Branding – name and logo

About the relationship between brand name and logo.

We already know that the brand originates from the ancient custom of marking the goods, but its dimension is far more complex, and it transcends the limitations of a word or a symbol.

Let us stop for a moment on the “word” and its origin. People have always been fascinated by old things, whether they are fossils or antiques, we have the desire to explore the past and find out about how our ancestors lived.

What is the oldest word? Practical writing systems were attributed to the Sumerians over 5,500 years ago. Long after cave paintings, cuneiform writings represented the beginnings of more advanced civilizations. They have evolved from practical symbols for objects, to abstract writing that uses repetitive elements that no longer communicate form, but meaning. (see image no.2).

Left – plaque with Sumerian cuneiform writings aprox. 3100 B.C., Right – the evolution of cuneiform writing, the Assyrian period aprox. 1800 B.C., PhotoSource

The evolution of ancient cuneiform writing to Assyrian writing illustrates the tendency to give meaning to words through repetitive sound components, to the detriment of visual form. These symbols are called logograms and can represent both simple words (objects) and actions. In today’s time Japanese and Chinese characters are examples of logograms, and this type of writing is called logography.


Some scientists say that Egyptian hieroglyphs were inspired by the Sumerian writing, while some believe that both appeared at the same time. The history of the evolution of writing is an extremely complex one which shows us that writing is a “civilizing” tool and an intrinsic ability of humans.


Returning to the question of what was the first word, the researchers claim that the first spoken word was related to „danger”, and the first written word was related to the idea of “god”.

But we can’t really talk about words without referring to their graphical representation, and the first words are in fact abstract symbols, very different from the cave paintings that were ilustrating shapes of animals and objects.

True writing began with the alphabet, where the characters represent the sounds that make up the word. These characters are called phonograms, and compared to logograms, they only make sense when used with others.

It is assumed that the first civilization to invent the alphabet was the Phoenicians. They were organized in independent city-states along the Mediterranean coast, in the region that is today Syria, Lebanon and northern Israel. It is believed that the Phoenician alphabet was developed between 1700 and 1500 BC, followed by the Greek alphabet between 800 and 700 BC. H., and later on by the Latin alphabet.

Evolution of the alphabet, Photo Source.

We can observe the graphical simplification of the alphabet, but at the same time we recognize the complexity of the evolved level of thinking and perception of the world through words. Writing leads humanity to a new stage. Writing leads humanity to a new stage.

Logos is a word of Greek origin, a complex term in ancient philosophy, whose meaning encompasses several related concepts: argument, opinion, word, totality.
Throughout history, this term has acquired different nuances depending on the dogma of thinking.

Heraclitus is the first philosopher to use “logos” to describe an order of knowledge, later Aristotle used it in rhetoric for rational discourse, and the Stoics assimilated it to the creative-destructive universe.

The ancient Greeks believed that there are two methods of thinking and learning through: myths “mythos” – fabulous narratives – and through reason “logos” – logical and rational analysis of phenomena.

From left to right: Appolo (logos), the god of sun, order and rational thinking, Dionysus (mythos) the god of wine and dance, of irrational thinking and chaos, guided by emotions and instinct.

With the emergence of Christianity and the New Testament, “logos” also acquired the meaning of divinity. Carl Jung related the “logo” with the meaning of science and reason, as a term opposite to eros (mysticism, imagination).

In conclusion, “logos” is a broad but also ambiguous concept. There is no coincidence that this term was chosen in modern times to illustrate the visual symbol of a brand.

Starting from one of the basic meanings of “logos”, the word, we can easily guess the relationship between a brand name and logo.

The logo encompasses meaning, form and most of the time the word itself = brand name.

Depending on how they are built, logos are classified as follows:


Are made up only of text and they represent the brand name, examples: Google, Coca-Cola, Nokia, Samsung.
These types of logos are a good decision when the names are short and memorable. Although it consists exclusively of letters, the typographic logo does not lack originality and the artistic part. It can be stylized by shapes and colors (Visa, Nutella), which through the brand name itself acquires a strong status.


