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A great corporate logo should, above all, be easily recognizable to its target market. In order to accomplish that goal, a company's logo must fit in with its branding message in as many ways as possible in terms of color, shape and style. Whether a corporate logo is abstract or more literal in its design, the color, shape and style of this important branding symbol should immediately set the business apart from any other company.
Color is often the first key element of corporate logos that can differentiate products in the same category. For instance, when buying a soda, a person aware of the different branding colors of Coke® and Pepsi® may automatically reach for the red color on a can of the first or the blue/white/red combination on one of the second, depending on his or her preference. The hue used in a corporate logo should always be the exact shade of the official company color.
When the element of shape is added to color, the result can make for very strong company branding. For example, the symbol of the two golden arches of McDonald's® restaurants creates the first letter, "M", of the name in the chain's signature branding color, yellow. Since the McDonald's® corporate logo symbol of the arches not only appears on all of its products and advertising, but also is architecturally used on its restaurant buildings, it forms a strong identity for the brand. People driving down a street or walking in a shopping area may easily recognize the symbol and consider going to the restaurant right then.
The element of style in corporate logos must also be kept consistent to help establish strong branding. For the typeface, or letters that spell out a company name, the same font and style used consistently keep the brand image recognizable by consumers. The Coca-Cola Company's handwritten script for its name and at&t's™ use of all lowercase letters are two examples of this type of branding style in a corporate logo.
While logos with wording spell out the company's name so it's clear to consumers, abstract corporate versions must rely on the consumer recognizing the images and associating them with a particular business. For instance, at&t's™ corporate logo without its letters is a white circle with blue horizontal striping. Many companies use corporate logos that feature both wording or letters as well as an image to be memorable to consumers, such as the John Deere name used with a deer graphic in its logo.