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How We Remember What We See by Guest Blogger Paul Ernest


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snapbrand-bar-logo-900x1421 How We Remember What We See by Guest Blogger Paul Ernest Business Tips Guest Bloggers

The Order of Cognition: How We Remember Logos

First let’s define cognition: Cognition is the scientific term for “the process of thought.” Its usage varies in different ways in accord with different disciplines: For example, in psychology and cognitive science it refers to an information processing view of an individual’s psychological functions.

Why is this important? Our brains can only process and hold so much at a time, especially if our brains are trying to discern and remember visual information for long or short term periods… In other words, how can our brains “trim the fat”? So how does our brain trim that information? It does it through a process.

hr-logo-example How We Remember What We See by Guest Blogger Paul Ernest Business Tips Guest Bloggers

The Process of Cognition

The first step in the process of cognition is shape. Visual images can be remembered and recognized directly, while words have to be interpreted into meaning. Reading is not necessary to identify shapes, but identifying shapes is necessary to read. Since a shape makes a faster imprint on our memory, it is essential to first have a unique shape to your logo.

The second step in the process is color. Color can do many things from emotional trigger, behavioral influence to brand recognition. As each of the processes needs to be carefully chosen, color is one of the most important for each of the reasons I just mentioned. Another reason to carefully choose a color is differentiation in your brand. Just as Starbuck’s uses green as its signature color, Seattle’s Best uses red. If they strayed from their signature colors, their brand would stray and their customers’ would be confused. It is important to make visuals strong and quick.

The third step in the process is content. This step means the brain takes more time to process language than it does shape or color. So you can see from the examples to the right, what was a simple shape that had no relevance to you is now the most recognized financial services firm in the nation!

Let me try another approach with people since we are mostly photographers. How many times have we remembered a face, but fail to remember their name? We all have unique styles to our work that we see, but sometimes to the untrained eye, a potential client who is comparing photographers just sees a bunch of photos by more than one photographer. How then, do they see differentiation from one photographer to the next? All of a sudden brand becomes very important. Now let’s add another obstacle. Many photographers tend to migrate toward similar fonts and colors. So now we have many photos by many photographers with similar watermarks (fonts spelling photographers name) on their images. Do you see the dilemma that I am bringing attention to? The reason I say “bring attention to” is because it is not a created fictitious scenario. Brand, uniqueness and quality are not just characteristics of a successful brand, but requirements. Take a look at your brand. How can you apply these principles and processes?

Extra Points!

Take a look at this poster designed by artist Heidi Cody. How many brands can you identify by just looking at a single letter. You will be amazed and quite honestly frighten yourself by just how much brands are engrained into our culture and our minds! The answers can be found in a new segment we are adding to called “SnapsArts”. This will be an area on our site for articles posted by myself and my team. I hope you enjoy!

cody-poster How We Remember What We See by Guest Blogger Paul Ernest Business Tips Guest Bloggers

Heidi Cody © 2000

Paul Ernest is the founder of SnapBrand, a creative branding resource and service for photographers. Paul is also the Senior Photographer at Paul Ernest Photography. Located in Texas, Paul specializes in Dallas wedding photographer and portrait photography. You can visit or to learn more about Paul and his work.


No Comments

  1. Becka Knight on April 14, 2009 at 10:32 am

    I’m pretty sure I see Pez, Oreo, Reses, M&M’s, Jello, and Coke….are they all food? Or am I just a fatty? LOL

  2. Becka Knight on April 14, 2009 at 10:33 am

    Wait…Bubalicious and V8 are in there too I think. Yup, I know food too much.

  3. Stephanie on April 14, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    They are not all food. Let me take a stab at it. All, Bubbalicious, Cambells, ?, Eggos, ?, Gatorade, ?,?,Jello, Kicks,Lysol, M&M, Nibisco, Oreo, Pez, ?, Reese Pieces, Starbursts, Tide, Uncle Bens, ?, Wisk, ?, Zest, York

  4. jodi on April 14, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    i agree with the above except for the “k”. looks like kool aid to me!

  5. Deirdre on April 14, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    I agree with the above. I shop at health food stores, don’t watch much tv or read many magazines, and I still know most of these!I think H is Hebrew National & V may be for Vick’s?

  6. Brittney on April 14, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    also putting in my votes:All, Bubblicious, Campbell’s Soup, ?, Eggos, ?, Gatorade, ?, ?, Jello, Kool-Aid, Lysol, M&Ms, Nilla Wafers, Oreos, Pez, ?, Reeses, Starburst, Tide, Uncle Ben’s Rice, V8 Juice, Wisk, ?, York Peppermint Patties, Zest6 “i don’t knows” aren’t bad I guess 🙂

  7. Kris on April 15, 2009 at 8:12 am

    Chiming in with the Q – think it’s Quaker Oatmeal

  8. Kris on April 15, 2009 at 8:15 am

    How about Quaker Oatmeal for the Q

  9. Adam (of Ontario) on April 15, 2009 at 8:32 am

    Just an FYI: your hyperlink to has a typo.Interesting info and good to learn about a marketing business specializing in photographers. Thanks!

  10. Laser on April 15, 2009 at 9:50 am

    Guess my brain just tunes out commercials etc. I could only guess two of them right and I have been around a long, long time! I only guessed M&M (my favourite candies) and Tide (which I use all the time) right.

  11. MariaV on April 17, 2009 at 5:54 am

    I feel like I should have known all of this already. Thank you. Apparently, I spend too much time looking at brands since I recognize so many.

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