an ‘image’. This English word is like the word ‘magic’ derived from the ‘magi’, the wise men who came from the East, described in the book of Matthew 2: 1-12. A logo is an enchanting picture, full of wisdom, which activates your “imagination”. In other words; which makes your subconscious travel to ‘Image Nation’, or ‘Fantasy Land’.
In the Holy Scriptures, is there something else written about logos or this so-called ‘word’? Indeed; the Gospel of John opens with “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” And again in verse 14 we read: “And the Word became flesh.” So there’s something that was being formed, through speaking perhaps? Also in Hinduism and Buddhism, we read in the Rigveda a Sanskrit word which we can not ignore; the ‘Aum’ or ‘Om’. For the creation was a void and the all-encompassing consciousness manifested itself in the sound ‘Aum’, the primordial sound which vibrates throughout the entire universe.
If we look at nature, we see that all energy manifests itself in the form of vibration. Energy is electromagnetic vibration (waveforms, frequencies) that we observe in different forms on Earth. Don’t think of it as light and sound, but also as all solid, liquid and gas forms. Besides, is it coincidence that the unit of electrical resistance was named to the German mathematician and physicist Georg Simon Ohm? Speak the following sounds fluently and finish with an elongated mmmmmm…(the ‘m’ sound is a wave form… like water…. mare/maritime!
– à (as in path)
– aa (as in Java)
– è (as in have)
– ee (as in bay)
– i (as in stick)
– ò (as in loft)
– oo (as in over)
– u (as in you)
Now we’re at the origin and meaning of words, it is quite interesting that we come across words which have to do with ‘logo’, ‘magi’ and ‘vibration’:
– Verb (derived from ‘vibration’)
– To write (derived from ‘rite’, a magic or religious ritual)
– To spell (derived from ‘to cast a spell’)
– Grammar (derived from “grimoire”, a magical book)
Logos/words have so much more power than you ever imagined. Therefore, writing, spelling and grammar are powerful tools with which you can influence the thinking and actions of people, like a magician. This also applies to the design of numbers and symbols that you thought you knew the meaning of. They are not static, passive images. Vibration affects vibration, positive and negative. Logos are alive, in the sense that they have a certain spiritual essence, a certain idea of creative thinking, they have an energy in itself which can generate a desired effect in the physical world. You only see this if you deliberately open your mind for it.
Let’s analyze the ‘logo’ again:
– Logo is the Word;
– The Word consists of several letters;
– Letters are geometric shapes that are formed by various lines and/or curved arcs.
When we compose and arrange lines and arcs carefully and with positivity energy, we cause something on our sketch block or screen if it were a new ‘vibration’), we create a harmonious shape that looks natural: the LOGO.