The dictionary describes the logo as a symbol or other design adopted by an organization to identify its products, uniforms, vehicles, etc
Did you know that there are seven different types of logos? Abstract mark (Pepsi), Mascot logo (KFC), Combination logo (Burger King), Emblem logo (i.e. a university or Starbucks), Lettermark (NASA), Pictorial mark (Apple) and Wordmark (Google). Although all of these are a combination of typography and imagery, each logo gives your brand a different look and feel.
So, which type of logo is best for your business? Let’s look at each one a little more in depth.
Lettermarks (aka monograms) — IBM, HBO, CNN, HP - See the pattern? They are the names of each business in its simplest form. Typically two or three words (sometimes four as is with NASA). They’re using the initials for the purpose of brand-identification
A lettermark is a typography-based logo that’s made up of a few letters — usually a company’s initials. The logomark is all about simplicity. Utilizing just a few letters, the lettermark is effective way of streamlining a company’s brand if they have a long name.
Because the focus is primarily on the initials, the font that you choose to use (or in some instances create) is of the highest importantce.
Wordmarks (aka logotypes) — Similar to the lettermark, a wordmark is a font based logo, but in this case the primary focus is on the company’s name. Visa, Coca-Cola and Google are great examples of wordmarks. The wordmark works really well when a company has a short and distinct name. When combined with strong typography, the logo helps create strong brand recognition as well as brand equity.
Just like with the lettermark logo, typography is a very important decision. Primarily because the focus will be on your company’s name and you’ll want to choose a font or have a custom font made that will capture the essence of what your company does.
Pictorial Mark — A pictorial mark (also known as a brand mark or logo symbol) is an icon or graphic-based design. It’s more than likely the first image that comes to mind when you think “logo.” The best examples of this would be Apple, Twitter, Instagram and Target. Here’s where the term “brand equity” comes in. Each company is so established that the mark alone is instantly recognizable. This type of logo can be tricky for a new company or a company that does not have strong brand recognition.
One of the biggest things to take under consideration when choosing this type of logo is what image to use. Remember, this image will stick with your company for its entire existence. So you’ll want to choose wisely. There are broader implications that come into play with this type of logo. Do you want to play on your name like John Deer? Or do you want to create deeper meaning like how Snapchat’s ghost tells us exactly what the product does? Or are you wanting to evoke an emotion like the World Wild Life Foundation does with their Panda?
Abstract Logo Marks — Just like the pictorial mark, the abstract logo is a single recognizable image. It is an abstract geometric image that represents your company. For example, BP, Pepsi and Adidas. They work really well simply because they condense your brand into a single image. The main difference between a pictorial mark and an abstract logo mark is that the abstract logo mark isn’t restricted to being a picture of something recognizable. This allows you the freedom to create something truly unique.
It also allows you to be free of cultural implications of any specific imagery. Through a strong use of colour and form you can attribute meaning and emotion to your brand.
Mascots — This type of logo is most often colourful, occasionally cartoonish and almost always fun. Mascots are a great way to create your very own brand spokesperson.
Simply put, a mascot is an illustrated character that best represents your company. The most famous mascots include the Kool-Aid man, Colonel Sanders, and Mr. Peanut to name a few. This is an excellent choice if you wish to create a wholesome atmosphere by appealing to families and children.
Combination Mark — The best of both worlds! As the name states, the combination mark combines a wordmark or a lettermark with a pictorial mark or an abstract mark. This combination can be laid out in a number of ways. For example, side-by-side, stacked one on top of the other or integrated together to create an image. For example, Doritos, Burger King, and Lacoste.
This is a very versatile choice as it your company’s name is associated with the image. The combination of the icon and text, work very well together to reinforce your brand. In no time people will start to associate your name with your pictorial mark or mascot. Over time you may be able to rely entirely on your pictorial mark. However, you would have to build up a lot of brand equity to pull this off successfully.
Lastly, the Emblem — The emblem logo consists of text inside a symbol or a pictorial mark. Take for example, a badge, seal or crest. For example, Starbucks or Harley Davidson. This type of logo has a very traditional feel to it and can have high impact. That is why they can be found anywhere from schools to organizations or even government agencies. They can even be found in the automotive industry.
However, because this type of logo can be heavy on details it makes it less versatile than the other logo types. The higher the detail in this type of logo, the less likely it will be able to work across all branding formats. A rule of thumb that we use with every logo that we design is to print it out, hold it at arms length and squint. If you can still read it, then it will work in a wide variety of formats and across all media. In short, the K.I.S.S rule will always give you the best result.