Performative Logos…with a Twist!


If you are not yet a subscriber to A Word a Day, go there immediately and sign up (and then come back here, of course). The site sends daily emails with an interesting word, its etymology, its usage, a quote containing it, and inspirational quotes. They have been around for forever (on Internet’s timeline) and have archives dating back to 1994.

A word they recently sent out was “performative”. It is an adjective which means “Relating to a statement that functions as an action by the fact of its being uttered.” For instance, if you say “I apologize” the very act of uttering those words is an apology. Unlike other words, performative words commit you to the action. You can say “I run” without actually running or “I worry” without actually being worried. But by saying “I promise” you are promising. Now, whether or not you are sincere and will keep your promises is up to you, but the word is performative.

A performative logo is a tricky thing to pull off. Of course, logos should represent the concepts and ideas you are trying to convey, but there is most often a connection that the viewer must make in their own mind. One of our recent logos for Longbow Funds has imagery of a bow and arrow, but it is designed to have you look at it and make the visual connection. The logo is not an actual bow and arrow and will not go flying down the range to split another arrow in twain.

Denny’s restaurant created a performative logo with their recent menu offerings. They created several new dishes which were a “delicious spin on traditional diner flavors” and called it Denny’s with a Twist. The logo for their advertising was a simple and clever twist on twisting. The twisted “I” and the inverted letters at the end of the word made it a true performative logo. Yummy!

A Good Idea:Consider performative concepts when you are thinking about logos and identities. It will add an extra level of deliciousness.

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