Logos and Visual Signifiers

  • Arthur Asa Berger


I describe logos as visual signs used by corporations in advertising and marketing. I discuss Naomi Klein’s book No Logos and her thesis that corporations sell brands rather than products. This leads to an analysis of Starbuck’s logos and whether they have evolved over the years. I suggest that logos are like icebergs and their meanings are connected to the cultures and subcultures in which people live. This discussion parallels my use of the iceberg metaphor to deal with the human psyche. I use Peirce’s trichotomy of different forms of signs—icon, index, symbol—to discuss logos and consider a number of iconic logos, such as the Michelin Man, Viking Cruises, and the Mercedes Benz three-pointed star. I conclude with a discussion of the use of logos by apps on our smartphones.


Logos Brands Starbucks Peirce Smartphones 


  1. Bernard, Malsom. (2005). Graphic Design as Communication. London, Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Klein, Naomi. (2000). No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies. New York: Picador.Google Scholar
  3. Neumier, M. (2005). The Brand Gap. 2nd Edition. New York: Pearson.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arthur Asa Berger
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Broadcast and Electronic Communication ArtsSan Francisco State UniversitySan FranciscoUSA

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