Why cognitive neuroscience can be the key to a more recognised brand

There is usually more to the success of a great logo than meets the eye that we are not even aware of.

Our brains use cognitive neuro-science to determine much of what we smell, taste or see, and then from those senses it retrieves the related information. For example, if you smell smoke, your brain tells you there is a fire nearby, though a slightly different smoke smell might mean the roast is burning! Your brain keeps a memory of each scene, which is triggered at certain instances in your environment.

Much the same way, pattern recognition is an element of your cognitive process that recognises shapes and determines what they are.

For example, traffic warning signs such as GIVE WAY, or STOP signs have different shapes so our brain recognises them even before we read them. Pattern recognition also plays a big part in how you recognise the difference between a person you know and one you don’t, but then when you meet a person your brain stores their pattern in your semantic memory, so next time you see them you recognise them.

So when it comes to your logo design, elements such as the shape, colour and typeface used are all stored in the viewers semantic memory, and retrieved from visual sensory information. For example, you might be driving down the road and see a McDonald’s sign and start to feel hungry!

And you’ll often find that many brand logos have been carefully devised so we instantly recognise them

immediately as our brains are hard-wired to identify their unique shape or colour. Brands such as McDonald’s and Coca-Cola even have their own custom-designed colours for this reason. Brand consistency means that the brand is more easily and more instantly retrieved by the consumers semantic memory. Imagine if Coca-Cola suddenly changed the colour of their soda cans from Red to Blue… most people would either not immediately recognise it, or at first glace think it was Pepsi.

Research has shown us that our brains will recognise the shape of an object before the actual language, and then once it recognises the shape, it starts breaking the information down by colour, and then the text.

Think about when you go to the supermarket and your looking for an Apple. You immediately know the difference between an Apple and a Banana because of the shape, and then you can tell the difference between two difference kinds of Apples due to their colour.

What differentiates your logo from your competitors is its point of difference, so usually you will find the simpler the logo design, and in particular the overall shape, the more easily it is recognised.

This is why symbols and basic colours work so well as part of your logo, because our brains take longer to process more involved elements such as the millions of colours available, or deciphering of text based objects into words before it recognises them.

So, the next time you are considering a new logo or a rebrand, maybe take these points into consideration.

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