People need people. We’re social animals, and thus seeing people—even depictions of people—makes us comfortable. It helps the viewer identify with the brand. This is why images of people are so useful for logos.
But what sort of person would work best for your logo design? You could go with the ubiquitous V-Man, but then again… probably not.
Let’s take a look at the different design options we have when depicting humans in our logo design.
Stylized, full-body logos
Let’s say your company sells products for the whole body—a clothing line, furniture or even exercise regimens. This is a great opportunity to incorporate the human form into your logo. By keeping the art simple, you can focus on activity and movement, rather than the details. Even something as simple as sitting in a chair can feel active when drawn with swooping curves and energetic liens.
You don’t need to feel restricted to a single person. If your brand is about relationships, use two characters to depict them interacting in a positive way.
Silhouettes & profiles of people
The great thing about humans is, even when they’re shown only in profile or silhouette, we still know what we’re looking at. As with the stylized bodies, this form can keep your logo simple, perfect scaling down to the size of a business card or up to the header of your website.
Moreover, while these are still recognizably human logos, they still create an air of mystery and sophistication. When a person (or logo) is slightly turned away, or in shadow, we naturally wants to see more. It draws the viewer in. If your brand involves mystique, a silhouette or profile is the way to go.
Plus, everyone loves silhouette night!
People logos that feature faces
You’ve heard the term “faceless corporation,” right? If you’ve created a startup from your own blood, sweat, and savings, it doesn’t feel faceless, does it? Or if you run a business that’s reliant on one-on-one customer interactions, you probably want to emphasize a friendly personality.
If honesty, integrity, openness, and friendliness is more your vibe, go for the direct approach. Present your customers with a face. It doesn’t have to be your face (mine is a face for radio, to be sure). Create a character that embodies your brand. Give the logo a big ol’ smile, if that’s your thing. Or present a historical figure that represents your core values.
The key is, if your company had a face, what would it look like? Describe that to your designer, and you can’t go wrong.
Detailed illustrations of people
For some companies, the abstract route isn’t the way to go. If you really want to show all of the benefits your product or service provides, consider a more detailed illustration. This allows you to demonstrate your product or service in action.
A word of caution—hyper detailed illustrations do not scale down very well. Put them on a business card, they’ll look like a muddled mess. If that’s not the type of business you do, great! Don’t worry about it. Another option is to create variations on your logo—a complex one for your website, and a simplified version for stationery.
Human logos emphasize companies of humans
There are plenty of great reasons to use a person in your logo. People like people, and they’ll like your people logo, too. But don’t go thinking just any person will do. Make focus on your brand so your logo reflects exactly who you are and what you do.