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Symbols so good – it’s scary. Think of a Jack-o-Lantern and quick! What season is it? Is there any other time of the year where this symbol is used to convey something else? Nope. This symbol is so closely tied to one holiday, it has, in effect become part of Halloween’s “brand.”

Using symbols to convey a universal message is as old as communication itself. Take a look at any cave drawing and you’ll know what I mean. Branding and symbols too, for that matter. Think back to any movie scene set in medieval times where they show a bustling market. You’re not likely to see many words. The signage above the door of the local butcher? A pig. The cobbler? A shoe. Blacksmith? An anvil, etc. This of course was done because the general public wasn’t able to read. Symbols provided the message!

So how can symbolism enhance your brand?

Today, symbols in branding and logo design are just as important in the attempt to reach an audience and convey a message. It’s a complex tactic. A logo by itself is not necessarily a symbol. The company that stands behind the logo – its identity and what it delivers to the marketplace – that’s what makes the logo start to breathe on its own. (It’s aliiiiiiveeee! Sorry, I couldn’t resist).

A logo needs to tell a story. It must communicate the message and identity of the organization it represents. Simple works here too. But be aware, there are pitfalls of employing the cliché… like a light bulb to represent an idea. It’s so overdone. Please don’t underestimate the language and effect of fonts, either. Comic sans versus Helvetica. Which one feels more professional to you?

And, for one of my favorite aspects of logo design – the hidden message. So many of our favorite brands apply this technique with flying colors! Check out this article to see what I mean.

Logo design is an art unto itself, with deep psychological roots that help any audience resonate with its imagery. Beware the logo that doesn’t communicate the company’s identity through its use of creative symbols, typeface and position. Every single detail of its design needs to speak to the viewer. And, to the well-designed logo: “if you got it, haunt it.”