What's in a Logo?

David Oliver Art logo digital painting

Let’s face it. Logos are everywhere.


Logos are used by businesses and organizations and brands of all kinds. From massive global brands to mom and pop shops, to individuals, and the list goes on.


But what is a logo really? And why are they so prolific?


Normally at this point I’d turn to the dictionary so we have a commonly understood foundation for the ensuing conversation. However, in this instance I found the definition presented at the beginning of the Wikipedia article to be considerably more revealing.


According to Wikipedia,


“A logo (abbreviation of logotype, from Greek: λόγος logos "word" and τύπος typos "imprint") is a graphic mark, emblem, or symbol used to aid and promote public identification and recognition. It may be of an abstract or figurative design or include the text of the name it represents as in a wordmark.”


According to Oxford Living Dictionaries,


“A symbol or other small design adopted by an organization to identify its products, uniform, vehicles, etc.”


Meriam Webster simply defines logo as,


“An identifying symbol”


But why do we need a symbol to identify something? Don’t things just, you know, identify themselves?

David Oliver Art logo pencil sketch

Logos, or identifying symbols, help people to understand the source of a product, service, etc. in a crowded marketplace. They’re a way of helping people to differentiate between similar products, services, etc. But logos aren’t just for marketing. They’re also useful for fast and easy identification of a source in non-commercial endeavors—promoting a charitable cause, for example.


Finally, logos provide the opportunity to combine associations with identification. Associations, such as my logo resembling the twelve-petaled lotus flower associated with the heart chakra of Eastern mysticism. Associations like my logo’s star of David being associated with both the God of the Christians and the cosmic union of matter and spirit of the Hindus.


The point is that not only will a logo identify the source of someone or something, but it can also send a message or tell a story about it, if designed skillfully.


For my logo I wanted there to be a strong association with love and universal spirituality.


The human heart is commonly believed to be the seat of human love. Coincidentally, the Anahata, the heart chakra of Indian mysticism, is described as being located just near the anatomical heart and is associated with love, compassion and charity. That’s why I used it to symbolize that my art is for others—to inspire, motivate, educate, etc.

David Oliver Art Logo broken into elements

Universal spirituality, on the other hand, is trickier to symbolize. As I was exploring and contemplating my options I landed on the Star of David, also commonly called a hexagram, Shatkona, etc. This symbol is ancient and its usage spans many cultures. Aside from its perfectly appropriate name (my name being David) it’s nearly always associated with spirituality. Even though the specific spiritual associations can vary from culture to culture, the common, general association of spirituality is appropriate enough. Besides, my art does and will continue to touch upon a variety of human and spiritual values.

The dot in the center, the color purple, the circular framing—all have purpose based on associations as well as aesthetics… but I don’t want to give all of my secrets away.

Instead I’ll show you a couple of the logos I’ve designed for others. The first is the logo I designed for a client’s meditation and energy healing practice. The second is the logo I designed for author and self-publisher, Shelley Smith Jones.

If you're interested in a logo for your business, brand, etc. but not sure where to start please message me here.

Meditation business logo designed by David Oliver
Palomino Press logo designed by David Oliver

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