Do logos need to have a "meaning" behind them?

What does everyone else think? I used to try and force any logo that I designed to have some kind of abstract meaning behind it, and I look back now and feel like it sometimes hindered the result by me having that approach.

These days I feel more like — if it can have some kind of meaning behind it then great… otherwise it’s fine to have a logo that simply feels ‘right’ for the brand, and has an appropriate look that will appeal to the target audience etc.

So I suppose you’d be designing a logo concept, but one that isn’t ‘conceptual’

Tone of voice, for me, is one of the principal governing factors. However, clever ideas, as long as they are not ego-driven can still go a long way to getting an intended audience on side.

I agree with that. I also think it’s important for a logo to serve as the starting point for an appropriate and memorable visual brand identity that suggests and embodies the organization’s core values and personality.

Too much emphasis is placed on logos being stand-alone symbols consisting of visual cleverness, hidden meanings, surprises, and layers of hidden metaphors that tickle the owner’s fancy.

I’m not saying a logo shouldn’t be clever or have hidden meanings; great logos often have these qualities. Instead, I’m saying the importance of these qualities is typically overemphasized by designers and clients at the expense of what matters even more.

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There’s a lot of considerations to take into account when designing a logo and determininig what’s appropriate, but I don’t think it necessarily needs to have a specific meaning behind it, I think the it’s more important that it feels right (and that it adheres to the basic logo design principles).

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Like everything in design, it depends on the client, audience, and brief. I live by the principle that everything in a design needs to have earned its place by serving a purpose. Sometimes that purpose is to convey deeper meaning, and sometimes it’s just to look cool and attract an audience. I certainly try to create designs with depth and symbolism, but it’s not my end goal.

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They don’t have to have a meaning, but they should be purposeful. Don’t throw a bunch of crap at a wall, see what sticks, and try to justify poor design by saying “it doesn’t have to have meaning.” (Not saying you are doing that, just making a point.)

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Thanks for the replies… good to see I’m not the only one then :smile:

I resonate more with joeyovenstone here.

Personally, I’ve seen logos that have a hidden meaning behind them perform much better with loyal audiences that have some kind of “emotional attachment” with the brand - if that makes sense…

Like, I remember reading a post on the meaning of the BTS logo (the Kpop band) and saw it pop up on Pinterest a few times. When I read the comments everyone was head over heels of what the logo meant and made them value the band more - at least that’s how I saw it

But, if you’re trying to squeeze in a hidden meaning to try and be clever even when it doesn’t make sense - like trying to symbolizing a plunger for a plumbing logo when you turn it upside down or something like that - I don’t think that really matters.

For that I’d say your thinking:

These days I feel more like — if it can have some kind of meaning behind it then great… otherwise it’s fine to have a logo that simply feels ‘right’ for the brand, and has an appropriate look that will appeal to the target audience etc.

Is much more realistic

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I think logos are better when they have a meaning behind it if the meaning is simple. If you own a coffee shop and love your dog whose name is Maya and then you call your coffee shop “Maya’s coffee” then I think to have meaning in the logo by using the dog to portray the meaning of the name. If that makes sense. I believe everyone has a meaning behind starting a business and I prefer logos that reflect the reason the buisness was started.
But I’m saying that I do agree some logos feel right with no meaning. My logo for my business is just text and doesn’t really have a meaning. I just like logos with more meaning.

That kind of meaning can provide a compelling and memorable backstory that contributes to the personality and brand of the business. Your coffee shop dog is a good example of where it might work if done well.

However, I wouldn’t force the issue because that kind of personal meaning is only one of many things to weigh. If the behind-the-scenes meaning is too obscure or irrelevant to the customers, or if it’s there primarily because it means something to the owner, the priorities have gotten twisted.

Logos should be regarded as business assets that serve the company by resonating with potential customers. Their guiding purpose shouldn’t be to induce warm, cuddly, or personally meaningful feelings in the business owner.

that’s a really good way to look at it! i tend to agree that if you focus too much on an obscure meaning you could ruin what a good logo is all about.
thank you

Logos have s specific meanings so that we can remember them better. The logo represents the The company’s business philosophy, culture. Thus it’s a good way to give the meaning behind logo.

Your logic stands out logically :smiley: but also as Just-B said consumerism nowadays dictate the trends thus symbol represents asset that sells, yep X-factor is recent example [1] but think what is basic attribute of Logo or Label to stand out from the rest of fogginess thats why sometimes simplicity rulz other complexity, finding the right balance between impression and meaning think is the path to workable logo, altho rebranding is always logical step when consumerism hits the bell otherwise things could get boring for the consumer, and probably only high end products are sticking to its logo roots eg. m&m or c&a etc. but even microsoft needed constant polishing of its windows logo coz the nature of its business is extra advancing and changing thus need to convey compatibility with progress normally up until some solar storm dont bring back the oldskool stamp!

Now if less is more by design terms go give meaning on … whatever one can think of!

Interestingly can translation of meanings in symbols bring better communication with the market, yet again poor quality of design rules and things can fly away!

hm … forgot the link [1]

abrupt facelift but coz the need of stronger meaning towards the transhumanist cause of the owners (than for the social community attachment to the tweeting shareware of thoughts), fracking and mindboggling decision yet for so long the X-man narrative [1] was pushed by the euroatlantic determinists so now would be thrown away, probably next masses will be lured to feel the a.i. breeze in their veins!?,

if so wonder when!?

wonder will that go as full package of futuristic society right after controlled chaos in form of ordo’ab’chao scenario with wrapping of global economic depression or ww3 shock&awe (or both so the fault would land on the eastern empires), hm sorry for these unintentional digressing but think this meaning contributes clarity to “their” meaning!