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  • Writer's pictureRăzvan Munteanu

LOGO: Cost, Purpose, and Importance

Updated: May 1

Have you ever wondered:

"How much does a Logo cost?"
"What is the purpose of a Logo?"
"Do I really need a Logo?"

We're about to demystify these queries, offering clarity on each point to ensure everyone reading this gains a comprehensive understanding of the essentials of logo investment.



The Cost of a Logo


Logo pricing spans a broad spectrum, from absolutely no cost to figures reaching into the billions. For instance, Pepsi allocated approximately 1 million dollars for its new Logo in 2008, British Petroleum invested around $211 million in their Logo in 2001, and Symantec secured their Logo for a staggering $1.28 billion in 2016. These figures highlight the upper echelons of logo acquisition costs, which can easily be unearthed with a simple internet search of globally recognized businesses and corporations. Meanwhile, numerous websites offer services to create a Logo at no charge.



How much do Logos cost?
Or a free logo creation website...
  • But what leads to such exorbitant expenditures on Logos?

  • Could it be that these corporations are flush with excess funds, seeking ways to flaunt their financial prowess?

  • Or is the high cost of logos merely a status symbol, an exhibition of corporate might?

  • Perhaps the availability of free logo-making websites is overlooked by these entities?

  • Or, could there be deeper, more justified reasons behind these significant investments?



To grasp why some logos command such hefty prices, we must first explore the true essence of a logo and its intended purpose. However, this journey begins with dispelling some common myths and misunderstandings about what a logo is—and, more critically, what it is not.


 

Misconceptions About Logos






It's Not About Whether You Like the Logo



Surprised? What I mean to say is that whether you find your company's logo appealing is utterly irrelevant. Let's explore why this is the case.




Think about your favorite color, music genre, clothing style, food, or any other personal preference. Share these with your family, friends, and colleagues, and observe how many share your tastes.




 


Whom Is Your Company's Logo Really For?


Is it just for you? To frame and hang on the wall in the privacy of your home? Is its sole purpose for you to admire it as you would a piece of art decorating your room? Perhaps to show it off to visiting friends as your latest art acquisition? Or is it meant for your potential clients?


Do you intend to exclude anyone who doesn't share your tastes from becoming your clients? Is it a mandatory condition that all your potential clients must unequivocally admire the beauty of your logo, and those who are not impressed by its beauty should be completely excluded from becoming your clients?


 

Does Anyone Care About Your Logo?


Consider your own case. Do you own a car, or are you planning to purchase one? Tell me: did you buy, or do you intend to buy, a car because you are particularly fond of the car manufacturer's logo? Or did you choose it based on the car's technical data and performance, fuel efficiency, price, production year, size, power, speed, or the status conferred by the manufacturer's reputation?


When you've purchased food from a fast-food restaurant, was your decision influenced solely by the restaurant's logo? Or was it based on how much you enjoy the smell, taste, appearance, or style of the food, or perhaps the price, quality, and social status associated with eating at a well-known fast-food establishment?


The mobile phone you own, was it purchased for its technical specifications like the camera, touchscreen, battery life, applications, performance, price, or modernity, and the social status gained by being seen with a particular brand? Or was it solely because you liked the logo, with all other details being irrelevant to you?


Or when buying household items such as detergent, shampoo, shower gel, etc., do you choose them just because you like their logo, or based on their quality, technical, chemical details, etc.?




 


Do You Admire Collections of Logos?


How often have you found yourself admiring collections of logos as you would at art exhibitions? How often have you eagerly awaited the release of a new logo as you would a new episode of your favorite TV show? Are you a logo aficionado, concerned only with a logo's aesthetic appeal, its creativity, or beauty, without any interest in the company, its services, or products represented by that logo? Have you ever purchased a product or service solely because you liked its logo, completely disregarding its price or quality? How many do you think will buy your company's products or services simply because they liked your logo? Who do you think will care about your logo?


And you might think that since your logo's aesthetic appeal is entirely irrelevant to your clients, at least you should like it, to feel that it represents you.



However, this is yet another myth.




 



A Logo Doesn't Represent You!


Indeed! It's not necessary, nor advisable, for a logo to represent you personally or even your field of activity. It doesn't need to "say something" about your business.



