Ah logos and brands: you simply can't have one without the other. A strong logo is critical to strong branding, and you can't have strong branding without a strong logo. But before diving further into this paramount partnership, there's one more piece of the puzzle that needs to be addressed: brand identity. You see, when it comes to creating a successful business, your identity is the foundation that holds everything together. Brands can be thought of as the complete emotional and intellectual image of a company. Brands encompass the feelings that consumers learn to associate with a company. These physical and emotional feelings are triggered by the company name, logo, and visual identity. A company's identity encompasses all of the visual aspects that contribute to the brand. These include color schemes, fonts, products, packaging, and most importantly, logos. Logos are recognizable and distinct symbols, which identify an organization. They are the visual cues, which can spark the emotional and physical responses related to the brand. In essence, logo designs are the foundation of a company's brand and an integral part of visual identity. Some of the best logo designs can effectively launch a brand into global stardom.
The Siren Example
Take, for example, the wildly successful Starbucks siren. Originally selected for the company's seafaring roots-the name Starbuck hails from Moby Dick and Seattle is a major port city-the infamous siren logo has evolved right alongside the brand, which is now a global powerhouse with more than 20,000 stores worldwide and a market value of $77.87 billion. (Image taken from Logo Design Love.) With its most recent rebranding scheme, the Starbucks' creative team no longer feels the need for the company name, or the word "coffee," to be a part of its logo. For this billion-dollar biz, the siren is enough. "She is not a real person, but we kind of think of her as one. She's the biggest symbol of our brand, really, other than our partners [employees]. She's the face of it," says Steve Murray, creative director for Starbucks, on the company's blog. And with more than $21 billion in sales for 2016, it's clear that she's working.
The Starbucks Company is a stunning example of what a universally strong logo can do for the global success of a brand. But remember, the logo is just one piece of a company's identity. In order to stake a claim in today's massive marketplace, companies have to digitally brand themselves. This starts by incorporating logos into web design. We are living in an age of information overload-a cold-hard truth that's unlikely to change anytime soon. As a result, quick, clear dissemination of information is now crucial to a brand's success in the digital marketplace. Digital branding is, therefore, dependent on the use of impactful images-images which identify, but don't explain; images which allow a lifetime of memories and experiences to flood the mind in a matter of milliseconds; images which are interactive and have the ability to bring a brand to life on the screen. Logos are these images. Incorporating logos into web design has thus become an integral part of global branding. Well-executed logos should invoke a sense of trust and loyalty in the company, and the best designs around the globe are the ones dialing in on this. Take, for example, Apple, Coca-cola, and Microsoft. These powerhouse brands all have a firm handle on logo-integrated web design. In fact, more often than not, logos for these companies function as the home button for the site. So essentially what you have here are the same logos, which invoke feelings of trust and security in a company, now being used to invoke similar functions and feelings on the web. [gallery ids="25527,25528,25529"]
Clearly, we have proven that we are a digital society. But we're also mobile. In 2016, worldwide mobile Internet usage surpassed desktop usage for the first time in history. Since then, mobile usage has continued its climb .(Image taken from independent analytics company StatCounter.) But what's driving the dramatic rise in mobile use? Interactivity. As digital media consumption continues to grow, so do the demands and needs of consumers. Consumers want interactive experiences that engage them and make data come to life on the screen. To briefly recap: effective logos identify brands, but they don't explain. The logo is simply the "touch face"-the visual cue-which triggers brand-related memories and experiences for the consumer. Well, it's this "touch face" element that has been instrumental in the advent of mobile apps. And the best app designs are the ones bringing brands to life on the screens of billions of consumers. In a lot of ways, global branding strategies have become quite simple: logos are the building blocks of a successful user interface and the launch pad for building a successful digital brand.
Putting it all together
So, where exactly does all of this leave us? In short, we are a global economy on the move, and there's no hint of slowing down anytime soon. Without effective web and mobile app design platforms, businesses are inevitably lost in a sea of powerhouse competitors. Truth be told, establishing a strong online presence is paramount to establishing your brand. But establishing an online presence and building a successful brand requires, first, a strong foundation of visual identity. The first step in establishing that identity?-an effective logo design.
About the Author
Gabriel Shaoolian is a digital trends expert and Managing Director and founder of Blue Fountain Media, a full service digital agency focused on growing brands online.