Psychology of a Logo: Attracting Customers with Emotion

So, you want to create a corporate or product logo, but aren’t sure where to start. You might be wondering just how to create an image that subconsciously affects your customers in a positive and meaningful way. What factors are important? Clearly, your logo will be a visual representation of everything your company stands for. Think of McDonald’s golden arches or the Nike swoosh – these two impressive logos embody these companies quite well. Unfortunately, many companies still skimp on developing this key identity piece.

Let’s face it – our world is saturated with commercial images. Each of us is subjected to thousands of brand exposures each day from television commercials, highway billboards, decals, t-shirts, social media and even our coworkers’ coffee mugs! In fact, as I write this, my shirt’s left pocket is branded with my company’s logo. Now, psychologists are suggesting that exposure to brand images can have a profound effect on everything from honesty to creativity. Let me share the results of a study I saw on television a while back.

To test the effects of brand logo exposure on behavior, researchers set up an experiment in which subjects saw either the Apple logo or the IBM logo subtly displayed. Then, they were asked to name as many uses for a brick as they could think of. People who had seen the Apple logo turned out to be much more creative – as long as they already valued personal creativity to begin with, that is. In another experiment, people were exposed to the logo of either Disney or the E! Entertainment Network. Those who saw the Disney logo tended to answer their questions more honestly!

Every brand comes with a set of associations. Consider Allstate’s ‘good hands’ logo. It immediately generates a warm feeling for the company, symbolizing care and trust. When we are exposed to logos, these types of associations fire automatically, activating our motivational systems and leading us to behave in ways that are consistent with the brand image and our pre-existing internal drives. Over the years, all the ‘Think Different’ ads we have seen seared a link in our brains between Apple and creativity. The same goes for Disney and honesty.

Now, think about some other logos and how they may affect your thinking. Want to start an argument or fight? Why not wear a WWE SmackDown cap and get “ready to rumble”? Or, perhaps, you’ve lost something. Does a glance at the Google logo get you into search mode? Maybe you are feeling tired and moving slowly one morning as you walk into work.  Look at the Patagonia logo on your jacket and you just might find yourself ready to climb to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. With a little thought and creativity, your logo can also express the many positive attributes of your business quickly and graphically!

Ideally, your company logo enhances your potential customers and partners’ crucial first impression of your business. A good logo can build loyalty between your business and your customers, establish a brand identity and provide the professional look of an established enterprise. Wherever branding your logo takes you, remember to consider how each logo affects your train of thought. Review other logos already in use in your industry. And then ask yourself: how do I make MY logo do the same for my potential customer base?

If you have more questions about logo branding or would like to know how netsapiens’ SNAPsolution unified communications platform can help your business stand out, reach out to us at From white-label opportunities to expert support, we’re ready to help!


Find out more about Dave George, the author of this article.