Logo Culture

Logos, without words or even letters, can instantly bring associations to our minds.  Many of these logos have become even larger in our minds than the thing they are intended to represent.  With a life of their own, and instant meaning to millions of people, logos are a powerful aspect of visual culture. What do these logos portray? How are they used to define our culture? Moreover, how have the actions of particular corporations affected how we view those companies? How do we as individuals define ourselves through these images?

Corporate Logos

All corporations have logos that they use to visually identify their companies.  How have these image come to define our lives? Look at the images below and think about what each means to you. It is interesting that due to media or other information, scandals, ideologies, etc. some of the corporations below have become interchangeable with particular concepts or ideas that are both negative and positive. Can you think of what these stigmas are? It is also interesting to think about how some of these logos have changed their perceptions over time. 

Also think about how some of these companies may be perceived in other countries as opposed to America. How are certain manufacturers and restaurants understood in other areas of the world, and how have these perceptions come to represent an American culture/identity in those other countries?

McDonalds had a rather large lawsuit involving the fat content of their food. After the negative attention, the company decided to change some of their recipes and offer different foods. Has their image changed? 
Also, McDonalds is a popular restaurant for children as they have toys and playgrounds. Was your childhood defined in some way by McDonalds?

 Many gas companies have had negative stigmas because their products pollute the earth and have now become quite expensive, yet we as a culture predominantly depend on these companies for our everyday living.

 NBC and other broadcasting companies decide on their own what television shows shall be made and broadcast on their channels. How has television come to define our lives? 

These companies also control the news that we watch for information in the world, thus making them a significant piece in the construction of our culture. In addition, it is other corporations who provide funding for the broadcasting companies, thereby also controlling what information we receive.

Cars are also used as status symbols and as symbols of reliability and dependence. A majority of Americans come to depend on their cars to complete their daily lives. The various brands of car can become those status symbols, thereby representing in some way the identity of the owner. 

Computers and computer technology have also become a part of our daily lives. These logos didn't exist 50 years ago, yet they are instantly recognizable. 



Disney, largely considered a family company,  had a huge backlash from particular religious groups over its popularity with homosexual groups who held gay pride parades at their theme parks. How can companies' image change over particular groups liking or disliking the ideals of those companies?

In addition, Disney has captivated most children since its inception, through movies, theme parks, music, clothing and toys. How has Disney come to define American culture?


Band Logos

Most people have a favorite band, and they have branded logos as well. Can you recognize what the following bands are? Band logos have also become indications of individual identities, as the type of music one likes usually represents how that person is understood as an individual to most other people. Think about how these bands are understood by other groups or cultures. How different are they? It is fascinating how different images can be understood in such negative and positive connotations.


Sports/School Logos 

Sports teams are extremely popular in particular areas around the world. Their logos have been attached to nearly every kind of item for purchase from jackets and pants to dinner plates and glasses, these images are instantly recognizable. Each different sports team are typically held in high regard in the regions in which they are from. Unless someone has ties to another region, most people understand particular sports teams from other areas of the country negatively, even if they are not direct competition.

Fashion Logos 

Fashion Logos have long been a part of our culture. Fashion logos represent our identities whether intentional or not due to the stigmas attached to each brand. Generally, when a brand of clothing is worn and the brand is clearly visible on the clothing, the brand is being used as a status symbol. High-end designers such as Louis Vuitton and Armani attach their logos onto all of their merchandise. These logos become status symbols, worn to represent one's identity. How different is a Nike logo from a Louis Vuitton label? 

How different is a person perceived while wearing a Louis Vuitton label versus a person wearing a Nike logo? When we wear Nike, are we attempting to look like and embody our favorite athletes who wear the same brand? Also, how are some of these logos perceived in other countries where their manufacturing factories are located?




Other Logos

Numerous logos exist in our everyday world and each connote various ideals or identities that we all interpret in various ways. Whether we like it or not, these images have come to define American culture. How do you think these images could be understood in other parts of the world?

For further exploration:

What makes a logo successful? by Amanda Kern

Top Ten Rock Band Logos by Koldo Barroso

The Philosophy of Logo Design at Flërnk