Saturday, September 6, 2014

Logos and Publishing Houses: Why the Need for Words?


by
Scott D. Parker

Another week of writing the same way I mentioned last week, so my mind drifted a bit this week. Football season started on Thursday and starts in earnest tomorrow. I’m talking NFL, of course, but the college guys are already on the gridiron. It’s got me thinking about logos.

With the NFL, lots of sites on the internet--SI.com; NBC Sports, etc.--make predictions about the upcoming season. My favorite, bar none, is Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback. I do not consider my weekend football complete until I’ve ready King’s column on Monday. He’s just about the best in the long-form sports journalism that I know.

Anyway, these sites make their predictions for the upcoming seasons and most of them use the team logo to indicate which team they think will advance to the playoffs. Here’s a shot of all 32 logos:


What I’ve always appreciated in a logo is the conveying of a message without letters. Most of the NFL teams (21 out of 32) do not use any form of a letter. Why do I like that? Frankly, I don’t like having things spelled out for me.

Publishing houses are different. Google “publishing house logos” and you will get a lot of them...and they almost all have words associated with them. When I think of logos for publishing houses that have a graphic, I can only think of three: Simon and Schuster, Random House, and Penguin.

pub47

pub7

Penguin press

Penguin’s the only one that can stand on it’s own but it’s so on the nose, it doesn’t need words to help the uneducated.

I wonder why that is? Why do logos for publishing houses almost always come with words? You don’t need words for AT&T, Mercedes Benz, or Pepsi.

What do y’all think of logos? Are publishing houses an inherently different animal and words are needed?

3 comments:

John McFetridge said...

Well, publishing, of course, is all about words so it does seem different. Most logos (especially ose created in the last thirty years or so) are used for brand-awareness around the world so they have to be understood in many languages. Not so for publishers which only need to be understood by the one language in which its books are published.

The one sports logo I really think doesn't need the letters is the Toronto Maple Leafs. But of course, it doesn't need the spelling mistake, either.

Anonymous said...

HarperCollins has something that MIGHT be a water and flame logo ...?

Kristi B.

Scott Parker said...

John - Agreed on the words. Yeah, I pretty much thought that, but still wanted to poll readers. Never considered the "publishers which only need to be understood by the one language in which its books are published" thing. Good point.

Kristi - The HC logo is a new one. Ironically, except for Penguin and Random House, when I see one of those logos, I go "I know that's a publisher, but I can't remember which one."