A logo serves as a visual representation of your business. However, did you know that there exist seven distinct types of logos?
Although all logos combine typography and images, each type imparts a unique vibe to your brand. Since your logo is often the first thing potential customers encounter, it’s crucial to ensure that it conveys the right message.
Curious to learn more about these logo types and how to choose the most suitable one for your business?
Here are the 7 types of logos you need to know about:
- Monogram (or lettermark) logos
- Wordmark logos
- Pictorial mark logos
- Abstract logo marks
- Mascot logos
- The combination mark
- The emblem
1. Monogram Logos (or Lettermarks)
Monogram logos or lettermarks consist of letters, typically the initials of a brand. Examples include IBM, CNN, HP, and HBO. Have you noticed a pattern? These renowned companies with lengthy names have cleverly condensed their brand identity by using their initials. It’s logical for them to employ monograms, also known as lettermark logos, to represent their organizations.
1. A lettermark is a logo primarily composed of a few letters, usually the initials of a company. The essence of a lettermark lies in its simplicity. By utilizing a select few letters, lettermark logos effectively streamline the branding of companies with lengthy names. For instance, compare how much easier it is to say—and remember—NASA instead of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
The choice or creation of the font for your logo becomes crucial when initials take center stage. It’s essential to ensure that the font aligns with your company’s theme and remains legible when printed on business cards. Additionally, if your business is not yet well-known, it might be beneficial to include your full business name below the logo. This allows people to immediately associate the logo with your brand and begin recognizing who you are.
2. Wordmarks (or logotypes)
Wordmarks, also known as logotypes, are logos that primarily emphasize the business’ name using a font-based approach. Examples include Visa and Coca-Cola. Wordmark logos are particularly effective when a company has a concise and distinctive name. A prime example of this is Google’s logo. The name itself is catchy and memorable, and when coupled with compelling typography, the logo enhances brand recognition significantly.
Similar to a lettermark logo, the choice of typography holds great significance. As the primary focus will be on your business name, selecting a font—or even creating a custom one—becomes crucial in capturing the essence of your business. For instance, fashion labels often opt for clean and elegant fonts that exude a sense of luxury, while legal or government agencies typically adhere to traditional, “weightier” text that conveys a sense of security.
When to use lettermark and wordmark logos:
If your business has a long name, it’s advisable to consider a lettermark logo. Condensing the business name into initials simplifies the design, making it easier for customers to remember both your business and logo.
For new businesses looking to establish their presence, a wordmark logo is a suitable choice. However, ensure that your business name is short enough to be effectively incorporated into the design. Lengthy names can result in a cluttered appearance.
If you have a distinctive business name that you want to leave a lasting impression on customers, a wordmark logo is a wise decision. Displaying your name in a well-designed font enhances brand memorability.
Both lettermark and wordmark logos can be easily replicated across various marketing materials and branding elements, making them adaptable options for new and evolving businesses.
Keep in mind that creating a lettermark or wordmark requires careful attention to detail. Simply presenting your business name in a font may not sufficiently capture the nuances of your brand. It is advisable to enlist the services of a professional with a keen eye for detail to ensure a distinct and impactful logo design.
3. Pictorial Marks (or Logo Symbols)
A pictorial mark, also known as a brand mark or logo symbol, is a logo that relies on an icon or graphic element. This is often the type of logo that comes to mind when thinking of the term “logo.” Examples include the iconic Apple logo, the Twitter bird, and the Target bullseye. These logos have become so deeply associated with their respective companies that the image alone is instantly recognizable. A true brand mark consists solely of an image. Consequently, it can be a challenging logo type for new companies or those without strong brand recognition to utilize effectively.
When opting for a pictorial mark, the most crucial aspect to consider is the selection of the image itself. This image will remain closely associated with your company throughout its entire existence. It’s essential to contemplate the broader implications of the chosen image. Do you want to leverage your company’s name, as exemplified by John Deere’s deer logo? Or perhaps you aim to convey deeper meaning, similar to how the Snapchat ghost symbolizes the nature of the product. Alternatively, you might seek to evoke specific emotions, as demonstrated by the World Wildlife Foundation’s stylized depiction of an adorable and endangered species, the panda. The image you choose should align with your brand’s identity and effectively communicate your desired message.
4. Abstract logo marks
An abstract mark is a specific type of pictorial logo. Instead of being a recognizable image—like an apple or a bird—it’s an abstract geometric form that represents your business. A few famous examples include the BP starburst-y logo, the Pepsi divided circle and the strip-y Adidas flower. Like all logo symbols, abstract marks work really well because they condense your brand into a single image. However, instead of being restricted to a picture of something recognizable, abstract logos allow you to create something truly unique to represent your brand.
The benefit of an abstract mark is that you’re able to convey what your company does symbolically, without relying on the cultural implications of a specific image. Through color and form, you can attribute meaning and cultivate emotion around your brand. (As an example, think about how the Nike swoosh implies movement and freedom).
