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Shapes & Colors - A marketers guide to decoding logos

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when I say Coca-Cola or Pepsi, Apple, Samsung or maybe McDonalds?

I can bet my two cents that it was not a product like cola drink, a phone, a TV, or a burger.

It was a LOGO!

Or was it that catchy tagline?

That’s just it. The thing about iconic brands is, that the first thing that they strike in our minds is the visual and sensory elements.

It’s simple really.

We are visual creatures

Even as kids we are taught to learn by visual association so that is just how our psychology works.

Our mind is trained to connect sounds with shapes & colors. It's no wonder that logo, shapes and music is what hits us way before registering a product.

It is the principle on which the entire concept of branding rests. Don't you think?

Let us take the basic

Pa para pa paa raa raa, pa para pa ra paa paa

You guessed it - Nescafe

I'm loving it

again right - McDonalds

No we need to "Think Different"

Or go with our instincts and Just Do it

Notice how your mind connects these things to identify the various brand elements?

Feaky! Right?

Also did you notice that every brand evokes a different emotion in you?

Very Freaky Indeed!

Lets move to the science behind it


Ever felt Grey? Red with anger? Bright with joy? Pink while blushing? Been to a dark place in your head?

You see it, don’t you?

The entire spectrum of feelings is comparable to a rainbow

It's just so obvious.

Once you see it, you can never go back!

Colors represent emotions. (or at least you’ll agree that they have a strong association)

Markets understand that and use a tool called emotional wheel

Brand colors are majorly decided by the purpose & personality of the company .

Pic credit -


A shape is one of the key factors that defines brand identity in a strong yet subliminal manner.

The human mind subconsciously relates various shapes with prime attributes.

These choices are based on biological & technological evolution, that has shaped our perception since the day we were born

Shapes can

  • Add depth and movements - Think FedEx Logo

  • Express moods and emotions - Think McDonalds Logo

  • Connect & Disconnect information - Think Amazon Logo

  • Guide the eyes across various elements - Think Cannon Logo

  • Highlight The key areas - Think IBM Logo

Each shape has a different meaning altogether

  • Circle – care, wholesomeness and completeness.

  • Rectangle/Square – proportion, balance, stability, professionalism & Protocol.

  • Triangles – scalability, adaptability, growth & Momentum.

  • Lines - Vertical lines denote masculinity, strength, aggression & power while horizontal lines denote femineity, tranquility, peace & calm.


A lot of organizations like Nike, Apple, Twitter, Toblerone, CNBC, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Nestle, Shell, Dove, WWF use unconventional logos for their brand representation.

Needless to stay that they have a very strong recall value.

To understand better, a brush up on gestalt’s theory would clear up the concept of these brands.

  • Amazon – Arrow from A to Z represents that they have everything

  • Fedex – See the arrow between EX? Well they do deliver.

  • VAIO – Analog to digital transformation

  • Boeing - The circle is our planet, the curve is aircraft’s route, and the triangle is a military fighter jet.

  • Toyota – The logo can form each alphabet of the brand. Also signifies completeness & Unity.

Mcdonalds, Disney, coca cola, Google, Ebay, Netflix, Visa, Cannon, Yahoo have their font play on. These logos are iconic because of the font and colors they use. This gives them the differentiation that sets them apart.

So what is your take on this?

I am sure that the next time that you will step into the market(or browse the web on your cellphone), you will see the world of logos with a new logic.

Share in the comment section, various logos and your interpretations of why they are, the way they are.

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