by Michele Swetesich-Leon

When you offer up a formal introduction, you usually do so by providing your first and last name. It’s the first step in getting to know you, which is why the name of your business is so important. While the name that a business uses may not necessarily create an identity, you can do that by adopting a logo that instantly catches the attention of the consumer, whilst also making your brand more visible. The image used can incorporate the business name, and can be used in a variety of sizes and locations.

It’s always interesting to see how a logo will take hold, and if it will be able stand the test of time. How quickly will consumers identify the company by the logo. Will it remain relevant in a world where people are fickler and have a shorter attention span than ever before. These are questions that are impossible to answer until the company logo has been out in the public domain for a period of time. The fact is that there are logos that have become iconic simply because they have been around so long and have remained relatively unchanged in that time.

A company can achieve great success using a simple logo in place of a name that is not quite so memorable. One perfect example of this is what Hewlett Packard did with their logo, taking lowercase “hp” letters and encasing them in a simple circle. You will rarely if ever hear anyone use the Hewlett Packard name in full anymore, as most people now simply refer to the computer giants as hp. While their logo may have been simple, it has become the symbol for inventiveness in the industry. The “hp” logo is one that definitely stands the test of time, and even though it has undergone some subtle little tweaks over the years, it is still one that most people know whenever they see it. Given that the logo is so straightforward, it can be easily changed to coincide with a product launch or new invention from the company, although it is always the “hp” lettering that shines through.

There are other instances where the company name so well shows off quality and luxury that a logo becomes almost unnecessary, although that does not mean that no branding is involved. Tiffany & Co. are THE name in the world of luxury, and they are recognized by the color of their boxes, which is a hue known as Pantone 1837.

It is often the simplest logos that become the most iconic. For example, see a pair of golden arches while you are driving and you instantly know that you are about to arrive at a McDonalds. See a laptop that shows an apple with a bite out of it and you know it’s a Mac rather than a PC. There are subtle changes that can be made to the size and appearance of these logos that do little to affect our recognition of them. These logos trigger our emotions and make us feel a certain way when we see them, which is exactly what the company that owns them wants.

You know a logo is serving its purpose when it can still be recognized when it is partially obscured. You don’t need to see both golden arches to know that the bright red and yellow sign is for a McDonald’s. Companies will now sometimes intentionally use this obscuring method when advertising, often when they are testing a new product that is about to hit the market.

Not all great business success stories have a great logo attached to them, as it is the product that they sell which drives their business. A perfect example of this is Starbucks, which may well be the most successful coffee chain in the world, but which has a busy logo that is hard to define until you are right on top of it. Starbucks have made their mermaid logo a little easier on the eyes during their 4 decades in business, but still have a way to go in that regard. Your logo is important, but as the Starbucks model shows, it is not the only way to create a success story.