Logo Design: The Psychology Behind the Mark

One thing I always ask myself is what makes award winning logos? But also how do they really affect people’s purchasing habits? I’ll try and provide as much information as I can to really get to know what branding is all about and how it affects people.

First off, I’ll start with colors. The color (or colors) of the logo have a psychological effect on people. Colors really matter when it comes down to influencing purchasing habits. Some brands even change color schemes to see how it affects purchasing habits. Since different colors mean different things (red, for example, means fast, hot, daring, sexy, and can be used to get people’s attention) people will be influenced, not only by the logo itself, but by the colors it uses. If someone wanted something that was healthy, for example, they might go to Subway over Burger King because the logo has green in it, which symbolizes earth, plants, and health.

Another thing that can really influence how people see brands, is the shape of the logo. Martin Christie from creativebloq.com says, “The power of a logo to elicit an emotional response can have a resounding effect on the way customers and potential customers view a particular product, service or company.” Some shapes are viewed differently and here are some examples:

Circles, ovals, and ellipses – create a positive emotional message. It can be used as symbolism for friendship, relationships, community, or love.

Squares and triangles – create stability, strength, and professionalism. It can be used as symbolism for balance. Triangles can also be symbolized for religion, power, or law.

Vertical lines – create masculinity and aggression.

Horizontal lines – create calm and tranquility.

Martin Christie from creativebloq.com also says, “Jagged, angular typefaces may appear as aggressive or dynamic; on the other hand, soft, rounded letters give a youthful appeal. Curved typefaces and cursive scripts tend to appeal more to women, while strong, bold lettering has a more masculine edge.” The typeface you choose for your logo should be a thoughtful decision based on these things, as well as what message you want to get across. Fonts also convey the brand’s personality as well. 

If you have a client, and have yet to create their logo, this leads us to the question, “Where do I start?” Well first, you start off with a creative brief. Ask the client everything you need to know about their brand, values, and message they want to convey. Ask them if they have any preferences with colors, (but also inform them later about what colors would be best to use based on what I talked about earlier) if they have a specific look they want to go with, (hand drawn or simple, etc. but if they don’t have one then you as a designer can figure out what’s best for them), what their competition is, and what the target market for their product or service is. This way, you’ll have an overall understanding in which direction to go when designing with consumer’s psychology in mind.

Now on to the first sketches. You’ll want to supply the client with as many ideas as possible at first, so they can pick the ones they like best. Once they have chosen around three, you can go ahead and make black and white comps of each. When you show those to the client you can explain the whys of each piece and if one is better than the other. You can also talk to them about the colors you might be leaning toward as well. (Keep in mind when you’re designing the impact different colors, shapes, and typography have on consumers.) Once the client picks one, you’re well on your way to finishing a very well established and thought out logo design that will help them grow their business and beat the competition. Informing the client about all of these things is key to getting them to understand and appreciate why you designed the logo the way you did.

Hopefully you have learned something new and can apply this to your design whether you are a freelancer or just starting out in the design world. Remember, logo design is all about psychology and the more you keep that in mind, the more you’ll create sucessful logos people will love.


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