Chapter 5Making Logos and Marks

The logo or trademark is the cornerstone of graphic identity (not to be confused with “branding,” which is the entire process of creating an identity). The logo is the mark that reduces all business attributes into a recognizable sign. The reason for developing a particular mark is often based on research into a company's mission and the synthesis of its ideals into a symbol or brand. The mark itself might be so abstract that no obvious connection can be made, but, simply, the imposed relationship between it and the company imbues it with meaning.

The logo is usually the most charged design element of a company, sometimes inviolate, other times mutable, depending on the client's faith in the mark's symbolic power. A logo must appeal to the client (and the public) on cognitive and emotional levels; it is not simply a graphic device to denote one business from another, but, like a national flag, a charged symbol of corporate philosophy.

Much has been written about the philosophy and psychology of logos and marks. Marks have value when associated with good companies and are valueless when attached to bad ones. The swastika is a case in point. Prior to its adoption as the Nazi party symbol in 1926 (and German national symbol in 1933), the swastika's history dated back to antiquity, when it signified good fortune. In the early twentieth century, it was a very popular commercial mark used on scores of products. But once it was adopted by a heinous regime, ...

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