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The Beginner’s Guide to Logo Design.

Part Two

What can a great logo do for your business?

A good logo can do more than make a business card look good. Great logos are game changers. Here’s how they do it:

In the world of logo design, you hear a lot of promises about what a logo will do for you and your business. Stuff like:

  • a logo will make you look more professional
  • a logo will help your customers remember you
  • a logo will help you stand out from the competition

All of that is true. A great logo will help you do all of these things.

But did you know that a logo may actually change the way your customers act and think?

“Wait,” you’re probably thinking, “Did you just say a logo can change a customer’s behavior?”

Yes, that is exactly what we are saying.

Or at least, that’s what a couple of researchers at Duke University found when they studied what affect a logo can have on consumers.

Here’s what they learned:

What science says about the power of logo design.

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In an experiment to test the subliminal effect a logo can have on a person, researchers showed students an Apple logo or an IBM logo. Apple is well known as a “creative” brand and their slogan at the time of the experiment was “Think Different”. IBM was better known at the time as a safe, traditional, and not very creative choice—they still are. Then students were asked to complete a standard creativity test.

The logos were shown so quickly (13 milliseconds) that the participants in the study didn’t consciously know which one they had seen.

What do you think happened?

The students who saw the Apple logo performed better on the creativity test. Significantly better.

Just seeing the Apple logo made people think more creatively.

And just to make sure that this wasn’t a fluke, the researchers did the experiment again, using the logos for Disney and the E! Network.

This time participants were shown the logos and were asked to take a standard test to measure honesty.

Any guesses what they found?

The consumers who saw the Disney logo were more honest on the test than those who saw the E! logo.

So what does this all mean for your logo design?

First, lets be clear. We’re not saying your logo will make people more creative or honest. These results are in part due to the ideas associated with the brands mentioned above and years of marketing effort.

But your logo can have subtle effects on your customers, especially once your logo has become familiar to them. They will begin to associate the experiences and feelings they have when doing business with you—and they’ll remember those feelings—when they see your logo.

You probably see this happen in your own life. Consider how you feel or what you think about when you see the Walmart logo. Is it different from what you think or feel when you see the Target logo? Or the Nordstrom logo?

Before you read the next section, think about what ideas, thoughts, and feelings could be associated with your business. Next you’ll learn about how you can make sure your customers will experience those feelings when they see your logo. It’s called positioning and you can learn about it here.