They consist of stylized initials and used to be very popular in medieval times. They were used by monarchs in signing official documents, in minting coins and sometimes even introduced as decorative elements in crowns.
An example of a monogram is the signature of the painter Albrecht Dürer formed by his initialsarranged in an ingenious way.

In the 19th century, the iconic fashion brands adopted this type of logo: Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci.

Other big brands, fans of the monogram logo are: Warner Brothers, Hewlett-Packard, General Electric, Volkswagen. The logo is composed of the initials of the name, and the sonority resulting from the joining of the letters produces memorable acronyms that represent the very identity of the company.

A characteristic of this type of logo is the easy way to remember the names of brands, especially for companies with long ones. The most eloquent example: NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration).



They use an independent symbol, which can be an abstract shape or a real object that has been stylized. Very popular brands that have managed to build a massive audience over time can afford to use this type of logo: Apple, Twitter, Shell Gas, Nike. These brands have kept in the logo only the symbol that has become emblematic and is instantly recognized by the public. Behind the symbol is always a story, nothing is accidental.


Some symbols talk aboutthe origin of the brand:


Shell – is the trading name for kerosene exported to the Orient by the London business of Marcus Samuel and Co. Before dealing with fuel transportation, the company sold antiques and shells brought from the Orient. In 1891 the name Shell was used as a trademark for fuel, later becoming the name of the “Shell Transport and Trading Company” which merged in 1907 with the “Royal Dutch Petroleum Company”, thus becoming the emblem and logo of the new business – Royal Dutch Shell Group.

The evolution of the logo from 1900 to the present. Photo Source

Other logos have embedded strong essences in them, even the brand mission:


Nike – the brand name is that of the Greek goddess of victory. She was also the patron saint of athletes, being a very popular deity in ancient Greece. The sculptures embodied her in the form of a slender, winged woman and were found both in public spaces and in the temples of the gods.

The brand’s mission is to do everything to expand human potential, so it is dedicated to active people and innovations in sports equipment. Along with the passion for sports, the brand has behind it a global team, constantly growing, whose goal is to bring a positive impact on the work environment but also in the community.
The whole description of the brand can be materialized in the concept of victory and perseverance.

Along with the inspired name of the brand, the stylized wing symbol, called “Swoosh”, completes the entire identity.
Carolyn Davidson, the creator of the symbol, was inspired by the shape of the wing of the goddess Nike, creating a logo with a double interpretation: victory and speed, which match perfectly with the brand’s equipment. The shape could be easily integrated into the design of the shoes, giving them an aerodynamic look.

Currently, the Nike logo consists only of the “Swoosh” symbol, a symbol recognized worldwide.


They consist of a typographic logo (the brand name) along with a visual element that can be an abstract symbol, a real stylized symbol or a mascot character (example of mascots: KFC, Lacoste, Michelin). This type of logo is a safe choice that helps to associate the symbol with the brand name and allows a varied construction.
Some of the symbol logos were originally combined logos (Shell, Nike).
In some cases they offer the possibility to use only the symbol, discarding the typographic part, examples: Timberland, Mercedes Benz, Vodafone.

Sometimes the tendency is to give up the symbol and keep the typographic part (KFC).

Not all logos are built by combining typography and a symbol.
To create an original and impactful visual unity, brands use smart and attractive combinations between text and form: Burger King, Doritos, Nestle.

Combined logos are a sure way to build a strong and memorable image, and are the best solution for brands that are just starting out.


These types of logos aim to evoke the tradition and the historical roots of the brand. The look is vintage, similar to seals and heraldic insignia. Educational institutions and various public organizations adopt this style of logo.
The beer brands are big fans of the emblematic logos: Stella Artois, Bavaria, Efes, Leffe. Also brands in the food industry adopt this type of logo, aiming to validate their tradition.

Interesting are also some cases of emblematic logos from the automotive industry: BMW, Harley – Davidson, and more recently Peugeot, which returned to the shape of the logo in 1960.

The emblematic logos are used by brands that have a long history and that want to bring to the front qualities such as prestige, tradition and durability.

And now comes the challenge for new businesses: choosing the direction of building the logo based on brand values ​​and the desire to stand out in the market.

Author: Ana Armeanu, July 2021