Although a good logo will always be recognizable and memorable it can also become priceless when combined with the right products or services - think of the nike swoosh. A really good logo is not usually an accident, and you can increase your chances of branding your business with a good logo by working with a designer. I'll write more regarding design in a later post and just focus on logo types in this one.
Remember every logo should always be unique and different in its own way but there are seven main logo type categories:
2. Pictorial marks (or logo symbols)
3. Wordmarks (or logotypes)
4. Monogram logos (or lettermarks)
5. Abstract logo marks
6. Mascot logos
7. Combination marks
Let's look at each style
What is an emblem logo?
An emblem is a logo that features text, a symbol, or imagery inside a shape.
Advantages of emblem logos
- They are memorable
- Give a traditional feel to your brand
- Give an official look to your brand
Disadvantages of emblem logos
- Emblems may not look always look so good when resized to a smaller resolution
- Hard to read when placed on a billboard
As these logos usually have a more traditional feel, this type of logo is often used by organizations, universities, government agencies, etc. Think of the Harvard logo, the Yale logo, or the NFL. All of them are emblem logo types. Some popular brands choose this type of logos as well, such as Starbucks.
Emblem logos are very popular with the auto industry too. Some automobile companies like Ford and BMW use emblem logos. In recent years, some companies have decided to modernize the traditional emblem look with entirely new or updated logo designs that are more appropriate for the 21st century.
A logo reduced to its symbolistic meaning is called a pictorial mark or a brandmark.
Some examples of brandmark logos are Apple, Twitter, Nike, Target, and McDonald’s.
Advantages of pictorial marks
- Conveys ideas through a symbol
- Can be incredibly recognizable if the brand is popular
- Scalable (especially if you opt for a vector logo design)
Disadvantages of pictorial marks
- Not the best option if you do not have a strong brand recognition
The logo design does not need to be a literal representation of your business identity but if you want your audience to associate your brand with this type of logo design, it will need to include a very distinctive symbol that you can use as visual representations of your brand.
If you're a start up business, you can use this type of logo. However, you'll want a wordmark associated with the symbol until your broad audience becomes familiar with your brand. Once you reach a point where the symbol of your logo is recognizable enough that you don't need the wordmark, you can remove it.
Advantages of wordmark logos
- Easy to mix with or add other design elements
- Easily recognized
- Perfect for a new businesses
Disadvantages of wordmark logos
- Works better with short brand names
- You may need to update the font to keep up with newer trends
The wordmark logos are a powerful type of logo design. Wordmark logos are pretty straightforward as they are made up of the company's name. The main feature of the logotype design is its typography. You won't find symbols, graphic patterns, or emblems in a logotype.
Finding the right typography to represent your brand becomes incredibly important because the whole identity of your brand will be created by the style and color of your fonts. Choose colors after deciding on typography and let them represent the feel of the brand.
Some wordmark logo examples are Coca-Cola, Tiffany & Co., and Google.
This type of logo is perfect if you are just starting out and unsure what symbol represents you best. Additionally, having your brand’s name as a logo will get your name out there and generate awareness quickly.
Lettermark or Monogram Logos
If you want to reduce your brand's name to an acronym, lettermarks, or monogram logos are an easy way to do it. You can simply create the logo by taking the initials from each word of your brand's name. Typography considerations are incredibly important when choosing a lettermark or monogram logo.
Advantages of monogram logos
- Great if your brand includes several names which you can use to create the acronym
- Looks professional
- Easily recognized
- Scalable with the right font
Disadvantages of monogram logos
- Hard to recognize if your a new business
- You may want or need to place the full name beneath it until it's safe to remove it
You'll want to create a custom typeface since the logo will be made only of an acronym. You should also make sure the typeface is legible when scaling down.
Examples of famous brands that use lettermark logos are HBO, NASA, and IBM.
Abstract Logo Marks
The abstract logo design features abstract geometric forms and abstract elements and does not include recognizable images - like an apple or a bird.
Advantages of abstract logo marks
- Usually very unique
- Instantly recognizable over time
Disadvantages of abstract logo marks
- Not the best type of logo for a new brand
The abstract form will help you condense your brand into a single, distinctive appearance. Examples of famous companies and organizations that use abstract logo types are Pepsi, Nike, and Mastercard.
This abstract logo mark should convey a particular message and represent your brand. You should also carefully consider the colors you use, as they can also help make the logo more memorable.
If your business or product is new, an abstract logo mark can be risky to represent you because you will need to build an audience of people who recognize your brand.
Advantages of mascot logos
- Evoke a fun and friendly vibe
- Easily recognized
Disadvantages of mascot logos
- Hard to renew and change the character
- Does not work well for brands that want to send a professional message
When thinking of a mascot, sports usually come to your mind first? Mascots at sporting events are fun and entertaining. They create a warm dynamic that also involves the audience.
Mascot logos evoke a similar vibe with positive associations. They involve an illustrated character of a real person, an imaginary person, or a non-human entity. Most often, mascot logos are colorful and fun. They make you feel more connected to the brand since people will be more attracted to the character representing your company.
Mascot logos are often used for sports teams, beverage companies, and food brands. KFC, Monopoly, Planters, and Cheetos are well known for their famous mascots.
As the name suggests, a combination mark is a logo created utilizing various kinds of logo design.
The best thing about this type of dynamic mark is that you can mix multiple types of logo design. Especially useful if you cannot decide on a single image, symbol, or abstract form.
Advantages of combination mark logos
- Perfect for a new businesses
- Easy to edit in the long term
- It gives you more freedom for creativity
Disadvantages of combination mark logos
- It can become overloaded if it combines too many logo types
Want to use a symbol but are afraid that you will confuse potential customers and your brand won't be easy to recognize? Then you can easily combine a symbol logo with an abstract symbol, words, or acronyms.
You can use a combination of typography or a combination of wordmarks as well. Mix and match with different types of logos until you feel strongly about a final version to represent your brand. Some popular examples of combination mark logos are Rolex, Burger King, and Adidas.
I often recommend a combination logo if someone is unsure about other logo types. It allows the most freedom and can be reduced to single elements in the future as a brand builds awareness.