Pictorial marks or simply drawings comprise of everything from line art to detailed drawings that uses actual imagery as an identifier for a brand instead of the word mark or symbol. Pictorial mark logos often take the status of iconic logos such as Apple that showcases an image to make a quicker connection with the audience due to an already recognizable image. Luckily pictorial mark logos can be universal symbols for a brand and do not require any explanation regardless of language or culture.
Moreover, they have profound importance when it comes to adding a background story to a brand. Apple’s first logo, designed by Ron Wayne, depicted Sir Isaac Newton sitting under an apple tree. This logo was immediately replaced by a rainbow apple, designed by Rob Janoff. The motive behind a bitten apple was so that people don’t confuse it with a cherry.
Another iconic pictorial mark is that of Starbucks. Even if you avoid the active social culture and live in a cave, I can bet you’ve still seen the logo perhaps on a discarded cup, or as a meme.
Well, that is a fan-made story. The actual logo is inspired from the woodcut of a siren (a mermaid with 2 fishtails) from the 16th century and the original logo was brown instead of green.
Can Pictorial marks become iconic logos?
Since they are the visual symbols for a brand, they are more readily recognized for what they represent. In fact, pictorial marks have a better chance to becoming iconic logos than word marks. There is a popular argument that a logo is essentially a symbol but that is far from true. A logo becomes a symbol for a company’s identity in the long run. Ideally, pictorial mark logos are able to create associations between the brand and consumer through literal or abstract imagery.
Why use pictorial mark?
Emerging branding or recent startups consider the idea of a pictorial mark logo a gamble. There is a possibility it can work for the brand or backfire. However certain consideration would enable brands to minimize failure.
Choose a pictorial mark that narrates a unique story. Or narrate a story with a pictorial mark and repeat it until a time people start to develop an association with your brand and recall the story.
When crafting a pictorial logo, try to gain perspective from multiple aspects and look beyond the social and cultural context. For brands that wish to establish their presence internationally, they cannot risk confusing or offending their overseas audience. Before expanding their brand to unexplored cultures, they must make sure the pictorial mark is not mistaken for something else.
Conflicts of interest
One pictorial logo should not present a jumble of ideas. Trying to combine symbols results in overload and possibly present conflicting ideas. An iconic logo with a unified message has better chances of clicking to the larger audience.
With those tips in mind, let’s explore the pictorial mark logos that gained recognition.