In Praise of Mr. Peanut

October 1998


In Praise of Mr. Peanut

An effective logo is simple but has recognizable elements in it – a top hat, monocle and cane, for instance

In projecting a company's identity, a logo is worth a thousand words. For big corporations, it also can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars – the price they sometimes pay for an attractive and memorable corporate or brand symbol.

No wonder many companies are asking what works and what doesn't in logo-land.

Consumer research is providing some answers. First, logos should be somewhat representational but not photographic, one study suggests. In a survey cited in The Wall Street Journal, the Jolly Green Giant fared poorly with respondents – it's too literal, with every leaf on the giant's toga and head depicted in detail, one researcher said. The giant works well on packaging but is too complicated to serve as shorthand for the brand. The same is true of the Indian maiden who represents Land-O-Lakes butter.

The more simply drawn Mr. Peanut, on the other hand, scored well.

But logos should have some detail and some recognizable element that suggests if not an actual product or service, then some abstract concept with which the company wants to be identified. The Nike "swoosh" is a good example of this, its upward sweep suggesting rapid movement.

A recent article in Dynamic Graphicsmagazine also offers tips on logo design:

  • Two-color logos look modern but a logo also should reproduce effectively in black and white.
  • A logo should look good large or small (imagine it on a pen and on a billboard).
  • If your store name consists of initials, spell the name out in your logo. If the name is too long to fit in one line, stack the words on top of each other.
  • Thin typefaces are hard to read from a distance.
  • Logos made of pieces – type and art – that can be used separately are more versatile than those that must always be used in their entirety.
  • Symbols or pictures should relate to your company, not your own personal tastes or interests. (One don't-let-this-happen-to-you logo shown in Dynamic Graphics incorporated a setting sun and sea gulls. The sun was OK – the company's name had the word "horizon" in its name – but the sea gulls were there because the company owner liked the beach.)
  • The graphic style of the logo should jibe with your store's identity. A store that wants to perceived as a fashion leader, carrying all the hottest designers, needs a different look than one specializing in basic gold merchandise, engagement diamonds or vintage pieces.




Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


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