02 - 01 - 18

Logo Or No-go?

From the symbolic Apple logo to the golden arches of McDonalds, many of the world's largest companies are instantly recognisable. For a majority of consumers, theses logos are part of their daily lives and create an instance connection between them and the business.

But what about when it comes to smaller businesses who don’t have millions to spend on branding? Should a sign always include the company logo or in some cases can the logo be left out?

In this article, we explore these questions and focus on whether or not a logo is always necessary.

No Logo

In 1999, journalist Naomi Klein released the best-selling book ‘No Logo’ in which she argued that the emphasis on branding and logos had gotten out of control.

Klein highlighted companies who had taken to branding themselves as purveyors of abstract concepts rather than material goods. For example, Starbucks doesn’t sell coffee, it sells community. Nike’s slogan “Just Do It,” sells confidence rather than trainers.

However, there are some companies that seem to have agreed with Klein’s disapproval of over-the-top branding and have advocated for minimalist branding with little to no logos.

One such company is the online marketplace Esty - which is seen as an alternative to retail giants eBay and Amazon. Etsy showcases itself as a more personal community driven website which emphasises the human side of business. The humble nature of Esty is embodied by its logo, which is very modest and uses a basic font inside an orange box. This is a perfect example of a company not over-thinking and keeping its branding simple without using an additional logo on its signage or website.

When designing certain signs at Identity, we’re very conscious to avoid overloading our customers with too much detail when it’s not needed. Sometimes just like Esty, less is more and wayfinding signage is a prime example of that. Wayfinding signage uses multiple lines of text and information as it needs to be fully accessible and understood while maintaining relevant branding and striking design.

When a customer arrives at your office, be it a small, one-level office or a multi-storey office block, once they’ve found their way in, you’d expect them to know where they are. This is when brand reinforcement and brand recognition are key and so keeping all signage elements in a uniformed structure helps.

Identity recently designed, fabricated and installed wayfinding signage at Pacific House in Eastbourne, which tied in perfectly using the aforementioned uniformed structure. The exterior signs display the name of the building and gives a glimpse of the branding, which is reflected in the style of the internal branding elements. Identity opted to not display the logo internally, as Pacific House is not a retail entity per se, it houses other businesses. In this instance, displaying logos on every sign would detract from the businesses that pay for their space.


What happens when a company decides it wants to emphasise its branding and logo with their signage?

In 2015, Identity successfully secured the nationwide contract with Coffee Republic to provide their exterior signage and interior branding for a projected 90 stores over a 3 year period.

The Coffee Republic’s signage work is a good example of when a company can use its logo to successfully express its values and freshen things up. Emphasising its logo with fresh new vibrant signage helped Coffee Republic stand out from the crowd. This was especially important for a coffee shop chain as the coffee trade is a particularly competitive and crowded marketplace.

For many companies and brands, logos can change and evolve over long periods of time. Usually, this is to reflect changes in people's taste or in order to prolong the life of a product or service.

Founded by Caleb Bradham in the 1890s and was originally called Brad’s Drink, the name Pepsi Cola didn’t appear until its first logo in 1898 and wasn’t trademarked until 1903. Although the brand’s name hasn’t changed since, its logo has undergone a number of tweaks and major revamps.


Logos are an important part of a company’s brand but at the same time, people will not only assess you not on the strength of your logo but on the quality of your product or service. This means even though the Starbucks mermaid logo is iconic and well known they wouldn't be successful if its coffee was not liked by millions of people.

Identity has worked with various companies who have benefited from simple wayfinding signs without logos to companies who have had its logo seen by millions of people. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with any signage situation with or without a logo.