Letting Logos Speak: A Machine Learning Approach to Data-Driven Logo Design

Ryan Dew, Asim Ansari, Olivier Toubia

Logos serve a fundamental role in branding as the visual figurehead of the brand. Yet, due to the difficulty of using unstructured image data, prior research on logo design has been largely limited to non-quantitative studies. In this work, we explore logo design from a data-driven perspective. In particular, we aim to answer several key questions: first, to what degree can logos represent a brand’s personality? Second, what are the key visual elements in logos that elicit brand and firm relevant associations, such as brand personality traits? Finally, given text describing a firm’s brand or function, can we suggest features of a logo that elicit the firm’s desired image? To answer these questions, we develop a novel logo feature extraction algorithm, that uses modern image processing tools to decompose unstructured pixel-level image data into meaningful visual features. We then analyze the links between firm identity, and the features of its logo, through both predictive modelling, and a probabilistic model which links visual features with textual descriptions of firms. We apply our modeling framework on a dataset of hundreds of logos, textual descriptions from firms’ websites, third party descriptions of firms, and consumer evaluations of brand personality to explore these questions.

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