The message in a Logo
Let’s start with a definition: a logotype or logo is the minimum representation of a message. This means that it symbolizes something. This part is similar to any signal or sign. ! = Admiration or Surprise. ? = Question or Information. Arrow = Direction, Route or Path.
At some level of our conscious and subconscious minds, we have correlated images, shapes, and colors with certain concepts, meanings, and conventions. This means that a certain shape symbolizes or refers to an implicit agreement by the society in which it is created.
An example of this is the creation of the first image of the Red Cross. The First Geneva Convention in 1864 decided that a clear neutral sign was needed on the battlefield to protect medical staff and facilities. At that time, the ideology represented was mainly from Western countries; they thought that the exact inverse of the flag of a country known for his neutrality (Switzerland) adequately conveyed the message of neutrality (an implicit agreement) and humanitarian aid “We are here just to help without be part of the conflict”. Decades later it was a recognized as an emblem, but not yet used worldwide.
In Middle Eastern countries the Red Cross on a white background historically had a bad connotation. By 1929 there were three symbols or recognized logos: the Cross, the crescent moon and the Persian lion, all in red on white. In 1980 Persia discarded his old sign and adopted the image of the Red Crescent. During the 1990’s the representation of neutrality of both signs was questioned during certain conflicts. In 1992, the president of the ICRC publicly called for the creation of an additional emblem, devoid of any national, political or religious connotation, which resulted in the creation of the red crystal to symbolize humanitarian aid beyond other interests. Since 2005 the red crystal symbolizes neutrality and humanitarian aid, making clear the message of neutrality and help, providing protection to those working under these emblems. This symbol is on its way of being globally identifiable. For more details read https://www.icrc.org/eng/war-and-law/emblem/overview-emblem.htm
- What is the message expressed by your logo?
- Is your logo well-thought-out and directed to the right audience?
- Could your logo be misunderstood or misinterpreted?
These are some questions you should ask yourself about your logo to avoid misinterpretations and misunderstandings as well as preventing future expenses. In another post, we will offer you some simple tests and questions that can help you ensure that your logo sends the right message to your target audience.
“Accurate communication avoids problems”.
Héctor M. Cadena