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

ByFrancoise Ardion

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logo designs in a design book on a desk

Business people encounter lots of problems when starting a enterprise. From writing a company plan to finding traders, figuring out a item or services line, employing staff, setting up a web-site, and additional, organization proprietors have their arms comprehensive.

So it’s not surprising that several organization proprietors never commit a great deal time choosing color schemes and fonts when branding their organization.

But, this turns out to be a mistake because there is extra to shades and fonts than fulfills the eye.

A well-built enterprise logo creates value.

Your logo is the ubiquitous representative of your business enterprise. It won’t just seem on your internet site or products packaging. Your logo can be any where – on storefront signage, branded social content, billboard advert, company report, and business playing cards.

Reports have shown that the simplicity or complexity of a brand can influence trader funding selections and brand fairness. And substantially, irrespective of no matter if you adhere to brand style and design trends, your symbol impacts consumer psychology and model efficiency.

But how do you select the excellent emblem for your small business? And should your brand be descriptive or nondescriptive?

Descriptive vs. nondescriptive logos

A modern review analyzed 597 logos to figure out whether descriptive logos were being improved than nondescriptive logos. The analyze concluded that overall, descriptive logos experienced a extra considerable beneficial impact on product sales than nondescriptive logos. But, the results weren’t absolute, and there are noteworthy reasons why you could decide on one style more than another.

Let’s seem at the crucial effects from the study:

1. About 60% of organizations made use of a nondescriptive emblem, while 40% employed a descriptive symbol

A descriptive symbol makes use of possibly (or both equally) textual content and visual design and style aspects to obviously (some could possibly say, virtually) converse a type of merchandise or support a organization is advertising and marketing. Believe of the Burger King or Dominos Pizza logos. Equally are popular and timeless brand designs that have mass enchantment.

Burger King and Domino's Pizza logos


Nondescriptive logos do not point out the type of merchandise or service these makes offer. Believe McDonald’s golden arches or Adidas’ three stripes – if not for their world-wide recognition, their logos do not explain to you just about anything about these companies’ products and solutions.

McDonald's and Adidas logos

2. Buyers normally prefer descriptive logos

In just one of the group experiments, the scientists randomly assigned members to just one of two groups.

Just one team was revealed a descriptive symbol of a sushi cafe, whilst the other team was shown a nondescriptive logo of the exact restaurant. Each individual symbol experienced a identical limited description of the cafe.

Just after studying the description of the cafe and after viewing their assigned logos, the members were requested by way of a Likert scale scoring technique about the brand’s authenticity and how favorably they seen the restaurant.

Right after evaluating the responses from the two groups, the researchers found that members in the descriptive logo team discovered the manufacturer additional reliable and preferred it additional than participants in the nondescriptive logo group.

The researchers more discovered that individuals also identified it much easier to visually course of action descriptive logos and have an understanding of the brand’s merchandise or service.

According to the scientists, corporations with descriptive logos:

  • Appeared a lot more authentic to clients
  • favorably impacted how clients considered the model
  • improved consumers’ willingness to acquire
  • Elevated product sales

3. A descriptive emblem is additional likely to boost manufacturer overall performance

In a different study, the scientists tried using to explore the outcome of a descriptive vs. nondescriptive symbol on a company’s web revenue.

Initial, the crew acquired financial details (this sort of as web sales, advertising and marketing and R&D spending, and full property) for 423 B2C (business enterprise-to-purchaser) brands.

They then gathered the taking part companies’ logos and questioned exploration assistants — who were unaware of the purpose of the study — to determine which logos had been descriptive or nondescriptive. Exploration assistants also assigned 13 other layout traits (these types of as symmetry, condition, and coloration) as regulate variables.

Using regression investigation, scientists explored the result a descriptive or nondescriptive emblem has on a company’s web revenue.

The final results showed that a descriptive brand has a “greater beneficial effect on gross sales than a nondescriptive a single.”

The researchers tested their results on the logos of 174 early-phase startups by supplying logos and solution descriptions to 2,630 folks. They again located that descriptive logos were additional generally affiliated with a larger willingness to invest in.

4. The ability of a descriptive brand is not complete

Not just about every manufacturer benefits from a descriptive brand.

The investigate group located this by comparing the outcomes of a descriptive brand for makes that are familiar vs. unfamiliar to clients.

They noticed that though a descriptive symbol positively afflicted model equity for each common and unfamiliar manufacturers, “the magnitude of this favourable outcome was a great deal scaled-down for the common brands.”

This phenomenon, the examine points out, takes place since buyers currently acquainted with a model already know a good deal about it. Therefore, they may perhaps be much less likely to be affected by the emblem design and style. Instead, their buying decisions are motivated by customer experience or the merchandise or services.

The researchers furthermore observed that descriptive logos had “a adverse outcome on manufacturers that current market goods or expert services connected with sad or unpleasant items, like palm oil, funeral properties, and bug repellents.” These kinds of descriptive logos are negatively associated with deforestation, demise, and bug bites.

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How to Develop the Ideal Brand

Your emblem really should have 10 critical things. We address them all in The Smaller Business enterprise Guide to Generating a Ideal Logo.

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5. Use at minimum one descriptive ingredient in your symbol

The scientists endorse that enterprise owners include things like at minimum “one textual and/or visual style and design ingredient that is indicative of the style of products or services your business offers.”

For occasion, a coffee store owner ought to consider a brand style that involves a espresso cup or iconography to represent incredibly hot steam growing from a cup.

Or, if a organization proprietor needs to open a bookstore, consider a logo design and style that takes advantage of the symbol of a e book or a stack of textbooks (even if it’s to some degree abstract).

But this finding does arrive with a caveat.

Suppose your enterprise is in an sector linked with unfavorable principles (see the discussion about palm oil and bug repellents above). In that case, a nondescriptive logo is in all probability a better possibility for you.

Nondescriptive logos are also better for businesses with a number of, often unrelated, company segments. Amazon, Procter & Gamble, and the Walt Disney Business are very good illustrations.

These conglomerates typically have distinct goods or providers under one particular umbrella. So, a descriptive strategy may well render their logos to surface visually crowded, unappealing, and complicated.

Additionally, brand names that do not want to be entirely connected with a distinct product or service really should stay away from descriptive logos.

For illustration, a natural beauty and skincare corporation that features extra than one particular system may have a far better prospect of utilizing a vintage wordmark brand.

And if you’re rebranding, consider how your latest branding displays your solutions and expert services. Dunkin’ Donuts, for case in point, taken off the phrase “Donuts” from its descriptive symbol for the reason that it wanted to diversify its solutions and become much more associated with other (much healthier) item possibilities, these types of as bagels.

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The 7 Types of Logos

Descriptive and nondescriptive logos can be split into seven well known logo designs: monogram, brandmark, mascot, wordmark, mixture mark, emblem, and abstract. We seem at the positive aspects and down sides of every style.

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6. A descriptive emblem is not a branding household operate

The researchers had been cautious to be aware that they are

not contending that a descriptive logo guarantees the productive start of a brand, or that the symbol is the most critical manufacturer aspect to think about.

Between other points, the review did not assess how descriptiveness affects makes with varied merchandise and products and services.

And it didn’t take into consideration how originally descriptive logos progressed through the a long time into much less descriptive or non-descriptive logos.

But the review did emphasize the value for marketers, business people, and organization entrepreneurs to be more strategic in their branding conclusions. Weak branding can be a high priced miscalculation.