What does your brand look like?
How would a toddler view your brand? Is it easy to understand, is it associated with another brand, or is it most recognizable for its colors or function? Through the eyes of a toddler, it is easy to see how a brand is represented in simple terms.
Pause to consider your own brand logo, whether you created it yourself, hired a professional, used a template or if you are not the boss, consider what impression your logo gives to consumers and other businesses. The above video by Cincinnati’s Adam Ladd takes a simple look at brandmarks, revealing not only how a parent’s influence on preferred brands can shape children and ultimately their loyalties and brand preferences, but what children (and of course adult consumers) think when they see a logo.
We were fascinated that the child saw three separate logos and called them all cheetahs, and saw Starbucks and Panera as coffee logos. Now imagine an adult is seeing your logo for the first time, will they understand it? Is it a marble? Is it a baby toy? Is your logo minimalist enough to understand at first glance yet complex enough to be more than a marble?
The best explanation of this theory in all design (not just logos) is from Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics which explains how concepts are visually depicted. Below are three faces, the first is a specific person, and through less complex graphical detail, it becomes the idea or concept of a person.
Visual representation of brands
Now, consider a brand logo as represented below:
Some details are required, but too many make a logo, icon or visual representation, while too few make a concept too general and can even change the context of the concept, like above, a house becomes an arrow. It must be recognizable. Does a real estate company need to have a house in their logo? No. Does a clothing store need to have a shirt as a logo? No. Does a farmer’s market need a carrot in their logo? No.
But when brands do offer visual representation in their logo, if a five year old can understand it, and the detail is somewhere between detailed and vague, the brand message is visually communicated effectively.