By: Aanya Mohiuddin
What attracts us, as consumers to certain brands? Sometimes it’s the catchy advertisements we hear on T.V and other times, we notice a reoccurring ad on our Instagram feed. Maybe we’ve heard multiple friends discuss a unique campaign. Amongst other eye-catching artifacts, consumers are attracted to specific brands because of their logos.
Brand logos are important because they immediately affect brand personality and how consumers view a brand. This subsequently influences brand equity, determining how successful a brand is. It is necessary to create a positive brand personality that leaves a lasting effect on consumers. If consumers associate a brand with an exciting personality, they are more likely to show brand loyalty and higher levels of satisfaction when receiving products from the said brand (Luffarelli et al., 2019). Having a strong brand personality can help consumers connect to a brand, building that consumer relationship all IMC practitioners strive for.
A company’s logos help solidify a company’s brand personality. Now, what makes logos noticeable to the average consumer? One could argue that bright colors and bold lettering do. Research shows that symmetry has a great influence on logo effectiveness (Luffarelli et al., 2019). Symmetrical logos have design aspects that prove equality and equivalence. Contrarily, asymmetrical logos’ design aspects lack equivalence. According to Luffarelli et al. (2019), symmetrical logos are not as notable to the consumer’s eye as asymmetrical logos. This means that symmetrical logos will not have a long-lasting impact on a consumer. With social media, we are constantly bombarded with advertisements, so it is important for a company to stick out. The goal is to create excitement in consumers. The emotion of excitement refers to consumers viewing a logo and feeling enthused or passionate about the brand or what the brand is selling. Excitement can cause people to discuss the brand that is making them feel that emotion with other people. This creates more organic traffic surrounding the brand.
Asymmetry vs. Symmetry
Asymmetrical logos can create the feeling of excitement within consumers (Luffarelli et al., 2019). The science behind this is that symmetrical logos are simply easy for our eyes to look at and our brains to process. Asymmetrical logos, however, are more complex to look at for our eyes, making it slightly more challenging for our brains to understand. This phenomenon leads to the visual asymmetry effect, coined by Luffarelli et al. (2019). The visual asymmetry effect refers to consumers having higher regard for brands with asymmetrical logos. This circles back to asymmetrical logos being exciting to consumers. Consumers have a higher regard for brands that make them feel excited. The visual asymmetry effect only boosts customers’ perception of a brand if the brand personality is exciting. If the brand wants to have a different personality other than exciting, such as somber or relaxing, asymmetrical logos will most likely not make their consumers feel excited about the brand. Therefore, companies who embody an exciting brand personality should have asymmetrical logos. Not all brands need to have logos that cause excitement in their consumers. It is up to the IMC practitioner to decide what personality the company should incorporate, based on their values and attributes.
The McDonald’s company is more than well-known, and its logo is classic, iconic, and symmetrical. The company describes its brand personality as, “lighthearted, unpretentious, welcoming, and dependable” (Our Mission and Values, 2017-2019). Since these are the characteristics McDonald’s wants to bring alive, a symmetrical logo makes sense for them. They are not intending to be ‘exciting’ so the symmetry in their logo relays their brand personality well.
Contrarily, Nike is a brand that self-identifies as exciting. Overall, their brand personality can be described as exciting, cool, innovative, and durable (Dvornechuck, 2021). Their logo showcases this. The simple, cool, iconic check mark is an asymmetrical logo that they use to make consumers feel excited about their Nike products and the brand itself.
An interesting logo that has a fusion of symmetry and asymmetry is the Nintendo Switch logo. The logo shows what the Nintendo Switch product actually looks like. We can see the symmetry in that there are two halves of a rounded square. However, the asymmetry comes into play when we notice the two circles within the halves are not symmetrical to each other (Vexels, 2020). Also, because of the way the halves are outlines, they are seen as different sizes (Vexels, 2020). This logo has a unique balance of symmetry and asymmetry because on the surface it is seen as symmetrical, but when looked at closely, we can see how it has asymmetrical features. Now, Nintendo Switch does not need to make their logo asymmetrical, because they are not trying to communicate excitement to their consumers. Rather, their brand personality involves longevity and the ability to adapt (Duran, 2017). This is an important distinction for the brand to make because they want to represent their brand personality well. Brand’s personalities are built with their target audience in mind as well as their brand values. For this reason, it is essential for brands to show consumers what their brand stands for.
There are clear effects on brand equity through the interaction of brand personality and logo design. Through research, we can see it is necessary for brands to design their logos as asymmetrical if they want consumers to view their brand as exciting. Asymmetry and symmetry are fun elements to play with for brand logos when trying to communicate brand personality.
Duran, H. B. (2017, January 13). Nintendo’s brand Messaging SHOWS longevity, ability to evolve. AList. https://www.alistdaily.com/strategy/nintendos-brand-messaging-shows-longevity-ability-to-evolve/.
Dvornechuck, A. (2021, March 24). Brand personality: Traits of top brands. Medium. https://medium.com/ebaqdesign/brand-personality-traits-of-top-brands-19c58890770f.
Luffarelli, J., Stamatogiannakis, A., & Yang, H. (2019). The Visual Asymmetry Effect: An
Interplay of Logo Design and Brand Personality on Brand Equity. Journal of Marketing
Research, 56(1), 89–103. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022243718820548
“Our Mission and Values” (2017-2019). https://corporate.mcdonalds.com/corpmcd/our-
Vexels. (2020, February 27). The use of symmetry in famous logo designs. Vexels Blog. https://www.vexels.com/blog/the-use-of-symmetry-in-famous-logo-designs/.