Man, this question is bugging me, in part because I am currently studying signs and graphics in graphic and media design. So I took two of my most academic books on graphic and media design and I just want to work my way through to a point where I can give an answer. Here we go, I'll start with the basics of signs:
What are the advantages and disadvantages of communicating through signs?
- intelligible without language
- saves up on space
- user saves up on time
- possibly internationally different meaning
- meaning must be learnt in part
What are the categories of signs?
Icon: the sign is the likeness of the meaning
Index: the sign is not the likeness of the meaning, but related to it
Symbol: the sign has no direct relation to the meaning
Examples for these categories
No through way: Symbol
What is a pictogram?
Simple, stripped-down signs for non-verbal communication of information.
What do Logos and Signets do?
They are signs differentiating companies or organisations.
There are two types of icons, right? Which is which?
There's the icon as a graphical sign used in user interfaces, and there's the icon depicting the meaning of the sign.
What's a pictogram?
Pictograms are simple, stripped-down signs having a stimulative nature. They have to be easily discernible, remembered, and intelligible with no explanation.
What's the history behind pictograms?
We need an international language of road signs. We need to find
unambiguous and distinct signs for the most important transportation
needs, which apply to all countries.
Werner Graeff, 1923. The mundane and obvious world of road signs of today was there at the start of the evolution of pictograms.
What are the categories of pictograms?
Iconic pictograms: are based on depictions of objects or situations.
Symbolic pictograms use symbolic signs whose meaning is defined through convention.
Hybrid pictograms: mixed form of iconic and symbolic pictogram.
What are the properties of modern pictograms?
- Same layout.
- Same size representation.
- Uniform, simple figure-shaping.
- Unambiguous pictorial statement.
- Logical and common colour use.
- Independent of cultural milieu.
- Internationally legible and intelligble.
Evolution of icons
The invention of the PC with a graphical user interface brought along pictograms which are called icons.
What's the definition of this icon?
An icon is a pictogram as a part of a user interface.
What are the design criteria for icons?
- quick and unambiguous recognisability.
- independent from language and culture.
- requiring little space as part of the user interface.
- all icons of an application should have a uniform and unmistakenable design.
- standards must be considered.
How are icons drafted?
- Define its use and purpose.
- Describe the audience and mind its prior knowledge.
- Gather ideas.
- Sketch icon.
- Test sketch with members of audience.
- Create icon with suitable software.
What's the purpose of icons?
Well designed icons support the usability of an electronic system. A system designed for suitability of use leads to high customer satsifaction, especially when function, safety, image and graphics of a system are all perfectly matched.
Logo and signet
What are the types of logos?
- Glyph (signet)
- Word character
- Letter sign
- A combination of the above
What is a logo?
The word logo is of Greek origin and can be translated with "meaningful" word. A logo always serves as both identifying and communicating. A logo can be made up of letters, numbers, an image or any combination of these. Many logos foreground pictorial elements since these are easily recalled by the viewer. Think of Apple, Coca Cola, McDonald's, IBM.
What's a logo's function?
In order to identify and communicate, a logo must be distinct from other logos, any by that, must be distinct from other companies. Logos have to remain in the consumers' memory and largely stored unconsciously.
The presence and existence of a logo is requisite for a company to be perceived as a brand. Most people don't just connect a logo to a product or label, but often also an emotional perception. Further a company's appearance must match its brand product(s).
Here is how you can apply this knowledge:
Having said all that, I feel that I can now discuss your question more clearly. If a favicon is not a logo, what kind of sign can it be instead? Judging from the here provided information on this topic, a favicon can thus be
- an (linguistic) icon
- a symbol
- an index
- an iconic pictogram
- a symbolic pictogram
- a hybrid pictogram
- a ui icon
and it still wouldn't be a logo, thus satisfying both my curiousity in how to answer your intriguing question and your premise. Thanks for letting me sort through my knowledge. In the end, you will end up arguably designing a logo, but, given these definitions of what a logo is and how a logo is being drafted and designed, you're really not.
Here are a few examples of how other designers have answered your question.
PS: in regards to Transmission Repair Georgia, they do have a logo: look for yourself. They just opted to not use it on their website for reasons. ???