What do you see when you see a square? A circle? A cross? Do the corners of a square affect you the same ways as the jagged edges of a triangle? In addition to the other golden rules of designing memorable logos, shapes have an important role to play in effective logo designing as well. Designers know that each shape communicates a different message to audiences. They also know that shapes do more than ensure perfect symmetry and balance in designs – they tell stories.
According to Su Matthews Hale, senior partner at design firm Lippincott, “A company’s logo is shorthand, a visual clue that tells a story of the brand’s culture, behavior and values.” In this way, a combination of shapes can project corporate visions better than any marketing material.
However, using different shapes to design a logo that only has seconds to tell its story can sometimes be the most challenging aspect of branding. How effective these ‘stories’ are depends on how creatively brands use geometrical shapes in logo design – something that they can only do if they know how the mind associates itself with these shapes.
Some of the most iconic brands have circles in their logos. The Olympic logo is comprised of nothing but circles, all of which represent different regions across the globe. NASA’s former ‘meatball’ design displays a sphere that “represents a planet.” Virgin Express effectively uses the trajectory of airplane in flight as a circle.
When you look at a triangle, how do the harsh jagged points seems to you? It seems like an arrow, doesn’t it? With this in mind, a triangle can also signify progression if it is pointed upward or direction if it points to the right.
Some brands have taken notice of these perceptions and used the shape to deliver their messages. Take FedEx’s award winning design as an example. Notice how the letters ‘E’ and ‘x’ come together to form an arrow. A clever use of negative space makes the arrow stand out while subliminally referring to FedEx’s specially as a courier delivery service.
Like stories, logos are capable of communicate messages on a variety of levels as do geometric shapes. By using shapes in logo design, brands can project their messages on a subliminal level – a fact that can come in handy when it comes to delivering the right message to the right audience.