Logo Design News This Week (4.31)

Welcome to the final day of the work week, which is when we traditionally take a look back at the biggest news from the world of logo design. Check out what we found this week:

New Genesis Band Logo DesignFans of the 80s band, Genesis, have plenty to celebrate recently with the announcement earlier this summer that the original members of the band got back together to film a BBC documentary (these guys hadn’t played together since 1975). This week the band announced the release of a new “R-kive” of the band’s music spanning 40 years. And they unveiled a new logo that will presumably appear on the cover art of the new CD collection. The announcement was made on the band’s Facebook page, then quickly picked up by fans around the world.

Instagram, the photo app owned by Facebook, has a dedicated group of fans that love to recreate the app’s logo design and share it. Some are really cool.

Granite School District Logo DesignLast week’s round up of new school district logos just released for the new year missed one. Granite School District in Salt Lake City also has a new logo. Unlike those earlier logos, Granite skips icons with students and graduation caps and simply uses an icon representing the mountains that look over the district. Nothing ground breaking or terribly original, but a nice look.

Looks like Dublin is going to get a new logo design (for €20 million) to help improve its image. Yeah, we’ve covered this topic many times. Probably won’t work (and we’re not convinced it’s even needed) but we’ll be watching for it.

Horse Racing Logo DesignHorse racing in Britain is big business. Just ask the guys manning the desks at Ladbroke’s. And, of course, Dick Francis. And the British Horseracing Authority, the body in charge of all that racing, has a new logo, created last month and seen this week here. And while the logo isn’t exactly great (it feels a little dated), it is a huge improvement over the older version. The icon is nice but the lettering is terrible, especially the shape of the B and the kerning of the H and A.

The first European Games unveiled their logo and we immediately had to ask, is Azerbaijan really part of Europe? Okay, we get that its right next to Georgia, but it’s also east of Iraq. You learn something every day.

Hershey Company Logo DesignThe Hershey Company, makers of so many delicious-to-eat things unveiled a new logo design and as seems to be the thing lately, has taken some criticism for the new kiss icon, which some people think resembles, um, poop. We won’t link to their comments, because, grosss. We also doubt this will occur to many of the brand’s fans, who will naturally recognize the kiss, but what is the Internet for, if not criticism? We like the logo, though we wonder about the repetition of word Hershey. Doesn’t the big name tell us that this is the Hershey company? Feels a little weird.

Althea Gibsons Google Logo DesignWe really like this new Google logo celebrating tennis great Alethea Gibson’s 87th birthday. Gibson was the first African-American player to win the French Open, Wimbledon, and the U. S. Open. During her career she won 11 Grand Slam tournaments. She was the first African-American player to ever compete at Wimbledon and at one point was ranked #7 in the world. At one point she also became the first African-American to join the women’s professional golf tour. Yeah, she should have a logo.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments.

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Does Your Logo Convert? Sell? Tell a Story? Probably Not.

This past week, we came across an article written by a graphic designer who asked, “Does your logo convert?” The idea is that a well-designed logo, designed by her company, will convert non-customers into regular buyers.

She’s not alone in this kind of thinking. We’ve seen other articles where an expert argues that your logo is “a visual cue that tells a story of the brand’s culture, behavior, and values.”

The thing about these kinds of claims is, they’re just not true.

Yes, your logo is a visual cue.

No your logo can’t tell a story.

At least not without a lot of marketing support.

Don’t believe us? Check out this logo for Hexteria. What story does it tell?

Hexteria Logo Design

Is it a story about cancer research and providing cures for patients who can’t afford them? Is it the story of a brand that provides a safe place for witches and druids to meet? Is it an app that helps with speed reading?

What does this logo sell? Is it a wart-remover? Investment products? A video game?

You don’t know because you’ve never seen this logo before. And not only do you not know its story, you don’t know the product, where it’s made, or anything else about it.

It can’t sell or convert because there’s no context.

And it won’t have a context until a customer can connect it to some kind of experience. A visit to the Hexteria store where you can sample their products. Or a doctor’s prescription for Hexteria that cures your head ache. Or an advertisement on TV that shows you the sports fans who drink Hexteria.

Logos aren’t sales people. And they’re not advertisements.

Let’s look at the problem from the other side. Often companies update their logos and change the elements of their visual branding in order to change or improve their story. Wal-mart tried this in 2005.

