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Chances are, unless you’re as obsessed as I am with John Hughes films, you don’t think “weird science” when you envision coming up with a logo for your small business.

Well, it might not be weird, but there’s definitely science involved in great logo design.

Take the iconic Nike logo. You know exactly what I’m talking about, right? That’s not entirely due to Nike’s mammoth marketing campaigns. As it turns out, an effective logo such as the Nike swoosh — which suggests movement, like LeBron on a fast break — sticks with you because it evokes an emotional response and tells a brand’s story at a glance.

That’s not easy to do. It’s not impossible, either, even if you don’t have a Nike budget. By thinking about the science behind logo design as you plan your own logo, you’ll be well on your way to creating a logo with long-term impact.

Take shape

Different shapes can produce a wide variety of emotional responses in viewers. An excellent article in Creative Bloq recommends thinking about the values and attributes you want your logo to convey, and then using shape and color to bring your logo vision to life. In a nutshell:

Circular shapes evoke positivity, friendship and femininity.

Squares and triangles convey stability, strength and efficiency.

Triangles also are associated with masculinity and disciplines such as law and science.

Do a little research into shape psychology, and use your findings to design a logo that leverages the emotions and associations specific shapes bring forth in viewers.

Consider color

In addition to shapes, colors can help you tell your brand’s story through your logo. What color(s) come to mind with products or services you offer? What color(s) might represent your mission statement?

As with shapes, choose colors for your logo that are meaningful for your brand — while keeping the science of color theory in mind. 

 

A word of caution: While certain colors do broadly align with certain traits — such as pink for femininity, green for eco-friendliness, and red for excitement — there’s no guarantee that a specific color will evoke a specific emotional response. Factors such as our personal experiences and cultural differences influence our responses to different colors.

That said, a number of studies on the role of color in branding and marketing — like this one and this one — have found that color plays a critical role in branding. It seems that the most important thing to keep in mind is whether or not people will think the color(s) you choose to represent your brand are appropriate for the products or services you offer.

Just some fun logo facts

Now that you’ve got the basics, here are some fun facts about logos to make you feel even smarter.

  • “Logo” is derived from the ancient Greek term for “word,” so a logo is essentially an idea expressed as an image.
  • On the Amazon logo, the smile reaches from the letter A to Z. Ergo, Amazon sells everything from A to Z.
  • On the FedEx logo, look between the letters E and X. The arrow you see in the white space represents speed and accuracy.

Want to learn more? Check out “How to design your own logo” and “Make your do-it-yourself logo look like a pro’s” in the GoDaddy Garage.

About the Author, Issac Irvine:

A cheerleader for small business owners and buying local, Isaac Irvine is a communications manager at GoDaddy. He loves the heart and soul that local businesses put into their products and services, and is especially interested in sharing tips for boosting productivity and efficiently building a business.