In order to discuss the general function of the logo, we must firstly identify and define the environment where this will have to fulfil its function. The environment is called brand and the definition is as follows: the brand is a collection of ideas and images, a collection that constitutes an undivided whole meant to transmit and sustain the values of a company, a product or a service. As you have noticed, this definition has brought into discussion two defining elements: idea and image. I’d like to emphasize that it is important to follow this order: ideas come first and images are born out of ideas to visually represent them. Once we have known the environment and its definition, we can discuss about the functions that the logo must fulfil.
The first function: the logo defines and incorporates values.
The logo must be designed according to the values which we want it to transmit. As the visual impact can mean much more than a description and the logo will [probably] be the most important visual element, it is recommended that it is given its due importance.
The second function of the logo is to communicate values.
The logo does the communication between the company and the consumer and, besides the product itself, it is the first element that presents the service provider.
The third function of the logo is to represent values.
The logo represents a company, an association or another [mainly] legal entity.
Let’s recapitulate – we have identified three major functions of the logo:
– it defines values
– it communicates values
– it represents values
The functions of the logo never change; they only exist. In order to efficiently explore them, the logo must be relevant. In the case of a company, it must be relevant both for the institution, the product or the service provider and for the market. In the case of a non-profit institution, the logo must be relevant for the institution and for the socio-cultural environment.
The conclusion: the logo must be suggestive, but not too open to interpretation. The message that it transmits must be ambiguous enough but without leaving room to wrong interpretations. The functions of the logo can be neither negotiated, nor influenced. They begin to work along with the social exposure of the logo. All we can do is to establish relevant values and constantly sustain them.