Think about the iconic brand names you know: Apple, Target, McDonald’s, Gap. What images come to mind? For many of us, probably their logos. That’s because whether it’s an apple or big golden arches, a logo is crucial to a company’s identity. Now, new research says that logos are even more important than businesses and consumers realize. A recent study in the Journal of Consumer Research found that even just a basic element of logos—their shape—affects how people perceive a company and its products.
There’s already a good amount of research on how logos influence customers. For example, a 2011 study found that when a company has an incomplete logo (think IBM), people perceive the business as more innovative but less trustworthy. Another weird logo effect that researchers have found: when consumers see a complex-looking logo over and over again, they start to like the brand more. Given these past findings, Amitava Chattopadhyay and his team at INSEAD thought something as simple as a logo’s overall shape—circular or angular—might also impact people’s opinions in a significant way.