If you are considering rethinking the visual identity of your company, you may decide on new colours that could represent its history and style. That’s why it’s important to effectively combine colours and trademarks. Once the colours have been selected, the design should follow. As you’ll see below, some companies already know how to make symbols work with their brand.

Lines, shapes and symbols that decorate a product’s packaging and define the visual look of an organisation should be evocative. The chevron, for example, represents experience, skills and strength.

The public transportation agency in Montreal, the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), and the telecommunications company Videotron both chose the chevron for their logo. Videotron designed its chevron to look like an arrow which translates its “unconditional desire […] to lead the pack1” (unofficial translation). The STM designed two overlapping chevrons and stated that its logo “expresses mutual dialogue between the STM and its clients2” (unofficial translation).

Certain companies, on the other hand, don’t need to adapt graphic symbols to their logos because the link between the symbol meaning and the product it represents is strong. Have you already wondered why the Gatorade logo displays a lightning bolt? The meaning behind this symbol is power, speed and strength. The Bible even refers to it as balancing energy. If we take the argument a step further, on a spiritual level, the light produced by lightning encourages self-contemplation and focus. This is pretty well done when we consider that Gatorade is an energy drink targeting for the most part athletes and active people.

Other companies use symbols very cautiously. When looking quickly at the FedEx logo, chances are your eye will only see the first level, which is the five letters that make up the company’s name. But if you look harder at the white space between the “E” and the “x” in “Ex,” you’ll see a white arrow pointing to the right, toward the future. Subliminal message? Graphic genius?

After all, the arrow symbolizes the path that leads to a fixed objective, the end of a path. Moreover, for the arrow’s path to be precise and fast, the shooter must aim well. So if it is a coincidence, it’s right on!

It’s interesting to see how companies use symbols and other graphic representations. Especially on packaging made of sleeve labels, since sleeves can cover the entire container. That leaves you a lot of room to express your company’s values.

In my next blog post, I’ll suggest a list of different symbols and their possible meaning in a packaging context.

1Vidéotron, communiqué de presse du 11 août 2004