You can say a lot with a logo

Nancy Anderson
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You may have noticed from some of my posts on this blog that I have a fascination with logos. Like advertising, logos can be highly effective ways for companies and organizations to communicate what they're about to their customers, competitors and the general public. You recall the old saying, "a picture is worth a thousand words?" Well, a logo is a pictorial representation of a business or organization.

One of the most elegant and effective logos I've run across in some time is that of the retail industry's leading trade association, the National Retail Federation. The logo is simple: a red chevron pointing forward - a signal that the group is working to advance its industry's interests and promote its growth. But a closer look shows that the chevron is a little out of balance: its bottom leg is longer than its top one. And breaking through that top leg is a little cutout semicircle, with another one offset behind it. Oops! Or rather, clever! You're not looking at an arrow, you're looking at a shopping bag, as it might be carried by a busy shopper rushing from store to store.

So in three simple strokes, the NRF's logo captures an entire sentence: The federation is an organization devoted to promoting the retail industry and helping retail stores grow and prosper.

More common are memorable logos that reference the company's name, like those of Apple, Coca-Cola, and McDonald's - the last of these also a reference to the company's distinctive architecture of days gone by. Then there are those, such as those of Starbucks, Nike, and Macy's, that bear no obvious relation either to the company's name or its products or purpose - their ubiquity and familiarity alone cause viewers to make the association.

Do you have a logo or logos that you find particularly memorable or effective? How might you represent yourself if you could design a personal logo? Share your thoughts in the comments.

By Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith has been blogging for since 2010. In addition to launching award-winning newspapers and newsletters at the University of Pennsylvania and Widener University, Sandy is a veteran writer whose articles and essays have appeared in several local and regional media outlets, including The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia CityPaper, and PGN, and on several Web sites. He is also an active participant on several discussion boards, including, where he posts as “MarketStEl.” He has been supporting himself through a combination of freelance and part-time work and unemployment compensation since early 2009 and is himself an active job-seeker. Read more of his posts on and follow him to Nexxt for more job opportunities.



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