Letting Logos Speak: Leveraging Multiview Representation Learning for Data-Driven Branding and Logo Design

Published Online:https://doi.org/10.1287/mksc.2021.1326

Logos serve a fundamental role as the visual figureheads of brands. Yet, because of the difficulty of using unstructured image data, prior research on logo design has largely been limited to nonquantitative studies. In this work, we explore the interplay between logo design and brand identity creation from a data-driven perspective. We develop both a novel logo feature extraction algorithm that uses modern image processing tools to decompose pixel-level image data into meaningful features and a multiview representation learning framework that links these visual features to textual descriptions, consumer ratings of brand personality, and other high-level tags describing firms. We apply this framework to a unique data set of brands to understand which brands use which logo features and how consumers evaluate these brands’ personalities. Moreover, we show that manipulating the model’s learned representations through what we term “brand arithmetic” yields new brand identities and can help with ideation. Finally, through an application to fast-food branding, we show how our model can be used as a decision support tool for suggesting typical logo features for a brand and for predicting consumers’ reactions to new brands or rebranding efforts.

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