They wanted to shed the old logo which represented a store that sells inexpensive products to people without much money. It stood for cheap. The new logo would represent a store where smart people would save money buying premium products. They wanted a brand that stood for value, like Target.

So they tossed out the old logo and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a new one:

Walmart Logo Before and After

So how did the new logo affect the brand?

Well it didn’t suddenly attract more upscale buyers or sell more products. It didn’t change the news stories about employees with low-pay and no benefits. And Walmart’s stock price dropped almost 20% over the next two years. More importantly, did your impression of Walmart change when the logo changed? Is it more positive than it was ten years ago (before the supposedly friendlier logo)?

Of course not, because Walmart’s story isn’t in the logo. It’s in the store experience.

If logos could tell a story, then this redesign would have worked wonders. The new logo was supposed to be a metaphor for “shoppers being smart for taking advantage of affordable, quality products.” But the Walmart experience didn’t change.

The new logo came to represent the same story that the old logo used to “tell”.

Your logo represents a customer’s total experience with your brand. Not just the colors on the sign, but the way a customer is greeted, the price they pay, the cleanliness of your store or office, the quality of your product, the look of the menu or business cards, the way you answer the phones, and virtually every other thing you do in your business.

That’s what a logo does… and it can’t do it until after the customer has experienced the rest of your brand.

There are a lot of things a great logo design can do. It can look professional. It can be a visual trigger to help customers remember your product. And it may even be able to change behavior (in some cases). But logos don’t sell. They don’t convert potential customers into buyers. And they don’t tell stories.


Note: the Hexteria logo above was created in about five minutes with a made-up name and  our easy-to-use logo maker application. It is not a real company or product. Want to try creating a logo yourself? Click here.

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12 Inspirational Quotes for Entrepreneurs (and Startups) from Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie Startup QuotesWe’re pulling inspiration from another early 20th Century, Scottish-born icon: Andrew Carnegie. After moving to the United States, Carnegie became a savvy investor using whatever expendable income he had from his minimal wage. Investing in the railroad paid off for him and he was able to use earnings from the stock market to go into business for himself. What resulted was the creation of his legacy as a wealthy steel tycoon, a visionary entrepreneur, and ultimately, as a philanthropist.

He may not have been the most respected employer (he lowered steel workers’ wages which prompted a strike), but he must have learned a valuable lesson about people because his later years were totally dedicated to a philanthropic crusade. Carnegie was still investing, but this time it wasn’t in the stock market, it was in people and neighborhoods. He sold his steel business and built public libraries. Literally thousands of libraries around the world were able to open their doors because of Carnegie’s financial support.

Here are a few things he said that we find inspirational:

“I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.”

“Do your duty and a little more and your future will take care of itself.”

“There is little success where there is little laughter.”

“No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit for doing it.”

“You cannot push anyone up a ladder unless he be willing to climb a little himself.”

“People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents.”

“He that cannot reason is a fool. He that will not is a bigot. He that dare not is a slave.”

“Concentrate your energies, your thoughts, and your capital. The wise man puts all his eggs in one basket and watches the basket.”

“Concentration is my motto—first honesty, then industry, then concentration.”

“Think of yourself as on the threshold of unparalleled success. A whole, clear, glorious life lies before you. Achieve! Achieve!”

“The average person puts only 25% of his energy and ability into his work. The world takes off its hat to those who put in more than 50% of their capacity, and stands on its head for those few and far between souls who devote 100%.”

“The secret to success lies not in doing your own work, but in recognizing the right man to do it.”

—Andrew Carnegie, Steel Tycoon turned Philanthropist

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Logo Design News This Week (4.30)

It’s Friday and if you’ve been here before, you know the drill. We’re taking another look back at the biggest news from the world of logo design over the past week. Here’s what we noticed:

Cooper Hewitt Museum Logo DesignCooper Hewitt, the Smithsonian’s design museum, has a new logo. It’s a very nice typographical solution that uses a new, proprietary font. We’re partial to big, thick, easy-to-read lettering, so we like this solution a lot. Though if your only exposure to the museum was the logo, you might not be able to figure out what they do (or that they’re even a museum). On the other hand, the logo isn’t supposed to tell or sell, just represent. And this logo does that nicely.

The Toronto Blue Jays think the Creighton Blue Jays’ new logo is “identical and or closely related” to their logo. We think Toronto needs to get its eyes checked.

