Modification of brands



Visual Communication

The essay for my Intermediate Project (Zwischenprüfung) deals with changes in the meaning of figurative logos. The image brands we know today have developed over a long period of time. By convention iconic symbols became symbols. The symbols are given meaning by companies. The customer learns the meaning of the symbols through the relevant advertising, so the consumer associated the logo with the company. But why do companies with an established brand image change their logos?


The area of design has no independent scientific theories to explain these processes in visual communication. Therefore it is necessary to use other scientific theories. But are the theoretical ideas about semiotics in language are transferable to visual communication? Can something about the language be transferred to „images“ – and – in what way can they explain the change of visual signs? To answer this question, I have chosen the theories of Ferdinand de Saussure and Charles Sanders Pierce. The aspects of their theoretical ideas should be transfer to the topic of brands and be analysed in terms of the changing of meaning.


Based on my research results I defined seven categories of marks. There are changes from an icon to a symbol and from an index mark to a mark with typography. When firms launch a new image, product or brand the logos is also changed. Companies, which go on the international market or sell their product in an other culture change the logo. If a company expand or fuse they need a new logo. Even if the business competition changes their logo the own logo is changed too. Furthermore there are logos, which nearly stay the same. The comparison of the linguistic and the semiotic deliverables shows that some of the linguistic theories can be transferred to semiotics, especially the theory of Pierce. The model from Saussure is only partly comparable.