Free logos
Find the similarities!

Why is that?


Let's conduct an exercise:

Suppose your business specializes in renovations, home cleaning, or pick any service. Surely, there are other companies in your area offering similar services. If your business deals with interior renovations and installations, you might be inclined to choose a logo featuring a house or a roof, just like 99% of your competitors. What does this say about your company? It suggests you don't see any real difference between you and your competitors, that a client could find exactly the same offerings with them. If there is any difference, it's merely superficial, akin to choosing between two shades of dark red.


So, how do you plan to differentiate yourself from your competitors? What makes you unique, and why should someone choose you over them if you can't see any real distinction?


Let's consider real-life examples:



 


Mastercard





Two intersecting circles, one reddish-orange and the other yellowish-orange.

Mastercard Logo Presentation
  • Familiar with this logo?

  • What company does this logo represent?

  • How aesthetically pleasing do you find this logo?

  • Does it appear aesthetic to you?

  • Are the circles themselves beautiful?


Looking at the name: MasterCard. "Master" suggests dominance. Does it imply one circle dominates the other? "Card."

  • Do the intersecting circles resemble a card? Do their orange hues remind you of a card?

  • What does MasterCard do?

  • Do the two circles signify anything financial?

  • Do they resemble a bank or in any way represent the financial or banking system?

  • Does seeing an orange circle, or two, automatically make you think of finance or banking?


Alright. So, MasterCard's logo isn't about beauty. It's unrelated to the name and doesn't represent the industry.


Banks


Whose logo is this?

You'd likely recognize the company's name if you're familiar with or have experience in


Germany. It's the logo of CommerzBank, a triangular, yellow-orange loop.

CommerzBank Logo  Presentation
  • Is it a beautiful logo?

  • Is the loop itself aesthetically pleasing?

  • Or does its yellow-orange color make it beautiful?

  • Does this logo represent banking, finance, currency flow?


It doesn't feature arrows symbolizing money flow; if it did, it might more closely resemble the recycling symbol found on recyclable materials rather than any financial pathway.

  • Does its triangular shape bring to mind banking, commerce, or finance?


Since this logo also belongs to a Bank, located in Germany. But this one is square, with a diagonal inside, and is blue in color.

Deutsche Bank Logo
  • Which of the two bank logos is more aesthetically pleasing?

  • Which better or more accurately represents a bank or the financial field, to the point where you'd automatically know it's a bank just by looking at the logo, even if you saw it for the first time in your life?

  • Where are the currency symbols like the dollar, euro, or pound sterling?



McDonald's


McDonald's Logo
  • And this logo? It resembles the letter "M," a stylized "M."

  • Just because it's a stylized "M," do you think someone seeing this logo for the first time would automatically know it's McDonald's?

  • Does it resemble a hamburger, cheeseburger, or fries?

  • Or even hint at something edible?

  • Do you find this logo aesthetically pleasing?

  • Do you think it clearly represents the fast-food restaurant domain?


Facebook




Facebook Logo

Which logo is this? A blue square with a small, cut-out "f."

  • Can we refer to this logo as beautiful?

  • Did you create a Facebook account because you liked the logo?

  • Does the logo resemble or hint at a contact book?


Chrome


Google Chrome Logo

And this one? Chrome. If you're unfamiliar with chromium, look at your sink's faucet. That's chromium. The logo is unrelated to chromium in both shape and color, and neither to internet search engines. The company name doesn't relate to what an internet search engine does.



Orange


Orange Logo

And this one? Even though it states the color on the square, in case color recognition is an issue. It's unrelated to telecommunications, TV, or internet. Can we at least say it's a nice orange square?




NIKE



NIKE's Swoosh Logo

And this? You're likely more familiar with this logo than I was in childhood, saying it symbolizes the "swoosh" representing motion. I always thought of it as a slightly rounded checkmark.


Yet, what I aim to highlight is that a logo's meaning is just a concept, such as motion, not specifically sport shoes or athletic gear. Even as a symbol of a concept, it's about the interpretation you choose to give it, essentially not representing anything. Interpretation of a symbol doesn't relate to or describe the symbol or its meaning in any way.



