May 29, 2023

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Descriptive vs Non-Descriptive Logos: Which Kind is Most Effective?

7 min read

logo designs in a design book on a desk

Business owners facial area several issues when starting a small business. From writing a business enterprise plan to locating buyers, figuring out a product or provider line, selecting employees, developing a web site, and extra, organization proprietors have their palms complete.

So it is not stunning that a lot of enterprise homeowners really do not devote much time choosing color schemes and fonts when branding their organization.

But, this turns out to be a oversight mainly because there is much more to colours and fonts than fulfills the eye.

A well-intended company logo creates value.

Your brand is the ubiquitous agent of your business. It won’t just look on your website or merchandise packaging. Your logo can be anywhere – on storefront signage, branded social material, billboard advertisement, business report, and business cards.

Research have proven that the simplicity or complexity of a brand can influence trader funding selections and brand equity. And considerably, no matter of whether or not you abide by symbol style and design tendencies, your brand impacts consumer psychology and brand name effectiveness.

But how do you decide the great symbol for your business enterprise? And ought to your symbol be descriptive or nondescriptive?

Descriptive vs. nondescriptive logos

A current examine analyzed 597 logos to determine irrespective of whether descriptive logos ended up better than nondescriptive logos. The study concluded that over-all, descriptive logos experienced a far more sizeable good outcome on product sales than nondescriptive logos. But, the benefits weren’t absolute, and there are notable motives why you may decide on a person design and style around a different.

Let us look at the critical effects from the research:

1. About 60% of organizations applied a nondescriptive logo, even though 40% employed a descriptive symbol

A descriptive brand uses either (or equally) textual content and visible style aspects to evidently (some might say, pretty much) converse a variety of merchandise or services a business is advertising. Consider of the Burger King or Dominos Pizza logos. Both of those are well known and timeless emblem patterns that have mass enchantment.

Burger King and Domino's Pizza logos


Nondescriptive logos do not indicate the sort of product or service or services these makes sell. Feel McDonald’s golden arches or Adidas’ three stripes – if not for their global reputation, their logos really don’t explain to you anything at all about people companies’ products.

McDonald's and Adidas logos

2. Consumers usually desire descriptive logos

In one of the group experiments, the researchers randomly assigned individuals to a single of two teams.

A person group was proven a descriptive symbol of a sushi restaurant, when the other team was proven a nondescriptive symbol of the identical restaurant. Every single brand had a similar short description of the cafe.

Just after examining the description of the restaurant and immediately after viewing their assigned logos, the contributors were being questioned by a Likert scale scoring program about the brand’s authenticity and how favorably they seen the restaurant.

After comparing the responses from the two teams, the researchers located that contributors in the descriptive brand team observed the model extra reliable and appreciated it far more than participants in the nondescriptive brand group.

The scientists further more revealed that customers also found it less complicated to visually method descriptive logos and recognize the brand’s merchandise or service.

According to the researchers, firms with descriptive logos:

  • Appeared additional reliable to consumers
  • favorably impacted how customers viewed the brand name
  • increased consumers’ willingness to get
  • Enhanced sales

3. A descriptive brand is a lot more probably to strengthen brand overall performance

In a further research, the scientists experimented with to learn the result of a descriptive vs. nondescriptive emblem on a company’s web sales.

1st, the team obtained economic info (such as web sales, promoting and R&D paying out, and whole belongings) for 423 B2C (organization-to-consumer) models.

They then collected the collaborating companies’ logos and questioned research assistants — who have been unaware of the goal of the research — to discover which logos had been descriptive or nondescriptive. Exploration assistants also assigned 13 other structure traits (these kinds of as symmetry, form, and color) as control variables.

Using regression investigation, researchers explored the effect a descriptive or nondescriptive brand has on a company’s internet profits.

The outcomes confirmed that a descriptive symbol has a “greater constructive effect on revenue than a nondescriptive just one.”

The scientists examined their conclusions on the logos of 174 early-stage startups by supplying logos and solution descriptions to 2,630 people. They all over again observed that descriptive logos ended up much more normally affiliated with a higher willingness to invest in.

4. The energy of a descriptive emblem is not absolute

Not each individual model benefits from a descriptive symbol.

The exploration staff located this by comparing the outcomes of a descriptive emblem for brand names that are familiar vs. unfamiliar to buyers.

They noticed that although a descriptive brand positively impacted manufacturer equity for both of those common and unfamiliar brands, “the magnitude of this positive impact was a great deal more compact for the common brand names.”

This phenomenon, the study clarifies, happens for the reason that prospects now acquainted with a manufacturer previously know a good deal about it. Consequently, they may possibly be fewer probable to be motivated by the symbol design and style. As an alternative, their acquiring conclusions are affected by customer expertise or the goods or providers.

The researchers similarly located that descriptive logos experienced “a adverse result on brand names that current market items or solutions connected with unfortunate or unpleasant things, like palm oil, funeral households, and bug repellents.” This sort of descriptive logos are negatively associated with deforestation, loss of life, and bug bites.

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How to Produce the Ideal Emblem

Your brand ought to have 10 important features. We cover them all in The Tiny Business Tutorial to Making a Best Emblem.

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5. Use at the very least just one descriptive ingredient in your symbol

The scientists suggest that business enterprise entrepreneurs include things like at least “one textual and/or visible style and design element that is indicative of the type of products or services your company delivers.”

For instance, a coffee store owner should really consider a emblem style and design that consists of a coffee cup or iconography to characterize very hot steam climbing from a cup.

Or, if a company operator would like to open up a bookstore, check out a brand structure that works by using the image of a reserve or a stack of textbooks (even if it’s relatively summary).

But this finding does come with a caveat.

Suppose your firm is in an marketplace linked with negative ideas (see the discussion about palm oil and bug repellents previously mentioned). In that scenario, a nondescriptive brand is in all probability a superior alternative for you.

Nondescriptive logos are also much better for corporations with quite a few, generally unrelated, business segments. Amazon, Procter & Gamble, and the Walt Disney Firm are excellent illustrations.

These conglomerates frequently have different solutions or companies under one particular umbrella. So, a descriptive tactic could render their logos to seem visually crowded, unappealing, and confusing.

Furthermore, manufacturers that do not want to be exclusively involved with a distinct solution really should avoid descriptive logos.

For instance, a splendor and skincare organization that offers additional than one particular formulation may possibly have a much better possibility of using a basic wordmark symbol.

And if you’re rebranding, take into consideration how your present-day branding demonstrates your products and solutions and providers. Dunkin’ Donuts, for case in point, taken off the term “Donuts” from its descriptive logo simply because it desired to diversify its solutions and develop into far more affiliated with other (much healthier) products alternatives, this kind of as bagels.

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The 7 Forms of Logos

Descriptive and nondescriptive logos can be break up into seven common logo variations: monogram, brandmark, mascot, wordmark, mixture mark, emblem, and summary. We glimpse at the gains and cons of each and every type.

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6. A descriptive logo is not a branding home run

The researchers ended up watchful to take note that they are

not contending that a descriptive symbol ensures the effective start of a manufacturer, or that the brand is the most crucial manufacturer aspect to consider.

Among the other issues, the analyze did not assess how descriptiveness has an effect on brands with varied products and providers.

And it did not look at how originally descriptive logos developed by the several years into much less descriptive or non-descriptive logos.

But the examine did emphasize the great importance for entrepreneurs, business owners, and company homeowners to be more strategic in their branding selections. Weak branding can be a highly-priced mistake.