Everywhere we look we are bombarded by propaganda. People are shoving products and product endorsements down our throats. It seems obvious, but the psychological impact it has on all of us is much more extreme than we may think. It would seem the only way to get away from this constant corporate conditioning would be to live in the woods.
An analysis of a logo and its job.
Logos have two purposes for a company. The first is to announce who or what a company is, and the second is for brand recognition. When a design firm or marketing firm sets out to create a logo they have a few things they may need to consider. Is there marketing evidence or testing that needs to be incorporated into the logo? Are there any psychological “tricks” they can use for better branding; such as the incorporation of negative space or specific colors. The biggest challenge is to make something easily recognizable.
How a logo is made
Assuming the above factors are considered the next task will be to consider what does the company do? Do they sell products en-masse? Does the logo need to represent a location? If the firm’s challenge is to make a simple logo for say a delivery company; what can they do to express timely delivery as well as safe and secure delivery? For that I would say that the FedEx logo does an excellent job of creating a feeling of trustworthy and speedy delivery. But how does the logo accomplish this?
FedEx is able to achieve the feeling of speed with a subliminal arrow between the E and the X. If you think this is just coincidence you would be wrong; the design firm that made the logo placed the arrow in the white space quite intentionally. Most people don’t see the arrow but their subconscious will. Given the FedEx logo is a more extreme version of subliminal marketing than most. However logos and ads are everywhere and the more we see of them the more we are exposed to their wants. We are more likely to buy a product of a particular company when our attention is not focused on an ad.
In any given day one can find themselves exposed to a company’s product over 20 times. Wake up to the radio and hear an ad. Read the morning newspaper another 2-3 ads. Drive to work and one may see another 5 instances of advertising. Then there is exposure from TV, magazines and the internet. Eventually the subconscious will start to register that one needs the brand X product. This is the reason why large companies are so successful at pushing their products and controlling what we wear, drive, eat, and see is because it is plastered everywhere. It used to be that advertising companies would insert subliminal messages in movies and television shows. This was put to a halt however do to the unfair advantage it gave a company over the unsuspecting public.
Derren Brown does an excellent job at using subliminals and subconscious cues in his work. In fact the video below illustrates Derren’s ability to influence, those that create company identities. He uses their very own measures and techniques that bombard us against them.
Despite all of this I am not suggesting that companies and logos are pure evil. Instead I ask for a more conscious awareness of these corporate messages. If we as a public can broaden our awareness and perceptions of these displays; we can better react to them. Understand what graphic designers and marketers do is incredibly involving and complex work. Company identity and marketing are good things. However the extent to which the major companies use it is borderline criminal. Ads often prey upon the weak willed as well as those just drudging through their daily tasks. If we can but raise one person’s awareness on how companies control them then we are one step closer to being able to think for ourselves.