 


Demonstrating the Concept:

Letter Symbols

What letter is the first one? You likely said "z," right? Because in German, this letter represents the sound "ts." The German "Z" is written as "S," and the German "S" actually represents the Greek letter Beta. And this "B" is the letter "V" in Cyrillic alphabet, while this "V" is "B" in the same alphabet, whereas in German, it's "F."


Do you see how the symbol's interpretation is unrelated to the symbol itself? Thus, the swoosh is a swoosh because you choose to see it as such, not necessarily because it is a swoosh; it's merely the interpretation you've chosen to give it.



 


NIKE Logo

But to ensure fairness, let's also consider the logo alongside the company name, NIKE. A goddess from ancient Greek mythology.



Without delving into the fact that the name is "NIKE" and not "swoosh," how relevant is the name of this goddess to someone uninterested or unknowledgeable about ancient Greek mythology? How is it relevant that it's the name of a goddess from ancient Greek mythology, and why wouldn't it be the name of a god from ancient Egyptian mythology, or from Mayan, Asian, Hindu, Chinese, etc., mythologies?


Again, the choice of interpretation is entirely arbitrary. It makes sense only if you want it to make sense, just like seeing faces in clouds. Clouds don't have faces. You see them because you choose to see them. And because you want to see faces where they obviously aren't, you will see them, ignoring all details that don't match what you want to see and exaggerating those that help you better outline the illusion you wish to see. In the end, it's just your interpretation, based on the illusion you consciously choose to see.


And to demonstrate this point:



 


Illusions


Visual Illusion

You might recognize this drawing. What do you see? A sad old woman looking downward, or an elegant young lady gazing into the distance?

Motion Illusion

And in this example, which way is the balerina turning? Right or left?



In the case of interpretations, the meaning you assign is the illusion you choose. But it remains an illusion and does not correlate with reality.


Let's proceed to debunk another myth regarding logos.



 


A Logo Is Not Artistic Drawing


Apple Logo 1976

You're undoubtedly familiar with this logo, seen on all iPhones, iPads, and many laptops and monitors, right? Or perhaps not? Haven't you heard of Apple? It's even on the logo. This was Apple's logo back in 1976. No joke. Look up "Apple logo 1976" on Google to see for yourself.


This was an artistic depiction, filled with meanings, interpretations, symbols, and stories, much like you might have assumed a logo should be, at least until you came across this blog. It features Newton sitting under an apple tree, waiting for an apple to fall and spark his discovery of gravity.




 

Clearly, this isn't what a logo is meant to be; rather, it's an artistic drawing misused as a logo. It resembles more a beer bottle label than something representative of technology, which is why it didn't last long and was replaced with the current Apple logo, which you're probably familiar with from various modern-day devices.


Evolution of Apple Logo


That's precisely why, to avoid future confusion between an artistic drawing misused as a logo and a real logo, I'll use the term "Technical Logo" when referring to what a logo truly means. I'll continue to (erroneously) call everything we're accustomed to calling a logo, even though it's not a true logo but rather an artistic drawing or stylized text, misused as a logo.



 


Apple Logo

In the case of the current Apple logo, we can't discuss beauty. The apple symbol has no direct link to technology. With Apple's logo, many people tend to see faces in clouds, conspiracies, illusions, and particularly imaginative interpretations where none exist. There are many fantastic stories about how Apple chose its name and symbol, including:


  • The apple that Eve bit into, representing the temptation of technology and knowledge. This interpretation completely ignores the fact that nowhere in the Bible, which tells the story of Eve's temptation with the forbidden fruit of knowledge of good and evil, does it say the fruit was an apple.

  • The poisoned apple with which Alan Turing, the father of computing, allegedly committed suicide, as if to suggest humanity will destroy itself through technology.

  • In Greek mythology, nymphs achieved immortality by biting into a golden apple, implying technology grants us immortality, provided we overlook the technological suicide from the previous myth.

  • Or the expression "an apple a day keeps the doctor away," suggesting technology can solve today's health issues.


Of course, there are many other myths and stories, each more fantastic than the last, but disconnected from reality.


The truth

As Steve Jobs publicly stated, to the disappointment of fans of these wonderful tales, there is no hidden meaning, deep connotation, or profound significance behind the decision to choose an apple as the brand's representation. Steve Jobs simply liked apples. Even Macintosh computers were named after the McIntosh apple variety to keep apples as a thematic representation of Apple products.