Mascot logos feature illustrated characters that become the face of a brand. These logos are often vibrant, sometimes cartoonish, and always exude a sense of fun. Incorporating a mascot logo allows you to create your very own brand spokesperson or spokes-character.
A mascot is essentially an illustrated character that serves as a representative of your company. Think of them as the ambassador for your business, bringing personality and charm to your brand. Well-known examples of mascots include the Kool-Aid Man, KFC’s Colonel, and Planter’s Mr. Peanut. They become memorable figures that add an extra layer of recognition and engagement to the brand.
Mascots are an excellent choice for companies seeking to cultivate a welcoming environment that appeals to families and children. Consider the vibrant mascots often seen at sporting events, fostering a lively atmosphere by engaging with the audience. They create a remarkable dynamic that sparks enthusiasm and connection. By incorporating mascots into your branding, you can establish a sense of warmth and relatability, making your brand more approachable and memorable to a wide range of audiences, particularly those seeking a wholesome experience.
When to use Picture and Symbol Logos:
Utilizing a pictorial mark or symbol logo alone can be a nuanced decision. While it is often effective for established brands, there is no strict rule governing its usage. You can strategically employ pictorial marks to visually represent your business if your name is too lengthy. Moreover, they can effectively convey specific ideas or emotions.
Pictorial and abstract marks are also well-suited for global commerce, particularly when a business name doesn’t translate well. They provide a universal visual representation that transcends language barriers.
However, it’s important to consider the future trajectory of your business when opting for a pictorial mark. If you anticipate changes to your business model, a pictorial mark centered around a specific product or offering, such as a pizza, may not be the best long-term choice. As your business evolves to include a broader range of products or services like sandwiches, burgers, or even produce, the relevance of the initial pictorial mark may diminish. Therefore, it’s crucial to choose a logo design that allows for adaptability and future growth.
Abstract marks allow you to create a completely unique image for your business, but are best left to design professionals who understand how color, shape and structure combine to create meaning.
Think about creating a mascot if you are trying to appeal to young children or families. One big benefit of a mascot is it can encourage customer interaction so it’s a great tool for social media marketing as well as real-world marketing events. I mean, who doesn’t want to take a selfie with the Pillsbury Doughboy?
Remember that a mascot is only one part of a successful logo and brand, and you may not be able to use it across all your marketing material. For example, a highly detailed illustration may not print well on a business card. So put some consideration in the next type of logo design below, the combination mark.
6. The Combination Mark
A combination mark is a versatile logo that combines a wordmark or lettermark with a pictorial mark, abstract mark, or mascot. The logo can feature the picture and text arranged side by side, stacked on top of each other, or integrated together to form a cohesive image. Prominent examples of combination mark logos include Doritos, Burger King, and Lacoste.
A combination mark is a versatile option as it effectively combines both the text and an icon or mascot to reinforce your brand identity. The association between the name and the pictorial mark or mascot in a combination mark helps establish immediate recognition and recall. As your brand becomes more established, there may even come a point where you can rely solely on the logo symbol without always including the name.
Additionally, the combination of a symbol and text creates a distinctive image that is generally easier to trademark compared to a standalone pictorial mark. By combining these elements, you can create a logo that is not only visually appealing but also legally protectable.
7. The Emblem
An emblem logo combines typography within a symbol or icon, reminiscent of badges, seals, and crests. These logos often exude a traditional aesthetic that can make a powerful impression, which is why they are frequently favored by schools, organizations, government agencies, and even the auto industry. Emblem logos have a classic style, but some companies have successfully revitalized this traditional look with designs that resonate in the 21st century. Examples include Starbucks’ iconic mermaid emblem and Harley-Davidson’s renowned crest, showcasing how emblems can be modernized while still retaining their timeless appeal.
However, due to their intricate nature and the inherent connection between the name and symbol, emblem logos can be less versatile compared to the previously mentioned logo types. The level of detail in an emblem design may pose challenges when replicating it across various branding materials. For example, on business cards, a complex emblem might shrink to a size where legibility becomes an issue. Additionally, if you plan to embroider the logo on hats or shirts, you’ll need to ensure the design is simplified, as intricate details may not be feasible to replicate accurately.
To achieve a strong and professional look, it is advisable to keep the emblem design uncomplicated. By doing so, you’ll be able to maintain a bold and impactful appearance, while also ensuring practicality across different applications.
When to Use Combination Mark or Emblem Logos:
A combination mark is an excellent option for virtually any business. Its versatility, unique nature, and widespread popularity among renowned companies make it a compelling choice.
While emblems often exude a traditional appeal preferred by public agencies and schools, they can also effectively serve emerging private businesses, particularly those in the food and beverage industry. Think about beer labels and coffee cups, with Starbucks being a prime example. However, it is crucial to exercise caution when incorporating intricate details in the design. Ensuring that the logo can be printed neatly across all marketing materials remains essential for maintaining a professional and cohesive brand image.
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