André Cortez Pinto Seixas Clemente


Prof. Dr. Susana LeonorIADE, Universidade Europeia
Prof. Dr. António MendesIADE, Universidade Europeia

The main objective is to study the instant of the encounter of the symbolic graphic identity or “intent” of a logo and to analyse how this creates identification and memorization in the consumer and how this contributes or affects the relation with the brand.  

Today’s strategic thinking of trademarks or logos emphasise on brand construction systems, development and its adaptations to the digital world. We want to analyse and evaluate the influence of the identity, the logo, on a brand so as to assess its value and position in the overall visual identity construction. We believe this investigation will contribute to bringing out the creativity of the graphic designer’s solutions and improve the overall logo design process.

The main issues are: (1) What types of symbolic identity relationships can be reflected in a logo? And how do you categorize them? (2) Does the discovery of this identity trigger a process of personal identification and memorization in the recipient that will evidence itself as an asset to the brand?

The investigation aims to generate results that demonstrate that the skills of the Graphic Designer go beyond the integrated communication strategy. The concept, structure, form, personality and value of the graphic symbol is composed and discovered according to the informed knowledge of the designer. We aim to seek the equivalencies between this discovery and the recipient’s discovery.

Keywords: creativity, visual identity, logo, graphic design, empathy

Introduction and Literature Review

According to Bowie (2005) the point of view of the connection between the graphic “personality” and the receiver has been very poorly communicated in scientific format. There is a lack of academic approaches to clarify, facilitate and above all, improve the work of graphic designers and of design students in the creation of visual identity.

As Cross (1982) writes, “designers use codes that translate abstract requirements into concrete objects," and according to Gregory Thomas (2017), "A successful brand is one that envelops viewers and allows them to play a small interactive mental game with it." Here the purpose of the designer is to manifest through drawing the symbolism necessary to create a new pictorial metaphor. Graphic design is going through a paradigm shift; multidisciplinary assertiveness behaviour may contract individuality and its creative authority. 

Many companies place logos on the market without associated symbolic meaning or utter novelty in their design and rely on massive communication plans to establish identification and recognition. In this case the relationship is established by Branding Values ​​and not by Identity Values.

 "Essentially graphic design helps the eye find comfortable figures that will trigger an interpretation." (Busche, 2017).


We will analyse the graphic elements that are present in visual identity, with the purpose of uncovering and isolating the elements of symbolic intent. Our aim is to demonstrate that recognizing the graphic identity of a logo creates in the receiver a process of identification that will endure in his memory.

The academic years 2018 (Fall), 2019 and 2020 (Spring) will comprise phases 1, 2 and 3.

Phase 1 is focused on the answer to the first programmatic question and looks into the following issues:

  1. Survey and inventory of symbolic typologies in Visual Identity: architectural, geometric, pictorial, typographic and relationship.
  2. Data collection, treatment and evaluation.
  3. Dissemination and opinion gathered through a questionnaire directed to graphic design professionals and professors in order to substantiate and evaluate the survey. Done June 2018
  4. Categorization. Analyse what kind of symbolic associations are related to the visual brand (logo, logo mark) so that we can carry out tests for all categories.

Phase 2 is focused on the answer to the second programmatic question.

Here our methodology intends to examine the receiver's reaction to the exposure of unknown visual identities that contain singular, original elements and identity symbolism within the established categories. The logos tested must be original, therefore unknown, and will be designed by the doctorate.

Test A: Two logos will be demonstrated to the sample practically identical but with active (drawn) and inactive (not drawn) symbolism. Evaluate the predilection for which of the two graphic symbols. Evaluation of Results. (Figure 1)

 Test B: Display to the sample the same symbols but with a substantial temporal difference of at least 6/12 months.

The tasks involved, to be carried out in the period between November 2018 and November 2019, comprise:

  1. Design of visual marks for primary tests
  2. Primary Tests
  3. Test A
  4. Test B
  5. Evaluation.

Phase 3 (June 2019 and June 2020):

  1. Reassessment of thesis and research questions
  2. Qualitative analysis and cross-referencing of data information obtained
  3. Thesis Dissertation
  4. Settings
  5. Final document with conclusions and recommendation
  6. Dissemination of Results
  1. Aaker, J., Fournier, S., & Brasel, S. (2004), When Good Brands Do Bad. Journal Of Consumer Research, 31(1), 1-16.
  2. Azoulay, A., & Kapferer, J. (2003), Do brand personality scales really measure brand personality?. Journal Of Brand Management, 11(2), 143-155.
  3. Beverly T. Venable, Gregory M. Rose, Victoria D. Bush, Faye W. Gilbert, 2005. (2017) The Role of Brand Personality in Charitable Giving: An Assessment and Validation Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science -, Retrieved 14 May
  4. Bowie, J. (2005). Innovation, Imitation, Legitimacy and Deviance in the Design of Graphical Trademarks in the United States, 1884-2003 (1st ed.). Tucson, Arizona: University of Arizona. Costa, Joan; Raposo, Daniel – La rebelión de los signos. El alma de la letra. Buenos Aires: Editorial La Crujía, 2008.
  5. Cross, N. (1982). Designerly ways of knowing. Design Studies, 3(4), 221-227.
  6. Gregory Thomas Center for Design Research. (2017), Retrieved 14 May 2017, from
  7. Keller, P. (1998), Destination marketing (1st ed.). St-Gall (Suisse): Editions AIEST.
  8. Kuhn, T. (1970). The structure of scientific revolutions. University of Chicago Press.
  9. Olins, W. (1978), The corporate personality (1st ed.). London: Design Council.