Steve Jobs' statement regardin Apple Logo


 



Bloopers


And of course, the logo industry has had its embarrassing moments, especially among companies insistent on having their logos represent them.


Such was the case with a dental clinic in San Marcelino, or a pediatric center in Harlington.

But perhaps the most embarrassing was the Oriental Studies Institute in Brazil, which commissioned a logo to represent a golden oriental temple with a large, red sun behind it, embodying the archetype of originality. The most embarrassing part was that no one in the Institute's leadership noticed anything amiss until there was public outcry.


These are real cases. How well do you want your logo to (cough) represent you?


Now that we've cleared the air and debunked a few myths and misconceptions about logos, let's explore what a logo truly means:






 


So, What Exactly is a Logo?


First and foremost, a logo is a tool. Yes, you read that correctly: "A Tool." This means it must possess a well-defined functionality, which can be precisely measured with instruments, similar to a kitchen stove that heats food. We understand how it works and its purpose. We can also accurately measure the temperature at which it operates. Like the alarm clock on your bedside table, which displays the time and allows you to set an alarm for a specific pre-determined hour. It can be checked, adjusted, and measured to see if it operates correctly or lags behind.


So, what kind of tool is a logo? What functionality does it have?


 


Synopsis



The Essence of Logos: Beyond Aesthetics to Core Functionality


In the realm of business and branding, the concept of a logo often carries with it misconceptions and myths that blur its true essence and purpose. Through a comprehensive exploration of what logos are—and notably, what they are not—this blog post aims to demystify the logo, transitioning from mere artistic symbols to functional tools pivotal for branding and business recognition.



Logos: Not Just a Pretty Face


Contrary to popular belief, a logo's aesthetic appeal to the business owner or its resemblance to the business's domain of activity is secondary to its functional purpose. The logo's true value lies not in its ability to please the eye or represent personal tastes but in its role as a cornerstone of brand identity and communication.

The historical evolution of logos, such as the transformation from Apple's 1976 artistic depiction to its modern simplistic emblem, underscores the transition from complex artistic illustrations to streamlined designs that communicate efficiently and effectively in the digital age. This journey from an intricate portrayal of Newton under an apple tree to the recognizable apple bite symbolizes a shift towards logos serving as functional tools rather than mere artistic expressions.



The Technical Logo: A Tool for Engagement


A logo serves as a functional device—a tool that extends beyond the realm of aesthetics to embody the principles of engagement, brand recognition, and consumer connection. This tool operates within the parameters of brand strategy, conveying the essence of a company to its audience with precision and clarity. Just as a kitchen appliance has a specific function, measured and understood, a logo facilitates brand communication and serves a measurable purpose in marketing and brand identity.



Misconceptions and Real-Life Analogies


Addressing common misconceptions, the post clarifies that logos do not necessarily need to be liked by their creators nor represent the business's field directly. Real-life analogies with brands such as Mastercard, Banks, and McDonald's illustrate that a logo's value does not rest in its direct representation of the business's products or services but in its ability to differentiate and signify the brand in the marketplace.



The Path Forward: Understanding Logos Deeply


As we conclude this exploration of logos, it becomes clear that understanding a logo's true essence requires a departure from traditional perceptions of logos as mere artistic endeavors or direct representations of business activities. A logo, in its most effective form, is a technical tool that encapsulates a brand's identity, values, and unique proposition in a manner that resonates with its intended audience.



Next Steps: Discovering the Impact of a Professional Logo


This journey into the world of logos is just the beginning. In the upcoming blog post, "TECHNICAL LOGO: Cost and functionality" you will delve deeper into what exactly a logo is, how it functions, its real worth, and, importantly, what kind of logo a client truly needs for their business. We'll explore the investment value in a logo, balancing cost with the tangible and intangible benefits it brings to a brand.

For businesses embarking on the journey of brand identity creation or revitalization, understanding the multifaceted role of a professional logo is crucial. Join us in the next installment to uncover the strategic underpinnings of logo design, how it influences customer perception, and why investing in a professional logo is a pivotal decision for any business aiming to stand out in a competitive marketplace.

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