Branding Concepts: Corporate Name

A. Michael Shumate

A. Michael Shumate

These identities do not show either corporate activity or ideals, but the name of the company itself. This approach will work only with certain corporate names.

Wendy’s hamburger restaurants do not serve burgers made from little girls, nor does a little girl represent a particular ideal for the company. Instead, the Wendy’s logo represents the company’s namesake, the daughter of founder Dave Thomas. Petroleum does not come from decomposed sea shells, but Shell Oil’s logo is a shell, representing its name. The corporate logo of Apple, the largest technology company in the world, is an apple, which has nothing to do with either computers or an ideal. Greyhound bus lines, John Deere farm machinery and Whirlpool appliances all use identities visualizing the corporate name directly. Of course, the very shapes of these designs must also be harmonious with corporate ideals and goals, but the logo comes primarily from the name.

Interestingly, there are few situations where the initials of a company’s functional name can be shown. Visually representing a name in combination with a monogram should be no harder than other concept/component combinations, but for some reason, good examples of monograms that show the corporate name seem to be more rare than other combinations.

Even though a logo or wordmark showing the corporate name isn’t meant to show ideals of the company directly, the style of drawing needs to be compatible with corporate ideals. The greyhound isn’t sitting, but running, which is appropriate for a company that aspires to move people quickly. The apple logo is drawn with precision, not haphazardly or casually, fitting for a company that makes technology products and solutions.

These logos generally do not depict the activity or the ideals of their companies, but rather the company name alone.
These monograms do not tell what the company does or what its ideals are, but illustrate something about the corporate name itself.
These wordmarks all show or describe the corporate name in some way.

Adapted from Logo Design Theory: How Branding Design Really Works

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