Strategy & Marketing

It’s Not Just Your Logo – It’s the Context

Organizations and companies spend enormous time designing the right logo, only to blow it when it comes to the context they place the logo into.  How you use the logo matters – and it matters a lot.  Context – the way the logo is used – is critical.

I’ve followed branding expert Martin Lindstrom for quite some time and he did a fascinating study recently.  Smokers linked to an MRI scanner first looked at images associated with different cigarette brands – cowboys, camels, horses, – and then looked at actual cigarette logos.  The subjects brains responded more strongly to the images of the context, than the logos themselves.

That tells us it’s not just about your logo – it’s the context that logo lives inside.  Tiffany’s robin’s egg blue box is probably more memorable than the Tiffany logo itself.

Think more about the context of your logo.  The visual world it lives in is just as important as the logo.

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  1. An excellent point, and excellent timing – we just finalized our church's new logo and are planning a round of print campaign materials – thanks so much for the timely advice!

  2. Yes! Context is everything (read Kahneman, 2002 Nobel Prize winner for economics)

    Think of all the white space Apple uses around their logo. What does this mean? Simplicity. Ease of use. Clean. Pure. No dramas.

  3. Tiffanys blue box? Like I should know what that means? However, in light of the context surrounding the reference… I get it. And, I think I am outclassed in this crowd.

  4. This thought process is spot on! Another practical advice for all those looking to begin the brand identity or logo design process.  Decide your final logo in black and white, before adding color or treatments.  If your logo looks great in black and white, you'll be tickled pink by its extensability across all types of media and mediums, making it easy to place it into any contex.

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