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Logos vs. Mythos

Logos vs. Mythos

Logo property of Starbucks, Logo property of Nike

David Langton

From the swoosh on our running shoes, to the mermaid on our morning cup of joe to companies like Amazon, Oracle and Delphi, mythology is everywhere. Nike the Greek goddess of victory encourages us to banish our fears and “Just do it.” The Starbucks mermaid sets us adrift in a sea of caffeinated bliss. All of these logos represent the values of each company and the mythology of their products.

Visual Communicators

As visual communicators we are often hired to create logos – which from the Greek refers to “meaning” and “logic.” I love the idea that a logo has real meaning. We often tell our clients that any identity we create for you should be grounded in reality. You must be able to deliver on your promise. We can design a great website, but if you don’t provide the services or deliver the research you promise, your company will eventually fail. We can draw beautiful pictures and select gorgeous colors for your brand but if this does not support your mission and connect with your target audience, then it is a waste of resources.

The best logos are practical, they reflect the principles, missions and objectives of services, products, companies and organizations. But what about aspirations? Can a logo express more than concrete reality? If it can embody hopes and dreams as well, is it still a logo? Yes! A logo is a symbol of something and for something.

Karen Armstrong

Karen Armstrong, author of A Short History of Myth, defines “logos” as something that must correspond accurately to objective facts, “It’s the mental activity we use when we want to make things happen… when we organize… it is essentially pragmatic.”

She describes “myth” as a way of addressing “what if?” questions. Mythology does not claim to be objective, but offers a way to understand something important, sacred, spiritual, or beyond our rational constructs. A myth offers a truth if it provides a new insight into the deeper meaning of life.


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