No Limits Texas Logo DesignUsually you start with the city, then add the racetrack, but the Texas Motor Speedway did it the other way around. There’s a new town sitting on the 1,500 acre grounds. More than a hundred people already call it home. And this week the town got a new name and logo—No Limits, Texas. The new logo features pistons and the Speedway globe that you might expect if you were a fan of the track (which would seem to be a prerequisite if you want to love there).

Gregg’s, the British baker, suffered an unfortunate logo mishap when Google displayed a fake logo created by one of the brand’s haters. Though they fixed it quickly, thousands of customers saw the logo with a terrible tagline.

Green Party Logo DesignIn an effort to create more positive awareness, the Green Party introduced a new logo this week. The logo has yet to find a home anywhere outside of the linked page and social media, but we’re guessing it will be ubiquitous soon enough. Unfortunately, this doesn’t appear to be a logo for a party that wants to be taken seriously. The thick rounded letters and almost hand drawn icons feel amateurish. And while we understand that the simple design is to allow party members to co-opt the design for their own use by adding other elements, this will likely cause even more identity problems down the road. We’re looking forward to seeing how this plays out over time.

This seems like important logo news: The View has a new logo. Yeah, we’re joking. About the importance, not the new logo. That’s real.

Chicago Public Schools Logo DesignA couple of school districts unveiled new logo designs this week, just in time for school to start. First the Chicago Public Schools introduced a student designed logo meant to symbolize how the schools help a student to grow. Not too far away, the Lansing School District also has a new logo, this one features a globe (that’s what they call it—it looks like a bowl of water to us), graduation cap, and the Lansing skyline. School board members love it.


Anna Ancher Google Logo DesignNo new Google logos spotted in the United States this past week, but we liked this new logo design spotted in Denmark celebrating Danish artist Anna Ancher’s 155th birthday.


Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments.

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Logomaker Customers Make a Big Difference with CharityWater

Forgive us for this rare, non-logo design or startup related post, but this news is worth sharing…

Logomaker Water ProjectRoughly 18 months ago, we joined with our logo customers to raise $10,000 to help build a well for a village in Ethiopia. Now, a year and a half later, we’re happy to report that the village of Hizaeti in Ethiopia has a brand new well that is providing clean drinking water to approximately 300 people. (It takes that long to finish the project.) Click that link above to see the project details.

Thanks to everyone in the Logomaker community for making an enormous difference in the lives of these people for years to come!

And if you missed your chance to help, it’s not too late to make a contribution to CharityWater (just click this link).


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The Science of How Your Logo Design Works: Familiarity and Cognitive Ease

Brain Science Explains How Your Logo WorksWeve written before about the science behind logo design and how your logo may be able to change the behavior of your customers (check out those posts here and here). And while those studies are fascinating, there is other research in behavioral psychology that helps to explain why logos (as well as other design elements and branding) work.

In the book, Thinking Fast and Slow, author Daniel Kahneman writes about cognitive ease, a phenomenon in which easy-to-recognize images and easy-to-pronounce words create positive emotional reactions in the people who see or hear them. Whats more, the more often a person sees an image, the more they like the image. According to Kahneman, repetition induces cognitive ease and a comforting feeling of familiarity.

The author then shares an experiment that ran at the University of Michigan and Michigan State, where researchers printed an ad in the school’s newspapers that included several Turkish or Turkish sounding words like, kadirga, saricik, biwonjni, nansoma, and iktitaf. Some of the words were shown just once or twice, others were shown as many as 25 times.

When the mysterious ads ended, researchers sent questionnaires to the readers of the newspapers asking whether the words meant something good or something bad. The words that were presented more frequently were rated much more favorably that the words that had been shown only once or twice. And the finding has been confirmed many times using Chinese ideographs, faces, and random shapes.

Perhaps most interesting of all, the effect occurs even when the repeated words or pictures are shown so quickly that the observers never become aware of having seen them.

Evolution of Logo DesignWhy does this happen? Researchers link this effect to our biology (and it extends to other animals as well). From the book: To survive in a frequently dangerous world, an organism should react cautiously to novel stimulus, with withdrawal and fear. Survival prospects are poor for an animal that is not suspicious of novelty. However, it is also adaptive for the initial caution to fade if the stimulus is actually safe. The more that nothing bad happens, the more the stimulus becomes a signal for safety. Over time we even seek out those things that become most familiar.

