It is not a secret (recipe or otherwise) that Kentucky Fried Chicken became KFC to more easily (through truncation in branding) communicate an expanded menu and a healthier approach to fast food. We’ve even wondered whether KFC eventually may bow to an image of the Colonel with no words, as a non-verbal
As promised earlier this week, in my post entitled “Without Words, But Not Speechless: More On Non-Verbal Logos That Can Stand Alone,” here is my effort to identify, from a legal perspective, some of the pros and cons of non-verbal logos and other trademark styles.
But, before addressing the legal implications, it is worth noting that a number of our insightful readers and commenters already have helped articulate a variety of pros and cons from a business and marketing perspective, here. By my count, there appears to be consensus on at least two important points: (1) Having an iconic stand-alone non-verbal logo or wordless trademark symbol is highly desirable, especially for truly international brands; but (2) be prepared to spend a lot of time, effort, and significant resources to achieve one.
In addition, at least one designer has written that having a logo without words “can be a big branding pain,” for a variety of reasons. She identifies three basic logo styles: (1) Text logos; (2) symbol logos; and (3) combination logos. Examples of text logos would be the Coca-Cola script, the Yahoo! stylized word, and the Google stylized word, all three illustrated in my earlier post. The highly stylized Ebay logo is another good example of a text logo. On the other hand, the Shell logo, McDonald’s Golden Arches, and the Nike Swoosh, are all good examples of symbol logos. In addition, here is a message board collecting a number of other possible candidates for symbol logos that are capable of standing lone — without words — yet, they still have a lot to say to consumers. Many of them, in fact, were mentioned by commenters to my prior post.
Anyway, the designer referenced above contends that for a variety of reasons, combination logos often make the most sense. According to her, a combination logo “combines both a symbol and the company name. The symbol and text can be integrated together, side by side, or with one located above the other.”
Generally, from a trademark owner and legal perspective, I prefer the combination logo too, but not the “integrated” type, instead the “side by side” type or the “one above the other” type. The Mercedes-Benz combination logo shown below nicely illustrates the “one above the other” type of combination logo:
Why do I generally prefer this type of trademark logo format and style?