Kelly Wilkinson - Company Logos or Symbols in Culture

Almost every company in the world has a logo, and some of these logos have become symbols in cultures, may it be a country's culture or an international culture. Logos are created to give a company a recognizable look that will be plastered on business cards, envelopes, company automobiles, and letterhead. When a person in the company's culture sees the logo, they see much more that just what the logo looks like, they see what the logo represents. Some company logos become themselves symbols in the company's culture, standing for something far beyond the log or the obvious. A logo is a symbol of a company's corporate identity. This identity is made of colors, fonts, and graphics that are aimed at how the viewer sees the logo and connects the values of the company to the logo. Through promotion, the company's values, ethics, success or failures, employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction and all other elements of a company become part of the logo. When a person sees the logo, they see all of the things that make up the company, not just a graphic on a piece of paper or billboard. A company's brand is usually recognized by a company's logo. Many consumers start to become brand preferring, choosing one brand over another, or brand insistent, willing to search fro one particular brand, because they have a certain company's logo or association with the logo, or they can become brand rejection, will not buy a certain brand.

There are many things that go into creating a successful logo. When creating a logo it is important to remember that the logo will need to last for years, because it is representing the corporate identity. In Logo Power by David E. Carter, he outlines what is needed to make a good logo. The first thing a person must remember is that the logo is an identity system, not just a logo. The logo must be distinctive and original so that it stands out among its peers. Make sure that the logo is readable to everyone. A logo that is too busy is bad, make it simple. Make a logo that will stick in peoples mind. Make sure that the logo can be associated with the company and its industry. The logo should be able to work on all company letterhead, cards, envelopes, transportation and business wear. All of these things should be included to represent a world class business.

Rex Peteet of Sibley/Peteet Design in the United States believes that the best logos suggest a company's product, not by force, but naturally, subtly and cleverly. Veronique Malcourant of Cornu-Malcourant "Symbolic Design" in France believes that a logo is a symbol, which must conform to a deep-rooted imagery. She believes a logo is successful only when it become a universal symbol and it must communicate a message. She says that many logos fail to answer the question "What is this company about". John Larkin of Design House in England believes that the roles of a brand and a logo are "inextricably linked". The logo is the visual identity of the brand. As a trademark the logo becomes a "badge of origin" and a visual guarantee of authenticity. A logo stands for a promise of quality for a company. He states, "however simple in design, the logo is a complex symbol, representing the entire spectrum of experiences, impressions, beliefs, feelings, attitudes, and knowledge people have about a brand". Logos represent many different elements of a company, making the logo stand for something that is beyond the obvious, therefore making it a log. Just like a cross is a symbol for the Christian religion, a logo is a symbol for the corporation.






Paul Ibou of Design International Belgium believed that a logo should not be linked or limited to a specific culture, but it needs to be understood among cultures across the world. Education or intelligence should not be a factor in understanding the logo either. Logos are very successful and lasting on a person if they are accepted across cultures. Roslyn Eskind of Eskind Waddell of Canada believes, "resonating with psychological and cultural references, they [logos] are immediately recognizable and easily recalled" (successful logs worldwide). A logo should speak to a defined client. This means that a clients culture and business need to be understood. Now logos stand for business ideas more than business products. If a culture is understood, then a logo will be more easily accepted to that culture. Alan Chan of Alan Chan Design Company in Hong Kong believes that the most influential elements that are incorporated into a logo is culture. He states, "culture has always influenced are-it is so deeply rooted in every society that nothing can match its importance". He believes that culture is a link to tradition and history as well as all vital conceptual and visual elements. By capturing the spirit of a culture in a logo, it becomes boundless and timeless.

According to the Graphic Design Time Line by Steven Heller and Elinor Pettit explain how in 1981 MTV, a twenty four hour music network, debuted. It would end up changing American culture, and its logo would become part of cultures worldwide. Fred Seibert and Allen Goodman are responsible for the feel, look and positioning of the original MTV logo. MTV was originally made to promote, but instead it had an enormous impact on music an young people, It helped put dancing, Madonna, and many other musical influences in the American culture, and eventually the world. The MTV logo today is known worldwide, and is a symbol of new pop culture, popular music, new trends and influences the culture of young people worldwide. The MTV logo represents much more than just the fun design of the M, the T and the V.

Another company logo that has become part of cultures worldwide is McDonalds' famous Golden Arch. Almost everyone in the American culture knows about McDonalds and its impact on America. It is the number one leader in the fast food craze that has become a big part of our culture today. Many families each at these fast food restaurants instead of having the mother/wife cook a five course meal every night. Fast food has become a necessity in many family lives across America. When children see the golden arch of McDonalds they are overwhelmed with joy of Ronald McDonald and the happy meals. In fact they are sometimes overwhelmed just my receiving a toy in their meal. There are adult groups who think of these toys as collectable. For some this golden arch is a symbol of wealth. Since McDonalds entered the stock market in 1965, it has grown from 100 shares valued at $2,250 to 74,360 shares valued at $2.8 million in 1998 ( For many adults the golden arch could bring back memories from their childhood, since the early 1960s. The McDonalds arch stands for many thing to different people. It is a worldwide symbol now. It has spread worldwide to many countries, and has successfully become part of their cultures as well.


Mitsubishi has a logo that has become a symbol around the world, standing for many different products from televisions to cars. The history of Mitsubishi is quite interesting. Started in 1970, it was passed down through generation, and with each generation came another sector for Mitsubishi to become a part of. It started as a shipping firm, then diversified into a range of manufacturing, commerce, banking, real estate, marketing, administration, paper mills, machinery, electrical, and chemicals. Heavy industries sector includes automobiles, tanks, aircraft and buses. The electric produces machinery and small appliances. In 1974, the well known logo was adopted, called "three diamonds" ( This logo comes from the three leaf crest of the Tosa Clan, which was the employer of the founders first employer. It also comes from the three stacked rhombuses of the founding family's crest. The combination of these two symbols formed the logo for Mitsubishi. In fact the name Mitsubishi could stand as a symbol itself, and in fact refers to the three diamond logo. The name is a combination of mitsu, meaning three, and hishi, meaning water chestnut in Japanese. The logo stand for the many successes of the company and their long standing ethics and values, therefore standing as a symbol in Japanese culture and eventually in many cultures worldwide. Many people trust and drive the Mitsubishi brand cars or buy the Mitsubishi brand television because when they see the logo they know there is value and trust behind it. It stand as a symbol of excellence in the product they produce.

All companies have different values and ethics, successes and products, all of which are represented through a logo that is in fact a symbol of these elements. Many company logos or symbols become a long lasting part of a culture or cultures. It is a combination of the effectiveness of the logo as well as the success and values of the company that makes a logo a symbol in culture. If a logo is not unique, then it will not stand a chance in a competing society, while if the logo is unique, but there is nothing unique about the company to set it apart in its industry, then it probably will not become a symbol in a particular culture.

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