Branding Concepts: Corporate Ideals

A. Michael Shumate

A. Michael Shumate

Instead of showing what a company does, these identities visualize something about the qualities or ideals to which the company aspires. These can be ideals such as “superiority,” “strength,” “speed,” or “accuracy.”

The important thing to remember is that these ideals may not be obvious to the public when viewing the logo but can act subliminally. People don’t have to say, “Gee that makes me think of protection and someone taking care of me.” But a logo that has a band around something may communicate that on an unconscious level.

Occasionally a double entendre will occur with an identity communicating more than one thing. Those times are serendipitous, but trying to force together multiple concepts can ruin an identity. Doing one thing well is always better than doing two things poorly.

Harris Bank uses a lion, “king of the jungle,” for superiority or leadership. Merrill Lynch stockbrokers’ logo is a stylized bull; a bull market is a prosperous, growing market, an appropriate ideal for a stock brokerage. The Prudential insurance logo is the Rock of Gibraltar, a symbol of permanence; their company slogan is, “As steady as the Rock of Gibraltar.” Other ideals might be “love,” “softness,” “speed” or “fun.”
Corporate ideals monograms. A shield can communicate strength or protection; arrows can show action; slanting letters can demonstrate speed. Can you see the skinny B inside the fat B? Other ideals shown here are movement, tranquility, friendship, healing, and new beginnings.
Corporate ideals wordmarks. Round edges can convey “safe for children”; odd shapes can say “fun”; straight horizontal lines can show motion.

Adapted from Logo Design Theory: How Branding Design Really Works

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