The Image GroupThe Image Group

By Dominique Sweeney

Using icons and symbols as a part of your logo brand identity can pay significant dividends in building brand awareness – but, only if the icon is visually catchy and is expressive of your values and beliefs. Icons create a simple visual memory tag that connects your business to particular emotions, perceptions and values.

Icons can also be positioned as “hidden messages” within a logo design. Amazon uses a smile to connect the letters A and Z in their name, implying that they offering everything from A to Z. The smile symbol serves to promote the happiness their customers feel after interacting with them. FedEx has a hidden arrow incorporated into the E and X of their logo, symbolizing speed and forward thinking. These hidden icons, while often not realized by the viewer, create visual cues that connect the business to a feeling or action the business wants to promote.

Many successful businesses have used icons to represent their brands – for some the icon itself becomes bigger and more popular than the logo or name. When you see the Swoosh you automatically think of Nike, which connects you to feelings of health, wellness, quality, fashion, forward thinking and more. A simple silhouette of an apple with a bite taken out makes brings thoughts of innovation, simplicity, and the quality of Apple products. The Golden Arches can bring thoughts of hunger, flavor, satisfaction, and speed. Or, if your recent experience at McDonald’s was not up to expectations the visual cue of the Golden Arches may bring feelings of disappointment, incompetence, poor quality or lack of taste. Icons can provide powerful brand building ability – but, if you don’t back up the image with the quality, service and other attributes your clients look for in your business – the icon can work against you, quickly generating negative feelings towards your company.

Whether you choose to incorporate an icon into your brand or just use a logo, the brand identity you build will only be successful if you are consistent with your brand usage. Do not deviate from your logo colors, fonts and layout. If done correctly, an icon can be a powerful way to visually convey your value proposition and beliefs in a short and concise way.

Dominique Sweeney
About Dominique Sweeney
Be Iconic – How An Icon Can Build Your Brand Recognition