So what does this have to do with your logo design or any logo you might see?

We often talk about using your logo as often as possible and as consistently as possible. The more your customers see your logo and associate it with a safe or positive experience, the more it creates “cognitive ease” and familiarity. The more familiar your logo becomes to the people who see it, the more likable it is. And the more likable your business or product will be. This may even be true when customers aren’t aware of having seen your logo.

A familiar logo design almost certainly means more customers and a healthier business for you. So what are you doing to make your logo more familiar to potential customers?


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7 Quotes for Your Business Startup by Harry Gordon Selfridge

Harry Gordon Selfridge Startup QuotesHarry Gordon Selfridge was born in mid-nineteenth century rural Wisconsin. He is best known for his founding Selfridge’s Department Store on the west end of London’s Oxford Street. This startup was a huge risk as the country had never seen a store of its kind and the market had not been tested for such an American concept. Selfridges was the first retailer of its kind in the UK. The business model was based on Marshall Field’s department store in Chicago where Selfridge had worked for 25 years—rising in the ranks from stocking product to junior partner. He didn’t have a lot of formal education, so his success can only be attributed to his drive and work ethic.

When it came to marketing acumen, Selfridge was ahead of his time. “Only _ More Shopping Days Until Christmas” was a promotional scheme born out of his head and went on to become a staple in retailers’ annual holiday ads even more than a century later. Selfridge lived and breathed the concept of “the customer is always right” and the quotes we share below seem to capture his overall approach to business and success. Some are extremely poignant considering Selfridge ran his business through a World War and the Great Depression. Here are seven things he said that we think will inspire other startups and entrepreneurs:

“There are no hard times for good ideas.”

“The boss says ‘Go’; the leader says ‘Let’s go!’”

“People will sit up and take notice of you if you will sit up and take notice of what makes them sit up and take notice.”

“Honesty always pays. Honesty alone will never build a business… but the policy of honesty, of scrupulous integrity, will—other things being reasonably equal—always win in the race for success.”

“Get the confidence of the public and you will have no difficulty in getting their patronage.”

“Treat [the customer] as guests when they come and when they go, whether or not they buy. Give them all that can be given fairly, on the principle that ‘to him that giveth shall be given’. Remember always that the recollection of quality remains long after the price is forgotten. Then your business will prosper by a natural process.”

“Whenever I may be tempted to slack up and let the business run for a while on its own impetus, I picture my competitor sitting at a desk in his opposition house, thinking and thinking with the most devilish intensity and clearness, and I ask myself what I can do to be prepared for his next brilliant move.”

—Harry Gordon Selfridge, Founder, Selfridge’s Department Store

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Logo Design News This Week (4.29)

We’ve been away for a few weeks but the arrival of Friday means its time for another update of logo design news. We’re hoping to cover a few of the items from weeks gone by that we might have missed while vacationing. Here’s what recently caught our attention that we thought was worth sharing:

Houston Logo DesignThe City of Houston has a new logo to help promote the region as the best place to live and work. The logo design appears to have a different background depending on the use. It’s a nice design as far as it goes, but as we’ve written many times before, it takes more than a logo to make a city desirable. The new logo is accompanied by a cool new website that promotes job opportunities offered by its members and compares the city to others around the United States. The city of Coeur d’Alene also has a logo, though not nearly as praiseworthy.

More Texas logo news, University of Texas football coach Charlie Strong has removed the longhorns logo from his team’s helmets, saying they need to earn the honor of wearing the logo. Nice.

2015 Allstar Game Logo DesignThe 2015 Major League Baseball All-star Game will be played in Cincinnati and as is always the case, the game has its own logo that will be used to promote the midsummer classic. We dig the “old-fashioned” look of the logo, especially inclusion of the mustached mascot and the old style hat. Really like this design.

More sports logo news: Emblemetric takes a look at the SEC’s “anti-modern” logo.

World Trade Center Logo DesignThe World Trade Center has a new logo that several writers have described as confusing, but that has some really nice design elements that add meaning to the design. The angle on the top of the logo is set at 17.76 degrees paying tribute to the height of the new One World Trade Center building. The five black lines represent the five buildings that make up the center and the three white spaces represent the memorial beacons. The two lower blocks represent the fallen towers. And of course the three top blocks form a very obvious W, which represents both the site and the shopping center. A really nice design tribute and logo.

