By today’s marketing standards logos presumably have a greater responsibility, the truth is that your logo has only one purpose — identifying your brand. I’ve written about four key characteristics for every successful logo in the marketplace, and memorability is arguably one of the most important to serve a logo’s primary responsibility.
In order to talk about logo memorability, you must first have an understanding of how our brain accesses and stores information. The human brain is remarkable in that it can store vast amounts of complex information, but the reality is that we absorb and access those complex memories with the use of small packets. Think of the way phone numbers are constructed, 214-453-5665. The dashes, or dots if you follow overused trends, are a device developed to help with memory recall. Instead of remembering a 10 digit number, we’re able to store phone numbers as three separate groups of numbers. We even use a similar rhythm when we verbally communicate our number to someone else. Movie titles, songs and business names follow the same formula often using one to three words to enhance recall.
Successful logo design taps into the same idea using simplicity of shape and limited color to increase the effectiveness of recall. The more details that you include in your logo, the more information your target audience has to store about your brand. Likewise, the more colors your logo uses the more information your target audience has to access to recall your brand. Simplicity isn’t just a modern aesthetic. It’s a powerful memory enhancer. Since your logo isn’t selling your product or service, it needs to be quickly recognizable to allow your target audience to access their experience with your brand which will begin to sell your product or service.
Getting your logo into the simplest form will insure that you have the right amount of detail in the final solution, whereas designing for simplicity can sometimes lead to under-designed logos that feel cold, detached from the brand or worse, devoid of professionalism. The key to simplicity in design is to slowly strip away any unnecessary details and colors from your logo solutions. I typically whittle a design away until it’s lost its recognizability from the original idea, and then I take one step back.
Redesigns of many successful logos use this whittling method to create iconic brands. For instance, the older version of the Shell logo on the left uses a lot of detail in the logo mark, whereas the more current redesign has simplified the form without destroying the logos heritage. Our brain instantly recognizes the shape as a shell, so the logotype becomes extraneous information. The newer version requires less space in your memory and is much easier to recall which is not coincidental.
When you enhance the simplicity of your logo form and limit your colors, you enhance memory recall for your target audience. Without memorability you’ll likely never hear from an interested prospect once they are ready to purchase your product or service.