Your Brain on Logos

Logos.  We are bombarded by them on a minute-by-minute basis as we go about our day.  We see so many of them, in fact, that it’s easy to take them for granted and forget to appreciate how an effective logo can trigger an emotional and behavioral response in our brain.

Recent neuroscience studies have found the brain uses all sorts of shortcuts when it processes information.  The more it recognizes a symbol with which it is comfortable, such as the logo of a preferred brand, the quicker it makes a decision with less anxiety.  Additionally, the brain is reluctant to change, and finds it jarring and uncomfortable (as do we all) so abrupt or severe changes can trigger unpleasant feelings.

Oh, and this all happens in 400 milliseconds.  

That’s how long it takes for your brain to perceive the core elements of a logo, recognize it, and draw on your prior experiences with the brand.

Recognizable logos can actually trigger responses in the same part of the brain that controls relational emotions.  So, when seeing a Honda in front of you at a red light, you remember the time in college you and your friends tried to road trip cross-country in your mom’s beat up Honda.  Nostalgia, anger, amusement, car sickness, whatever your relationship with that Honda logo is, you experience all of that in 400 freakin’ milliseconds.

Taking into account all this information, it should come as no surprise that proper logo design elements are vital to solidifying a customer’s association with your brand.  To attest to that, a graphic designer at Printsome played with the colors on a number of well-known logos, and the results are unsettling . . .

Creepy, right?  There’s an article here over at Mental Floss with more examples.

Feels all wrong, doesn’t it? So, remember:,  logos, graphic designers, and your brand colors are important.  Make sure you get good ones and stick with them.

Note:  This is our last post from Joy. She's gone to see the world.