Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Logos: The Power of Grounding Logic and Expectations in Our Communications

According to Wikipedia, LOGOS was
Greek spelling from Wikipedia
Originally a (Greek) word meaning "a ground," "a plea," "an opinion," "an expectation," "word," "speech," '"account," [and] "reason"...it became a technical term in philosophy, beginning with Heraclitus (535-475 BCE), who used the term for a principle of order and knowledge.
In English, logos is the root of the "-logy" suffix (e.g., geology).
Interestingly, we now use the term "logo" to relate visual or graphic representations of a product, enterprise, organization or slogan -as a means of promoting instant public recognition. Logo is also a multi-paradigm computer programming language designed as a tool for learning.  It is used to develop simulations and to create multimedia presentations.
From what I could find, both modern-day usages of the word incorpororate its earlier meanings - grounding words or images in a certain meaning or using it to create expectations.

With our increased use of short text bursts and visual icons - both modern adaptations of LOGOS are essential elements of communication and learning. In this post, I focus on how Aristotle's use of logos is STILL a vital part of communication used today.  Whether we use logos to relay vital arguments in public speaking,  classrooms, group discussions  - or whether we use it in advertising and politics to convince a target audience of the merits or our "product" - we must learn how to present compelling arguments in a way that seems 'logical,'  familiar  and meaningful to our audiences. This means that not only must we be familiar with our intrinsic arguments, we have to understand which arguments are most effective for any given audience.  NOT an easy feat.  Hopefully the information below will help.

From: logorhythms.blogspot.com


Aristotle (in his study of rhetoric) believed that a convincing argument must contain three basic elements: Ethos (incorporating/addressing credibility or 'ethical appeal'), Logos (logic - persuading through the use of reason)  and Pathos (appealing on a personal/emotional level). What makes the study of Aristotle so interesting (at least to me) is that these techniques are still vital for communication today and are routinely incorporated in speeches, printed materials and advertisements.  They are therefore essential for public speaking, advertising, class/work projects, even persuading spouses or kids.  Basically these three components are vital when constructing any verbal or visual message.

In this post I want to focus on logos (future posts will address ethos and pathos). Logos or the logical appeal consists of clearly relating a message and using meaningful examples (facts, data, research, deductive and/or inductive reasoning). The supporting evidence, however, must be information/data your audience can relate to.

Here is a Youtube video showing the use of ethos, logos and pathos in advertising. What is so important for parents and teachers today, is teaching our kids how to 'read' and recognize the persuasive tools (and their use of color, image and text) used in the ads they see and rhetoric they hear all the time that constantly try to persuade them.


For further study, you may want to visit the following sites:


Understanding the art of rhetoric and persuasion is important for public speaking as well as for trying to convince a child, parent, friend or spouse to do something. Conversely it is also important for us as consumers to understand that advertisements' images and text are trying to persuade us to do something and are by their very nature biased.  This is where visual literacy comes in.  As our brains process visual images much faster and much more efficiently than text, we need to understand how and why particular images were chosen to persuade us.

A LOT of effort has gone into creating effective company logos. By creating a visual image that relays a particular and distinct message, successful logos clearly relate how a picture is worth a thousand words. Below are only a few examples of the power of successful logos.

In a recent post on color I noted how red has been found to increase heartrate and metabolism and is associated with the feeling of passion and of hunger, while blue is a calming color decreasing heartrate and metabolism, and green is used to relay 'nature' and natural elements.  For more, please see http://departingthetext.blogspot.com/2013/01/color-casts-powerful-messages-learn-how.html

Thinking about color...
Have you noticed that most fast food signs and logos contain red?



Note that Quiznos also contains green which symbolizes nature or earth and wants to convince you of their 'natural' 'healthy' ingredients. Note also how each of these fast food logos contain red - a color proven to raise metabolism and make you hungry while ingraining a particular image of their product - be it their initials, a warm inviting face, or 'protective' structure.

How about Amazon.com's logo:  They're 'good as gold,' they will always leave you with a 'smile,' and you can find all types of products from 'a' to 'z'.

Want more? Have some fun with logos:

LOGOS QUIZ is a popular game for iphone, androids and ipads (and computer adaptations, some of which I have included below) where you have to correctly identify the logos which are presented at different levels of difficulty.. How good are you at identifying these logos... and is that a good thing :-)  ?

In closing, look around, I am sure you can come up with your own awesome examples of effective logos and how they incorporate image, ethos, logos and pathos to convey a particular message.  Please leave your own opinions or favorite effective adds in the comments.

Thanks for your visit, and don't forget to leave your ideas, opinions, suggestions and favorite logos in the comments.


  1. It's amazing how logo's play a large part in identification, isn't it? My favorites are the super creative ones that have cool hidden messages or references in them. ;)

    Easter Fun, Forgetful Mind, Minecraft Craftiness: Random Tuesday Thoughts Rebel

  2. When teaching a unit on internet marketing, I learned a lot about how colours are used on logos to lure in the client or customer.

    abcw team

  3. Played the 1st game - only got 20 of 36. I misspelled Anheuser-Busch, and thought Dreamworks was Amblin (both Spielberg items)

  4. I think it's fascinating how we can be manipulated through advertising.
    These were great examples and something that we use and see everyday.

  5. wonderful post for L ~ lots of great info here ~ Logos impact us all ~ ^_^

  6. Interesting, those red logos don't work on me, in fact they are a turn off and I equate them with anti-appetite/eating, however green makes me hungry yum!

  7. My kids are always playing that logo game. It's amazing how we can memorize so many of them, but have issues memorizing so many other things!

  8. i often wish i could make good logos, but i would not know where to start

    Verification makes it really hard to comment, takes a few times sometimes. you'd probably get more comments if you turned it off.

    Where is the Food when mother is not?

  9. This was really fascinating! I learned a lot reading this very informative post. The idea of colors in different logos...so true! And I love learning the history of words.

  10. Very interesting post! When my son was about two, he could identify almost all the car logos he saw on the road!! He would say alfa mew mew (alfa romeo), BN datu (BMW), fevavi (ferrari)etc!!

  11. Personally I love logo designs ~ it's neat to see how many different logos are out there!

  12. I loved playing the logo game! It was addicting at one point :). New "fan" of your blog! I would like to invite you to a blog hop I am co-hosting. We've got some up and coming bloggers there that are awesome!



  13. Logo plays a big role to businesses.

    Las Vegas
    Catching up (again) for L entries, oh Lord, I am always LATE!
    Rose, ABC Wednesday Team

  14. Hello I am your newest follower from the blog hop on your blog would love for you to follow me back. Thanks :) Feel free to Like or Follow me on my other media sites!!!