In the world of design, it is increasingly important to have a strong brand image that has personality. It is therefore natural for many companies to invest large sums in the design of their brand image. To justify these large expenses, it is common for the logo to be accompanied by an explanation that is often complex and rich in meaning. This can have the effect of selling the logo better. It also allows readers (those who see the logo) to better understand it.
It is common to have a very simple looking logo that is accompanied with a big, complex explanation and which, at times, seems a little bit far-fetched. All of this may sound good in front of a corporate board, but is it really relevant to the general public? Does a logo really need to be supported by an explanation three paragraphs long? Let's explore what a logo is before we come to a conclusion.
To properly judge whether long explanations of logos are relevant, one must begin by understanding the basis of what a logo is and what its main role is in the brand image.
Basically, the logo is made up of one or more graphic elements. These elements will then be associated with an entity, allowing recognition of the entity. The primary function of a logo is therefore to identify. Whether it is related to a product, person, company, or organization, it is primarily used to identify. Therefore, it will often be put at the heart of a brand image because it is usually this element that has the strongest connection with the entity.
Now that we have defined what a logo is and its main role, we are entitled to ask the following question: does my logo need to be supported by an explanation or is it sufficient by itself?
First, it is important to understand that without an explicit link of the logo-entity connection, the logo itself cannot fulfill its primary function. The logo alone is just a collection of graphic elements. It is also important to understand that the logo is nothing if there is no one to interpret it. This may seem obvious, but it is still important to consider. We can therefore conclude that there are 3 basic elements for a logo to work. There needs to be a collection of graphic elements that will serve as a logo (illustration, sign, word, etc.), an entity to represent (a company, a product, a person, etc.) and a reader who will interpret the logo and who will normally make the connection between the entity, the logo, and the brand.
Based on this, one should consider that it is the reader who makes the connection between the entity and the logo. It is also normal to consider that this link is independent of the given meaning of the logo. If you create a logo that has absolutely nothing to do with its entity but you present the logo with the entity and make the connection very clear, the logo will fulfill its function. In fact, companies have created logos that have no direct connection to the company and without any complex explanation. Yet, readers associate the logo with the company very well. On the other hand, there have been times when designers have written very complex explanations to justify their logos, but in the end, readers didn’t see the connection. In short, it is therefore not absolutely necessary to have logos that have no direct relationship with the company.
Knowing the previous fact, we see that in the end the effectiveness of the logo depends on the reader’s ability to effectively interpret. If they are unable to make the connection between the entity and logo, the brand image will be ineffective. So, it is not crazy to assume that it is possible to create an effective logo that visually has no direct link with the entity to be represented and which does not have the support of an explanation. To do this, it is essential to tell the reader which entity the logo is connected to. Thus, the link is clear at the base, the connection can be made, regardless of the composition of the logo. This kind of branding has already emerged, and some have been effective. On the other hand, there have been times when designers have written very complex explanations to justify their logos and, in the end, the logo has not been effective as the connection was not clear enough. There is no justification for excluding the option of considering logos that have no direct visual and semantic connection to the entity.
Considering that it is not necessary to create a logo that has meaning, one wonders why so many companies and organizations are keen on having a logo supported by explanations. It must be understood that even if a logo can live without explanations or direct graphic links, it is still interesting and relevant to have a logo that links the field of activity to the visual. Whether obviously or through subtle references, creating this link makes it easier for the reader to interpret the link between the logo and the entity. So, if a logo is created with a link to the sea to represent a fishmonger, it is natural that the reader makes the association and can recognize that fishmonger more easily than if he had a logo unrelated to his field of activity.
Simply put, I think it is interesting and important to understand that logos can be profoundly meaningless and that you can create a link without having complex explanations. Preferably, create and maintain a connection between the logo and the entity that allows the reader to recognize the connection more easily and quickly.