Logo Removal Service is willing to take the logo off your t-shirt (or bag or umbrella) and replace it with something more arty.

It's Not Warming Logo DesignLogos can be effective for raising awareness. So well-known designer Milton Glaser (of I  NY fame) has created a new logo to raise awareness for global warming. Playing off the retort from critics that the planet isn’t warming and hasn’t for more than 15 years, the logo agrees that the planet isn’t warming, but it is dying. The logo is available as a button and purchases go to create more buttons for sale, that’s it. No bigger organization. Just a logo to raise awareness.

A couple more random items. First a proposed new logo for the Washington Redskins (may not be safe for work) and is this a logo rip-off? We don’t think so. And Reebok is offering a free one year membership to CrossFit to the person who gets the biggest Reebok logo tattoo.

Google Meteor Shower Logo DesignThis past week was the annual Perseid Meteor Shower. And Google celebrated with a logo video that showed shooting stars moving across a desert sky. You can watch the whole video here. Among the other Google logos we missed while away are Brazilian Father’s Day, Swiss National Day, and Robot Taekwon’s 38th Birthday. Check the links to see the logos.

Did we miss anything? Let us know.

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13 Pieces of Advice for Your Business Startup from B. C. Forbes

Robert Bertie Charles Forbes Writing at his DeskWe know the Bertie Charles Forbes (1880 – 1954) legacy simply by the name of the magazine he founded. The financial writer got his start in his home country of Scotland where he launched his career as a journalist after graduating from what is now the University of Dundee. He was a reporter and editor for newspapers in both Scotland and South Africa before immigrating to the United States in 1904 when he was 24. Once in New York City, Forbes continued in journalism and eventually landed a columnist position with Hearst as the financial editor of the morning paper. He held onto that column until 1942 while he pursued other editor positions, including of his own financial magazine startup, Forbes, in 1917.

Forbes published several books and received many honors over the years, including being recognized as a champion for 50 years of free enterprise and good business morals. His magazine survives today as one of the premier resources for financial and business information and rankings.

“History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.”

“The bargain that yields mutual satisfaction is the only one that is apt to be repeated.

“Better to be occasionally cheated than perpetually suspicious.”

“Uncertainty hurts business. It annoys individuals.”

“Difficulties should act as a tonic. They should spur us to greater exertion.”

“Madame Curie didn’t stumble upon radium by accident. She searched and experimented and sweated and suffered years before she found it. Success rarely is an accident.”

“What would you call America’s most priceless asset? Surely not its limitless natural resources, not its matchless national wealth, not its unequaled store of gold, not its giant factories, not its surpassing railroads, not its unprecedented volume of cheap power. Is not its most priceless asset the character of its people, their indomitable self-confidence, their transcendent vision, their sleepless initiative and, perhaps above all, their inherent, irrepressible optimism?”

“Remember, diamonds are only lump of coal that stuck to their jobs.”

“A business, like an automobile, has to be driven in order to get results.”

“I have known not a few men who, after reaching the summits of business success, found themselves miserable on attaining retirement age. They were so exclusively engrossed in their day-to-day affairs that they had no time for friend-making…. They may flatter themselves that their unrelaxing concentration on business constitutes patriotism of the highest order. They may tell themselves that the existing emergency will pass, and that they can then adopt different, more sociable, more friendly habits. [But] such a day is little likely to come for such individuals.”

“Think not of yourself as the architect of your career but as the sculptor. Expect to have to do a lot of hard hammering and chiseling and scraping and polishing.”

“Success is finding, or making, that position which enables you to contribute to the world the very greatest services of which you are capable, through the diligent, persevering, resolute cultivation of all the faculties God has endowed you with, and doing it all with cheerfulness, scorning to allow difficulties or defeats to drive you to pessimism or despair.”

“Few marks are made in the world’s history by eight-hour-day men.”

—B.C. Forbes, Founder of Forbes magazine

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Logo Design News This Week (4.28)

Thanks to an overdue summer vacation, there won’t be a news update this week or next. Until then, we’ll post some startup quotes from B.C. Forbes and Harry Gordon Selfridge.

Or check out a few of the many Logo Design Updates we’ve posted over the past four years.

We’ll see you again in a fortnight.



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