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Logos are important ways to identify a company. They are like visual employees or representatives of organization they stand for.

If the study of Communication Technology is intended to study the most EFFICIENT and EFFECTIVE ways to communicate and influence consumers, then consider how incredibly powerful a simple LOGO can be. Even mere fragments of a well designed and well established logo can effectively evoke instant recognition, and with it, impressions, emotions and memories associated with the product. If a picture can paint a thousand words, a logo can be the epitome of consumer design efficiency.

Three Basic Types of Logos

  1. Text (Phonetic) Logos - font-based: the treatment of the text creates an individual impression. Helvetica is used surprisingly often as the base font for many established designs
  2. Illustrated (Graphic) Logos - Usually vector based using simple shapes. The name of the company may accompany the illustration, but the recognizable identity remains in the illustration
  3. Modified (Customized) Text - A combination of Text with Illustration - look for a letter to be replaced with

Text Based Logos

The Microsoft Logo

In 1987, Microsoft adopted its current logo, the so-called "Pacman Logo" designed by Scott Baker. According to the March 1987 Computer Reseller News Magazine, "The new logo, in Helvetica italic typeface, has a slash between the o and s to emphasize the "soft" part of the name and convey motion and speed." Dave Norris, a Microsoft employee, ran an internal joke campaign to save the old logo, which was green, in all uppercase, and featured a fanciful letter O, nicknamed the blibbet, but it was discarded.

Illustrated Logos
The Mac Logo
Probably the most popular logo is the Picasso-inspired Mac logo. It was designed by Tom Hughes and John Casado, art directors on the Macintosh developement team. Originally, the logo for Macintosh looked completely different and was designed by the artist Jean-Michel Folon who was payed with a royalty of $1 for every Macintosh sold (overall over 30 million). But before the release of Macintosh, Steve Jobs changed his mind and had it replaced by the simple and colorful drawing of Hughes and Casado.
The "Picasso"-logo was used as welcoming message on all versions of the Mac system software until System 7.6.1, where for the first time the Mac Face logo was used instead. With the release of MacOS X 10.2 (Jaguar) the happy Mac and Mac Face logo at startup were replaced by a grey Apple on a white background.

Logo Creation - The Fundamentals

Logo Resource Links


A logo is a distinct, visual mark that signifies origin. The purpose of a logo is to serve as an identifier, to communicate a message, and to evoke a positive emotional response from the audience. A thoughtful design can enhance the client's image and give it an advantage against the competition. The logo is the heart of your identity system, that is anything that defines the character of an individual or company.

Qualities of a Successful Logo

  1. Timelessness - A good logo should be difficult to date. For example, monograms, geometrical shapes, crayon colors, and bold san serif typefaces are indicative of the 1960's and 70's. Slashes were popular in the 1980's, and no one would argue the excessive use of the swoosh in the 90's. Durable logos generally steer clear of fashion and make their own statements.
  2. Simplicity - A simple logo communicates a message clearly and provides the best solution for reproduction and readability.
  3. Unique Features - Distinctive features are necessary to create a memorable visual statement. An intriguing visual statement uses content which engages the audience, possibly using vivid colors, interesting illustrative elements or an optical illusion.
  4. Symbolic Meaning - The visual statement should also have symbolic meaning, conveyed with either literal or metaphorical imagery.
  5. Engaging Content - In an instant, your logo must enable the audience to notice you, interpret your message, distinguish you from others in your industry, and remember you.

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The Canadian federal government wanted a logo to help celebrate Canada's 150th celebrations, and created a STUDENT CONTEST to choose the official logo.

Professional Graphic Designers took exception to the use of student work to produce the logo, and countered by producing their own versions of the desired logo