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Master the 7 Types of Logos with These 7 Tips

Logos are all around us, on our home appliances, electronic devices, makeup products, food items, apparel, toys…. the list just goes on. When something is so involved in our surroundings, we often forget to think about its origin. But if you’re an entrepreneur, marketing expert, logo designer, or someone who’s looking to build a brand identity with a logo, then this goes out to you. There’s a lot of science and creative thinking that goes into the creation of a single logo. 

Let’s take a look into the most common types of logos and how you can use their effective factors to your advantage.

1 – Wordmarks

Wordmarks or logotypes are the simplest forms of logo design. Think Google. That’s wordmark logo designing at its finest. What goes into the creation of a wordmark logo is the right selection of font and color(s). 

Since it’s all just textual, you need a strong vibe that translates best into your brand essence. Following Google’s example here, if we see the font and the colors, both are very basic and straightforward. Because Google is an international platform, initiated with a goal to be accessible everywhere, and that’s pretty clear from their logo. Anyone can easily comprehend the logo, while the primary colors represent diversity they promote in their culture and target audience.

Tips for using wordmarks/logotypes 

Do if:

  • Your brand is new, and you’re working on brand recognition 
  • You like to keep it simple
  • You’re thinking of expanding your brand portfolio with different branding material
  • Your brand name is short and unique

Don’t if:

  • Your brand name is long
  • You don’t like to worry about timely updates –selected font may be all the rage at the time of your launch, but with time, seasons change, fashions change, and you’ll most definitely have to update your logo accordingly.

2 – Monograms

Monograms or lettermarks are a modernized take on wordmarks. Many companies are known by their acronyms derived from a combination of their initials, like HBO, IBM, NASA, and so on. No one really calls it National Aeronautics and Space Administration when saying NASA is so much more convenient.

Monograms also give more freedom for playing around with the fonts. When there are fewer letters involved, there’s less chance of misreading. Even after overlapping and styling in various ways, initials are still comprehendible, like Channel, Luis Vuitton, and Gucci, to name a few.

  Tips for using monograms/lettermarks 

Do if:

  • Your brand name is longer, and you want to shorten it to a catchier acronym
  • You’re not afraid of being bold in your creative ventures
  • You’re a part of an industry where acronyms are a trend

Don’t if:

  • Your brand is new, and the abbreviated version won’t be recognized by a large number of your target audience

3 – Emblems

Emblems are the oldest form of visual identity. They’ve been around even before the age of marketing and branding. Although there’s been a significant shift in emblem logo designs yet the core element remains the same, which is the air of gravitas and composure. Emblems are a mix of a geometric shape or some specific symbol with a brand name. Most educational institutes and state agencies go for emblems. 

Tips for using emblems

Do if:

  • Your brand is related to education, law, or public services
  • You want to convey a bold and traditional brand image

Don’t if:

  • You’re thinking of expansion of multiple channels, for example, emblem logos don’t look too good when optimized to fit as favicon on your website or on corporate merchandise

4 – Brandmarks

Brandmarks or pictorial marks are simply an iconic representation of your brand. Take it as a complete opposite of wordmarks, where we need an entire brand name for identification. On the other hand, just an icon or a pictorial symbolization of the brand will do. This is what’s challenging for new brands that opt for a brandmark; they can’t directly associate an image with their brand identity without a certain level of recognition. 

Tips for using brandmarks

Do if:

  • You’re sure about the symbol that you want to use for the long run
  • Your brand name is a direct representation of your symbol, like Apple

Don’t if:

  • You’re still exploring your services/products and target audience; then it might be too early to lock in your brand image with one symbol
  • You want a serious and traditional feel

5 – Mascots

Mascots are customized illustrations used as an official logo for identification of a brand. KFC’s Colonel Sanders is a leading example. Your mascot works as a pictorial symbol of your logo. Mascots don’t only work as your visual identity, but they also work as your very own customized brand spokesperson, engaging with the audience and great for public events.

Tips for using mascots

Do if:

  • Your brand wants to communicate via a personality  
  • You want to create a fun brand image
  • You want flexibility for future variations

Don’t if:

  • You work in rather serious industries like law, banking, pharmaceutics, etc.
  • You’re thinking about using the same logo for marketing material

6 – Abstract Marks

Abstract logos are a type of pictorial symbol, but rather than going with a direct image; they are made by a customized creation. It can be a combination of colors, shapes, or lines to make up a personal symbol that is unique to your brand only, like the symbol used by Pepsi.

Tips for using abstract marks

Do if:

  • You want a unique symbol for your brand
  • You want to stand out
  • You want to go for a pictorial logo, but not a real image, like an apple or a bird
  • You like your logo to be simple yet optimizable

Don’t if:

7 – Combination Marks

Just as the name suggests, combination marks are a mix of all other types mentioned above. You can either play mix and match with a wordmark and a pictorial one or go for an abstract and monogram mix. There are different ways to go about it. A combination mark is a versatile choice because you have the freedom of playing with more than one logo element. Take Dove, for example; they use both the text and the pictorial representation.

Tips for using combination marks

Do if:

  • Your brand is new
  • You want an icon to be associated with your brand name
  • You like to be open to choices
  • You’re striving for longevity 

Don’t if:

  • Your target audience is drawn to simplicity; combination marks can be too much to work with sometimes

So, there you have it! Brainstorm and figure out the factors that suit your brand requirements the best and go ahead with it. 

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Michelle Richards loves to chew on words, graphic design and bubble gum. Her writing reflects all this combination – practical, aesthetical, and fun. She also likes to explore technical topics such as web development, and gadget reviews. 

Scott Nailon

Scott Nailon

Hi, I'm Scott Nailon. I built my first website using notepad on my buggy Osbourne Pentium 133 (Windows 98) computer back in 1998. I have been running my own business since 2006 with a specialty in web since 2008. Most of these blogs are my own, if they are written by someone else I will have attributed that person at the end of the article. Thanks for reading!

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