Famous Brands

Ten Examples Of People Logos That Humanize Famous Brands

Feature Image Source: iStock/cienpies

Big brands may seem to have a wall around them. They’re inaccessible, often not particularly interactive, and if you try to contact them, they won’t send you anything but a form letter.

At least, that’s what it seems like a lot of the time. As a matter of fact, brands interacting with their customers on social media has never been more common. Statistics indicate that over one in every three internet users turn to social media when searching out more information on any given brand. So it’s really to the advantage of any brand to appear friendly and, well, human.

The People Talk Logo
Image Source: LogoDesignGuru

Famous brands tend to have a fairly big PR sector in order to carry that out. But, even before we get to that point, there’s something else that many brands do to start the “humanization” ball rolling, so to speak.

That something else is a logo that includes people.

Why Use A People Logo?

As a species, we are always looking for something to identify with. In entertainment, stories in the news, and in the people we meet, we search out traits that we recognize and respond to.

Companies are more successful and effective when they present identifiable traits to their potential customers. These traits are communicated through branding. Branding is all about the personality of a company: what it stands for, what it offers, what it does, who it helps, and how it communicates.

A people logo gives that personality a “face.” It turns the company from a faceless entity to a persona with likeable qualities.

It doesn’t have to be a complete person — logos don’t always leave a lot of room for the complete detail that would be required. Good examples of partial portraits include such branding juggernauts as Kentucky Fried Chicken and Quaker Oats.

People logos don’t have to be “traditional” portraits, either. Just think of Good Will’s Lego-esque logo. And the “people” in the portrait are sometimes more like stylized ideations, such as the smiles from Amazon and Pepsi.

And sometimes, you may not even realize that you’re looking at a “people” logo until you take a closer look — and sometimes more than one.

Resilience Education And Adventure Logo
Image Source: LogoDesignGuru

Whatever the case, whatever the style, whatever the logo, here are ten examples of logos that include the human element, lending a friendly face to famous brands.

Mascot Or Character People Logos

Mascots are one of the easiest ways to humanize a brand. Mascots give the consumers a direct person to identify with, someone who likely has feelings and motivations just like theirs.

And while mascots are often thought of as being animals, albeit often with a human range of emotions, choosing a human “mascot” makes it even easier for a customer to identify with the brand.

A human mascot or a representational character, or characters, is a great way for a company to say, “Look! We’re people, just like you.”

Kentucky Fried Chicken

This is definitely one of the more famous examples of a character mascot. The Colonel is so well known that parodies of him pop up all over, and his newest incarnation is even played by Reba McEntire.

In terms of the logo itself, however, the traditional design varies a little. But whether it’s a circle or a “bucket” shape, the feature is the smiling face of Colonel Sanders, with his trademark bow tie, glasses, and goatee.

KFC Logo

Colonel Sanders, based on the originator of KFC, is a smart choice to keep as the logo and the mascot. Not only is he the internationally-recognized face of KFC, he also exudes a feeling of down-home old-world charm, giving KFC, as one of the biggest brands in fast food, a likeable face.

Quaker Oats

The well-known “Quaker Oats man,” meanwhile, isn’t based on any particular person, but rather an amalgam of positive personality traits designed to be appealing to the viewer.

Quaker Logo

The logo actually got its beginning way back in 1877, with a full-length image of the original Quaker Oats mascot.

Nowadays, the Quaker logo is just a portrait of the Quaker Oats man, usually in full color. There’s a lot of history to the mascot, so it isn’t surprising that Quaker has chosen to stick with the same basic logo, albeit with some updates through the years.

Wendy’s

Wendy’s is another fast food chain that has chosen to use a friendly face to create a mascot easy to identify with, and it works. Wendy’s is enduringly one of the most popular chains in the United States.

Wendy Logo

Though Wendy herself has gone through a few updates through the years, much like the Quaker Oats man, the basics remain the same: snub-nosed, friendly face, freckles, and two red pigtails.

Foot Locker

Foot Locker may not be one of the first logos that come to mind when you think of famous logos that include people. The referee in Foot Locker’s logo is a little less of a mascot or character and more of a representation of the standards and values of the company as a whole.

Foot Locker Logo

But that’s exactly the function of a logo: it should send a message. And given that Foot Locker is one of the biggest retailers of athletic footwear, choosing an honorable, market-appropriate mascot for a logo is a smart choice.

Stylized People Logos

Comodita Logo
Image Source: LogoDesignGuru

Not all people logos are immediately apparent. And not all of them are a whole person, either. These logos belonging to some world-famous brands use highly stylized versions of human features, which still manage to evoke the same feeling of commonality with the consumer.

Amazon

Amazon’s logo has morphed a bit over the years, but the current one includes a very humanizing “people-inspired” design choice: a roguish smile.

Amazon Logo

It’s a pretty accurate reflection of the expression we usually wear when we get a package in the mail, so on the whole it’s a great logo choice for this company!

Starbucks

You can trace the evolution of Starbucks’ siren logo through the years, but some things have remained constant: though the siren is obviously part fish, she still retains the serene human smile we’ve grown accustomed to.

Starbucks Logo

This logo is a favorite for its dedication to a vintage-inspired classiness, and at the same time the human aspect of the siren still gives us a “personality” to latch on to.

Goodwill

Goodwill’s partial-face logo is very stripped down and simple, and seems to be inspired by the Lego man.

Goodwill Logo

Little more than a stylized line drawing with a dot for the eye and a smile, the Goodwill mascot still manages to evoke the calm and peaceful feeling of having done something positive for someone else.

LG

LG goes the extra mile with its logo, combining the letters of the company name to form a winking, smiling face.

LG Logo

It’s super-stylized and super-simple, but it’s also effective on a lot of levels, giving a friendly, inviting face to a big brand without a lot of details.

Hidden People Logos

Sometimes, people logos are so stylized or so simplified that you may not even realize that you’re looking at a people logo until you take another glance.

These two brands are classic examples.

Pepsi

Pepsi, much like the example of Amazon above, has almost hidden its human features within its logo. But the company’s description of its own branding makes it clear: that “swoosh” in the middle of the Pepsi globe is a stylized human smile.

Pepsi Logo

While this isn’t a traditional choice as compared to a lot of the people logos listed here, it is still based around the choice of a human element to give a humanizing effect to a big brand.

Tostitos

Tostitos is a great example of a “hidden” people logo. You may never have realized that there are even people involved at all — until now.

The two “inside” Ts in the brand name are stylized to become two friends, sharing chips and a bowl of salsa.

Tostitos Logo

This is one of our favorite examples because it isn’t quite as obvious as many of the more traditional “mascot” people logos, but it still definitely raises a smile once you realize what’s hidden in the logo.

The Overall Effectiveness Of People Logos

As the examples above have shown, using a person, or multiple people, in a company logo can go a long way to creating an extra connection between the consumer and the brand. This is especially important for bigger brands that have to fight the “corporate juggernaut” cliche.

People In Supply Chain Logo
Image Source: LogoDesignGuru

But people logos are effective for brands of any size, for many of the same reasons. Whether to establish a character or mascot, to create a personal connection, or just to raise a smile, including the human element in your logo is definitely worth consideration.

Market research nerd with a penchant for graphic design and branding. A digital marketer by profession; a creature of the web by compulsion.

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