Your logo is something akin to a flag on a ship, hoisted to let everyone know where and who you are. At IC Design, we often talk about the brand toolkit that supports the logo to create a complete brand platform, which always works to tell the unique story of a brand. But this post is referring to the logo as a potential standalone storytelling machine!
The logos that seem to last and reach into the hearts of the audience are often the ones that tell a story. Perhaps something that you don't notice at first but when you suddenly see it or you hear about it, makes you like the company (and their products / services) more. Logos that create a memorable connection and emotional impact are always going to be working harder than the ones that are 'just' attractive.
Here are a few of my favourite logo stories:
The Fortnum & Mason logo is made up of some classic styled text over a graphic version of their world famous clock which sits on their store, facing Piccadilly. It stars Mr Fortnum & Mr Mason who step out of the clock on the hour to bow at each other, Mr Mason is holding a candle stick, a nod to how the business got started (where Mr Mason would sell the half used candles from the royal palace, where he worked as a footman). At a glance the logo is pretty but once you know the story, you appreciate the heritage.
Toblerone - legendary Swiss chocolate in the iconic triangular shape. The logo features the Matterhorn mountain, a classic symbol of Switzerland – but inside the mountain is a bear, which is the emblem of the city Bern where the chocolate is made. Once you see the bear it becomes so obvious, but even if you don't it works really nicely as just a mountain.
The Cisco logo may just look like some data or sound bars and that's ok. But actually it is the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco which is where the business began. Once you know that, the name becomes completely obvious and simple - just like a great brand should be! The founders even decided on the name as they were driving and the bridge came into view on their way to Sacramento for registration of the company. It makes me smile that such large global companies were ones a small start-up and yes, I feel just a little closer to them for knowing their logo story.
Even text only logos can have a nice story, although they will always need explaining. The name IKEA originates from the founder’s initials Ingvar Kamprad; the first letter of his family farm Elmtaryd, and Agunnaryd, a small town in Småland in southern Sweden where he was born. Invar started out selling pens door to door - eventually creating the largest furniture retailer in the world, always under the IKEA brand. This is an inspiring story about entrepreneurship and innovation.
At IC Design (I couldn't pass on the opportunity to tell our logo story!) we make use of a marque and a logo. The icon in our logo is based on a diagram of an eye, whilst also containing the letters I and C. This is because everything we do is for the eye. Our work should always please the viewer and create a 'smile in the mind', otherwise it is simply not great design. Our cricket apple is our symbol for Infused Communication - which is our philosophy and helps explain what great communication should be.
By combining these two, the story we want to share with you is that your business can be anything you want it to be - use great design and awesome technology to transform and create the business of your dreams!