What's behind those great logo designs?

February 3, 2023

Very good logo, or poor logo, this is a question. What we challenge today is LOGO design, one of the four metaphysical problems in the design industry.

Where is the LOGO Xuan?

First of all, the price is erratic. There are LOGO designs for a few dollars on the Internet. From time to time, we also hear that a certain well-known company has spent hundreds of millions to upgrade the brand design, and there is even an automatic design software for free LOGO.
Secondly, there are various forms, such as Yishida, which is so simple that there are only two circles left, HP, which has four lines, and European aristocratic coat of arms, which is so complex that it is troublesome.
The most mysterious thing is the design interpretation. The design pitch is as exciting as the finals of a large-scale talk show. The designers are all so eloquent, they can just say that the dead are alive, and the alive are quantum states.

I recommend everyone to learn about the 2008 Pepsi LOGO upgrade. After Pepsi paid more than 1 million US dollars in design fees, in the design description, the design company talked about the LOGO aesthetic principle to the golden section, then to the Pepsi energy field, and finally went straight to the earth. Kinetics and tidal magnetism bound the awkward new LOGO with gravity, forming the grand concept of the Pepsi brand universe.
Newton saw it and called Einstein to call Hawking to open his eyes.

Please be sure to understand the difficulty of our challenge today, and please allow me to take the initiative to lower the difficulty and turn a thorough explanation of LOGO metaphysics into a partial explanation.

Now let's officially start today's challenge:

nice? Ugly? Grandmaster? newbie? concise? complex? style? Proportion?

模因 gif。 乔纳·希尔 (Jonah Hill) 在《把他带到希腊》(Get Him To) 中饰演亚伦 (Aaron) 来回转身时,他张大嘴笑着,高兴地尖叫着,在脸旁摇晃着双手。

With so many judging criteria, how do we get started?

"Fortune" magazine once conducted a data analysis of the LOGOs of the "50 Most Admired Companies in the World", and conducted specific analysis and comparisons from the LOGO's color, font, shape and other standards. We may be able to derive standards from it.

86% of companies do not use more than two colors in their LOGO, and red and blue are the two most frequently used colors. Red is aggressive and passionate, while blue is more comfortable and trustworthy.
60% of corporate LOGOs use sans-serif fonts to achieve a concise and modern appearance, in order to improve the fluency during browsing and make it easier for users to capture the brand name.

That is to say, the results of the Fortune survey show that concise LOGOs are preferred by praised companies.

So should we close our eyes, follow in the footsteps of the world's top 50, and also make a red, blue, bold, and simple graphic LOGO?
No, no, no, we should find out the reason why they did this, and start over from the reason to make a better LOGO.

I will share with you the principle behind the introduction I found - propositional density.

Proposition density equals the number of deep propositions divided by the number of surface propositions

excitement GIF

Surface proposition: Refers to clearly identifiable elements in a work. Such as basic geometric figures, color text, etc.
Deep Proposition: Refers to the hidden meaning of these elements. For example, doves symbolize peace, and white represents light and cleanliness.

Proposition density is proportional to the number of deep propositions and inversely proportional to the number of surface propositions. The more information conveyed by each element on average, the more engaging the work will be. The brevity of those large corporate LOGOs is not so much a requirement for formal aesthetics, as it is to reduce the number of superficial propositions to achieve the purpose of increasing the total number of propositions.

Let's find a few examples to help illustrate:

For example, the Burger King logo, at first sight, besides the eye-catching red LOGO, there is also a yellow hamburger skin. When we look at it for a long time, we can also associate it with ketchup from the red text. From the image, it is a smooth and lovely burger as a whole, which looks full of vitality and brings a fresh feeling.
For example, Nike's LOGO uses an extremely abstract and simple "hook" graphic as the surface layer in the denominator, but the deep layer can use the hook to reflect the speed and dynamics, reminiscent of the high speed and explosive power generated after using Nike's sporting goods.

Another example is the school emblem of Peking University. Mr. Lu Xun used the traditional tile image as the surface information, and the simple outline of the two seal characters "Peking University" arranged up and down gives a modern feeling.

In the deep information, there are many associations. The upper part of the "North" character is two portraits standing back to back, and the lower part of the "Da" character is a portrait standing frontally. The image of "Peking University shoulders the heavy responsibility of enlightening people's wisdom" gives people the imagination, revealing a strong bookish and literati style. At the same time, the word "Peking University" also has the symbolic meaning of "backbone". Lu Xun used the word "Peking University" to make an image of the backbone, hoping that Peking University graduates will become the backbone of national democracy and progress.

Therefore, it is not the simple form that makes a good logo, but the complex and profound meaning under the simple form. The gap between the two forms the potential of the brand. Increasing the connotation or simplifying the expression are all means to achieve a high difficulty proposition. With this idea in mind, let’s look at the LOGO design again. Isn’t it a bit enlightening?

In fact, not only LOGO design, the principle that the density of propositions will improve the quality of works is also effective in other creations. For example, the ancient poems we are all familiar with: "Withered vines, old trees, dark crows", "The ancient road, the west wind and the thin horse". The reason why it is so wonderful is that the author Ma Zhiyuan has found the rich meaning behind the few images of being old, faint, ancient and thin, and together with the common things such as vines, trees, crows, roads, and horses, the combination of deep meaning and superficial information has been formed. huge gap between.

For creators, creation is a chaotic system. We can always find new principles, but we cannot use principles to determine the quality of works.

Towards the end of this issue, let me remind you of a pitfall in the application of the "propositional density" principle:

That's the so-called curse of knowledge, and we have to be careful about it when we try to bury more meaning in our designs. For example, red has different meanings in different countries and regions. We feel rich when we see red, but the American emperor feels the opposite. When designing, be careful to avoid "I don't want you to think, I want me to think". At the same time, it is also necessary to master the scale of graphic simplification to avoid being similar to other brands and causing indistinguishability.

Combined with the principle of propositional density, now we look at the behavior of big companies who are rushing to seize the basic geometric figures, can you understand what they are doing? They are robbing the mental resources of basic graphics.

At the end of the program, our discussion topic today is: From the perspective of proposition density, how is BYD's new LOGO designed?