Even young children understand the power of brands and trademark symbols before they can read.

Years ago, when my children were at the ripe young age of wondering (and maybe caring) what my job was, I’d try to explain the kinds of things a trademark attorney might do. Of course, I didn’t tell them some view trademark types as “the most basic figure.”

It took a while to find a message that stuck with them. What finally got through was when I posed a hypothetical question, asking whether they liked eating at the Golden Arches, and what they would think if they couldn’t get a Happy Meal there because it wasn’t McDonalds after all, but some other restaurant using the Golden Arches too. They were outraged this could ever happen.

So, the Golden Arches can probably stand alone.

Here is another non-verbal logo that can truly stand alone:

Yes, it functions as an exceedingly strong and probably famous brand and trademark with no further explanation or word mark to support it (and to not undermine my point, I’ll refrain from uttering the four letter brand name firmly linked to it in our minds).

What do you think about this one?

(As you may recall, Dan previously posted on a different topic related to this logo here).

I’d respectfully suggest that when the hang-tag attached to the luggage item bearing this logo is closely supported by a lot of words like SWISSGEAR, WENGER, and FROM THE MAKER OF THE GENUINE SWISS ARMY KNIFE, the logo is having a tough time standing alone and probably needs a trademark support group.

By the way, anyone notice the resemblance to the flag of Switzerland?

How about the International or American Red Cross?

Last thought, for now, concerning non-verbal logos, really:

Don’t brand owners need to “name” their non-verbal logos, especially those that “stand alone,” otherwise how can anyone spread the word, so to speak?

For example, Nike seems to have figured this out, owning federal trademark registrations for the word SWOOSH (in connection with footwear and clothing items), separate and apart from what is known as the “Swoosh” Logo.

McDonalds similarly owns a federal registration for the words THE GOLDEN ARCHES for restaurant services.

I’m not sure there is a suitable, brief and unique name for the Wenger logo shown above, perhaps that is part of the reason for the “FROM THE MAKER OF THE GENUINE SWISS ARMY KNIFE” tag line?

Wenger describes their non-verbal logo in recent trademark filings this way: “The mark consists of a chrome colored cross on a red square with rounded edges, outlined by a chrome colored square with rounded edges.”

I think this just proved my point.