Effective Logo Designs – Symbols – metaphors – intuition



In our day to day lives we see signs every day, depicting human nature and classifying ‘what is’ from ‘what’s not.’ The word ism is originally used to describe an idea (idealism, socialism), however an image or a design once created elaborates that figment of our imagination to comprehend its description.

The task of developing a good design takes a lot of effort but a chunk of imagination is what it takes during the initial process of coming up with an idea or a metaphor with unique intuition. Most designers bank on it.

“Creativity is Intelligence having fun”- Sir Winston Churchill
A logo is primarily a means of communicating an idea, a beginning or an end. It is imperative that it casts a long lasting image for any viewer which in turn communicates the brand itself.

When we “Google” ‘the very first designer in the world’, the outcome is Charles Fredrick Worth who was the first designer to have sown his name in the clothes he made in the 19th Century.

But let’s not forget it was “Early man” who communicated with the first logo and designs with nothing but bare hands and walls to scribble on. Those images will always remain in our minds. However early or current, once infusion of symbols with metaphors merge with analytical thinking — then you’d have created a logo that stands out as unique and remembered.

For effective logos, a designer must have a combining strategy to use images, metaphors and instinct.


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Designing with Instinct
“Systems die, instinct remains”- Oliver Wendell Holmes
Our past and present conclude that which is tangible is effective, however instinct or intuition has been completely supported by historians, philosophers and ideologists including Albert Einstein, Carl Jung, Buckminster Fuller and Steve Jobs.

For many Custom Logo Designers fortunately, intuition is like breathing, while intelligence delivers a method to implement on the finished commodity. Unification of thinking with feeling provides an immediate connection to a logo design. The latter is for the brain to decide for an investment either with a small budget logo company or make it large!

(An exercise at the end of the article for honing your intuition can be utilized)

Symbolic Idea in a Logo Design:
We comprehend symbols differently than words. An image is almost immediately understood while a word has to be perceived first in a certain language. Symbols are instant, while words must be corresponded with an image to be understood.


*Dollar sign symbolizes a certain currency
*The Victory sign depicts peace
*The most commonly seen symbol for a sharp curve ahead while travelling
*Bio-Hazardous materials image recommends caution


Some examples of image compilation in human systems and structures include the smiley, invented by Harvey Ball an insurance agent, and developed the idea after his company sailed out of a rough patch. The colosseum , in the city of Rome depicting violent entertainment of that age. The Stonehenge still remains a mystery composed of earthworks in a circular arrangement.

Using an Analogy in Design
Analogical or metaphorical designs are the same as symbolic representation of words, however they are exclusively a step ahead by giving accurate hints directly proportionate to the idea behind its development. They are illustrious and hence memorable to any eye.


The examples above illustrate custom designed logos that would be perceived directly without having to use ‘words’ necessarily, hence grabbing attention on all parameters : symbolic , semantic and analogical. The symbol of a camera for photography, a lavender plant replaced by the letter ‘L’ and the idea itself of a desk in between desky are all effectively communicating the concept behind its development.

Final Tips on Creating a Good Logo

Symbols, Metaphors, Analogy most effective for a remarkable logo
Communication between the client, logo & audience, logo is most significant. Trends, colors may change from time to time but if the design lay out and logo with the correct intuition of its concept are in place then stylistic textures or typographical applications need updates only.

Previous designs, deleted images may help
Sketches and designs set up for a client, then scrapped should always be saved, as they may be applicable to future clients. Often custom logo designers have an archive for designs inapplicable to a certain client. Looking back in to these will always jog the imagination of a designer for new ideas or use existing with minimal changes.

Black & White
If it looks good in black and white, then colors are only addition. A blind emboss or full color will form a symbolic perspective and will work in any present or future application.

A custom logo design should be set up as a vector so that it can flex to a certain scale and vice versa without any issues. If it has to be minimized to the extent where you may lose data, which is ok as long as the message of the product or concept is loud enough and retain vital information. From a microscopic size to that of a giant billboard, a logo must be able to stretch without compromising on vital data.

Strike a balance
Check the logo from all corners. Look at it, rotate it clockwise counter clockwise. This way you may be able to fill gaps or extend the logo or check for recurrence of back ground pattern. You may also detect weakness in the logo and amend accordingly.

Ascertain Art
As a designer, you have to be different at all times. Coming up with unique ideas and then integrating them with symbolic logos and metaphors requires intuitive communication, mostly: visual, symbolic, word play. The intuition exercise will unlock the imagination you seek:

Get a piece of paper and a pen or pencil.
Ask yourself, “What does my life need right now?” three times in row, pausing between each question. Imagine you are going toward a more meaningful answer each time you ask.  When you’ve finished with the 3rd question, pick up your pen and draw one symbol on your paper.

Interpret this symbol. What does it suggest you add, subtract, or enjoy from your life?


A custom logo design works both ways. It can either make an impact or shake the foundations of imagination. The mere process would impart knowledge not only to develop but equivalently strategize a product or may influence personal life as well. You are as good as you sketch.

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