logo designs in a design book on a desk

Descriptive vs Non-Descriptive Logos: Which Kind is Most Effective?

logo designs in a design book on a desk

Entrepreneurs confront several problems when starting a small business. From writing a business enterprise plan to getting buyers, figuring out a product or provider line, hiring staff members, making a site, and a lot more, business owners have their palms comprehensive.

So it’s not astonishing that quite a few company house owners don’t spend significantly time choosing color schemes and fonts when branding their company.

But, this turns out to be a blunder due to the fact there is much more to shades and fonts than fulfills the eye.

A well-intended company logo creates worth.

Your brand is the ubiquitous representative of your small business. It will not just surface on your website or products packaging. Your logo can be anywhere – on storefront signage, branded social content, billboard advert, enterprise report, and business playing cards.

Experiments have shown that the simplicity or complexity of a brand can impact investor funding conclusions and brand fairness. And considerably, regardless of whether you observe symbol design and style developments, your logo impacts client psychology and manufacturer overall performance.

But how do you pick the great symbol for your organization? And should your symbol be descriptive or nondescriptive?

Descriptive vs. nondescriptive logos

A modern research analyzed 597 logos to figure out whether descriptive logos had been greater than nondescriptive logos. The analyze concluded that total, descriptive logos had a extra substantial positive influence on product sales than nondescriptive logos. But, the benefits weren’t complete, and there are noteworthy explanations why you may possibly decide on just one model over another.

Let’s look at the crucial results from the examine:

1. About 60% of firms made use of a nondescriptive brand, whilst 40% used a descriptive logo

A descriptive logo utilizes both (or each) text and visual structure features to obviously (some may well say, practically) talk a kind of merchandise or service a organization is advertising and marketing. Consider of the Burger King or Dominos Pizza logos. The two are popular and timeless symbol layouts that have mass attractiveness.

Burger King and Domino's Pizza logos


Nondescriptive logos do not point out the sort of product or service or company these brand names promote. Feel McDonald’s golden arches or Adidas’ three stripes – if not for their world-wide reputation, their logos don’t explain to you nearly anything about those companies’ items.

McDonald's and Adidas logos

2. Shoppers normally prefer descriptive logos

In one particular of the group experiments, the researchers randomly assigned individuals to just one of two teams.

One group was proven a descriptive emblem of a sushi restaurant, although the other group was revealed a nondescriptive emblem of the same cafe. Each emblem experienced a equivalent small description of the cafe.

Following examining the description of the cafe and soon after viewing their assigned logos, the contributors were being requested as a result of a Likert scale scoring procedure about the brand’s authenticity and how favorably they viewed the restaurant.

After evaluating the responses from the two teams, the researchers identified that contributors in the descriptive brand team found the brand name much more authentic and favored it far more than individuals in the nondescriptive logo group.

The researchers additional unveiled that customers also uncovered it simpler to visually approach descriptive logos and comprehend the brand’s merchandise or company.

In accordance to the scientists, providers with descriptive logos:

  • Appeared extra reliable to prospects
  • favorably impacted how consumers seen the manufacturer
  • amplified consumers’ willingness to invest in
  • Enhanced profits

3. A descriptive brand is additional very likely to make improvements to manufacturer overall performance

In yet another analyze, the scientists experimented with to uncover the influence of a descriptive vs. nondescriptive brand on a company’s net product sales.

1st, the staff acquired money information and facts (such as web income, marketing and R&D paying out, and total assets) for 423 B2C (business-to-buyer) makes.

They then collected the collaborating companies’ logos and requested exploration assistants — who were unaware of the reason of the review — to establish which logos have been descriptive or nondescriptive. Investigate assistants also assigned 13 other style traits (these as symmetry, form, and color) as command variables.

Using regression investigation, researchers explored the effect a descriptive or nondescriptive logo has on a company’s net income.

The outcomes confirmed that a descriptive emblem has a “greater favourable result on sales than a nondescriptive one.”

The scientists examined their results on the logos of 174 early-stage startups by delivering logos and products descriptions to 2,630 individuals. They once more identified that descriptive logos were a lot more normally related with a greater willingness to purchase.

4. The power of a descriptive symbol is not absolute

Not each and every model gains from a descriptive symbol.

The analysis staff located this by evaluating the outcomes of a descriptive emblem for brands that are familiar vs. unfamiliar to customers.

They noticed that whilst a descriptive symbol positively afflicted model equity for both of those acquainted and unfamiliar brand names, “the magnitude of this good impact was significantly lesser for the familiar manufacturers.”

This phenomenon, the review describes, takes place simply because consumers by now familiar with a model now know a lot about it. Consequently, they could be fewer probably to be influenced by the symbol layout. As a substitute, their buying selections are influenced by purchaser knowledge or the goods or products and services.

The scientists also observed that descriptive logos experienced “a adverse impact on makes that market merchandise or products and services related with unfortunate or disagreeable matters, like palm oil, funeral residences, and bug repellents.” These types of descriptive logos are negatively connected with deforestation, loss of life, and bug bites.

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5. Use at the very least 1 descriptive aspect in your symbol

The researchers recommend that business enterprise proprietors consist of at minimum “one textual and/or visible design aspect that is indicative of the kind of merchandise or provider your corporation offers.”

For instance, a coffee store operator must take into consideration a brand design and style that features a espresso cup or iconography to characterize warm steam climbing from a cup.

Or, if a small business owner wishes to open up a bookstore, consider a brand layout that makes use of the symbol of a e-book or a stack of publications (even if it’s to some degree summary).

But this obtaining does arrive with a caveat.

Suppose your corporation is in an marketplace associated with damaging ideas (see the discussion about palm oil and bug repellents earlier mentioned). In that situation, a nondescriptive symbol is likely a much better choice for you.

Nondescriptive logos are also improved for companies with various, generally unrelated, business segments. Amazon, Procter & Gamble, and the Walt Disney Firm are very good illustrations.

These conglomerates frequently have distinctive solutions or solutions below one particular umbrella. So, a descriptive solution may well render their logos to seem visually crowded, unappealing, and perplexing.

Moreover, makes that do not want to be solely involved with a precise solution need to steer clear of descriptive logos.

For instance, a natural beauty and skincare organization that offers more than one particular formula could possibly have a greater chance of working with a basic wordmark brand.

And if you’re rebranding, think about how your existing branding demonstrates your solutions and providers. Dunkin’ Donuts, for instance, eliminated the phrase “Donuts” from its descriptive symbol for the reason that it desired to diversify its goods and become more connected with other (more healthy) solution possibilities, these types of as bagels.

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6. A descriptive brand is not a branding household run

The researchers were being cautious to take note that they are

not contending that a descriptive emblem assures the profitable start of a manufacturer, or that the logo is the most significant brand name element to take into consideration.

Between other matters, the research did not evaluate how descriptiveness has an effect on makes with numerous solutions and providers.

And it did not contemplate how initially descriptive logos evolved by way of the many years into less descriptive or non-descriptive logos.

But the review did emphasize the relevance for marketers, business owners, and enterprise house owners to be more strategic in their branding choices. Weak branding can be a pricey oversight.