logo design,logo design tips,logo redesign,logo ideas

To face or not to face: Logo design’s pros and cons

team of designers assembling a logo with a face cubism abstract
Own your brand with a face your clients can remember.

One night, we all went to Romulo’s, a local restaurant, for dinner as a family. The place looked old, but the food was very good. On the brick walls, there were family photos and a large painting of a man in a white suit and cowboy hat.

Then my brother said, “That’s probably Romulo. The paper napkin’s logo looks like him,“ He said, pointing to the brand name.

My sister asked, “Mom, do you want to make a new logo for our food service? Let’s use your face! We’ll make you famous!”

“No!” Mom said right away, shooting down her idea.

We all thought that putting my mom’s face all over the place would be funny. It did sound hilarious, but I’m sure it will work. We know that KFC, Wendy’s, Gerber, and Quaker have done well with a face on their brands.

Why do logos with faces work so well?

There are many logos that have faces. We always look at people’s eyes, noses, and lips to figure out who they are, whether we know it or not. Our brains have been set up to recognize faces before any other shape since we were babies.

When we see brand logos with pictures of people, our minds naturally go to the faces first, then the rest of the logo. 

Faces in logos help most people remember them better, and their use has grown over time. Now, lots of businesses have one of these logos.

Artist designer looking at a picture of a face cartoon
Have you considered using a face for your logo?

The pros and cons of putting a face in your brand logo

Incorporating a face in your brand logo can have both advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a list of the pros and cons:

Pros:

  1. Emotional Connection: Faces have the power to evoke emotions and create a human connection with your brand.

    People often associate faces with feelings of trust, relatability, and familiarity, which can be beneficial for brand loyalty.

  2. Memorability: A well-designed face logo can be memorable and easily recognizable. When customers see the logo repeatedly, they are more likely to remember your brand and products.

    A logo that looks like you is not only a great way to get people talking about your brand, but it also helps people remember it.

  3. Personality and Identity: A face in your logo can give your brand a distinct personality and identity. It can help convey the brand’s values and culture, making it stand out from competitors.

    A brand’s face is a very unique part of it. It’s rare to find someone who looks like you, and it’s even rarer to see your “twin” on a package or website.

  4. Universal Appeal: Faces are universal symbols that transcend language barriers and cultural differences. This can be advantageous if you have a global or diverse target audience.
  5. Humanizing the Brand: Logos that look like faces are useful in many ways. They make the brand seem more likeable and personal.

    A face can humanize your brand, making it more approachable and relatable to consumers. This can be particularly valuable in industries where building trust and rapport are essential.

Painter artist painting a female model cartoon
A logo may be inspired by a painting or a picture of a human

Cons:

  1. Subjectivity: People may interpret facial expressions differently, and a logo with a face may inadvertently convey emotions that are not aligned with your brand’s intended message.
  2. Overused: Faces in logos have been used extensively in various industries. Depending on the design, your logo may blend in with the crowd.

    The face could also be too familiar or too much like that of a famous person or icon. A famous TV and movie actress with a mole used to live in our neighborhood many years ago.

    A salon’s logo was a stylized picture of her. Almost everyone on our street thought that this well-known person owned the parlor.

    The salon made money from the rumor, but the actress could sue because the business used her name (and face) to get more customers.

  3. Limited Evolution: Over time, brands may want to evolve their logos to reflect changing trends or brand values. Incorporating a face can restrict the flexibility to modify the logo without losing recognition.
  4. Simplicity and Versatility: Logos with faces can be complex, making it challenging to scale down for smaller applications or reproduce in various mediums. A more straightforward logo might be more versatile.
  5. Cultural Sensitivity: Faces can carry cultural and ethnic connotations that may not align with your brand’s values or may inadvertently offend certain demographics or a group of people.
  6. Target Audience Mismatch: Depending on your target audience, a face logo might not resonate with them or might not be appropriate for your industry or product.

Will a logo with a face work for your brand?

Why not try putting your picture on the logo for your business? You can send your best photo to your design team and they will make it into a logo.

Shy? Don’t worry, if you let a designer use your photo to make a logo, it won’t look exactly like you (unless that’s what you want). The designer will make their own interpretation based on what you tell them.

Just tell us if you want your image to look like a painting, an animation, or something like Pablo Picasso’s Dora Maar. In the beginning only our friends and family will be able to spot you on the logo because they know you personally

Swipe to check out these well-known brands with famous faces.

the real person behind the Gerber logo
Ann Turner Cook is the Gerber Baby
the real person behind the KFC logo
Colonel Sanders is the inspiration for the KFC logo
the real person behind the Columbia Pictures logo
Jennifer Joseph posed for a painting that became the Columbia Pictures logo

If you have the right logo, the image becomes so universal that it can be a baby, an old man, or a statue. Not Ann Turner Cook, not Colonel Sanders, and not Jennifer Joseph. They become part of a brand while also developing their own identity.

Examples of brands with a face in their logo

logo samples that use faces of people

How to choose a face for your brand

When choosing a face for your brand, there are several factors to consider:

  1. Representativeness: The face should be representative of the target audience for your brand.
  2. Trustworthiness: The face should be perceived as trustworthy and credible.
  3. Consistency: The face should be consistent with the overall image and messaging of your brand.
  4. Flexibility: The face should be able to adapt to different situations and contexts.
  5. Relevancy: The face should be relevant to the industry or product your brand is associated with.

You may also consider conducting market research to test the effectiveness of different options before making a final decision.

Embody the brand

A human is not just made of just the head. It has to be a complete body. To embody is to express or give a tangible form to an idea, quality, or feeling.

The face is a unique physical trait that can be assigned to a brand. The face must also exude your brand so that your clients can truly trust the company.

While a logo with a face can help your brand stand out, the key is to make sure the face isn’t distracting and that it supports the overall message. Get a professional illustrator to create a logo with your face and it could do wonders for your brand!