Congratulations on formulating the brand idea that you’re ready for the world to see! Before you take off, you need an recognizable image that leaves a lasting impression on consumers: a logo.
A logo is a graphic mark used to promote public recognition. This pictorial moniker encompasses your brand’s core identity. And if you’re doing it right, your logo will have a positive association with the masses.
There are primarily 5 types of logos that brands choose from, each type suits a different set of circumstances. An iconic brand like yours should start looking into the following categories:
- Symbols/Abstract logo marks
Before you choose, you should know that the most fundamental function of a logo is giving your business a unique mark that differentiates you from other businesses. We know. That’s a lot of responsibility for a tiny image! Because new, successful ideas come with infinite possibilities, we’ve compiled a list of essential types of logos to make the selection process a breeze.
The first recorded monograms appeared on coins dating back to 350 BC, as a royal signature. Today, a monogram, also known as a lettermark, is characterized as a motif made by overlapping or combining two or more letters or other graphemes to form one symbol.
Monograms are often made by combining the initials of an individual or a company, used as recognizable symbols or logos. To be successful, monograms don’t have to include brand initials as long as it displays your brand’s ideals. A good rule of thumb is to include a monogram if your brand name is longer than two to three symbols.
Often crisp and minimalist in style, if your brand decides on a monogram, choose a font that is simple yet striking enough to stick to a consumer’s memory. The most popular font arrangements are: initial, block, traditional, stacked, interlocking, circle, diamond and split-letter. Think: NASA, IBM, HBO, CNN, etc. Luxury brands, like Louis Vuitton and Coco Chanel, are also notorious for monograms.
Wordmarks, also known as logotypes, are a natural extension of monograms. They are a logo that includes only the company name – to the point and little to no frills. The type-only look is popular (and timeless) across industries, especially tech, media, fashion and food.
Popular examples include Google, Facebook, Burger King, Calvin Klein, etc. Companies that go for logotypes usually have one of the following characteristics:
- They have a short, distinctive business name.
- They use it across many different mediums.
- They use bright, distinctive colors or typefaces in their logos.
Similar to a monogram, the font of your logotype is crucial, since your name is the entire logo. To start the process of choosing a typeface that will stick out from other brands, think about whether you want a sans serif or serif font. Also, to ensure legibility across different sizes and different channels, consider: weight, case and other features like notches or curves. Get detailed about spacing and letter casing and play with shape.
You can do a lot to make a wordmark logo stand out, but remember to practice restraint with additional embellishments. Simplicity is key here.
Symbols and abstract logo marks
Symbols, a stylized graphic-based or icon-based logo, are what usually come to mind when you think “logo.” A logo symbol is recognizable and a stand alone object outside its connection with the company. Brands that do this well are global powerhouses. Think: Apple, Twitter, Nike.
As an upcoming brand getting started with an abstract logo, it may be easier to create a connection between the graphic and underlying core aspects of the brand. First, try picking a relatively timeless symbol that won’t become irrelevant overtime, like a bird or a checkmark. Then, add your own twist to an otherwise timeless object like taking a bite out of an apple.
Tinder is another great example of a symbol logo, which uses a simple fire icon. Tinder’s logo captures the essence of its offerings and its core audience while also offering flexibility to capture ideas about the brand. Symbols and abstract logo marks leave enough room for consumer interpretation.
Mascots are (usually fictional) characters that are used to represent a brand. Although they can be used to create a wholesome brand image that evoke connections within children like the Kool-Aid man, they can be a great way to showcase a brand’s history and the excitement that comes with it. Take the Celtics’ winking leprechaun for instance that draws on the city’s rich Irish heritage.
A good portion of family-friendly brands use animals as mascots. For example, the Frosted Flakes Tiger embodies the high energy of the brand and its endorsements. The Charmin Bears signify the softness and thickness of toilet paper.
However, notoriously intricate, mascots may be tough to translate across different mediums like business cards, t-shirts, flyers, etc. Therefore, it’s important that your mascot is embedded into other aspects of the brand identity to create space to explore other logo options that leave your mascot out.
Emblems, some of the oldest types of logos, usually involve both letters and icons in the center of a crest, seal or coat of arms. Emblems, like mascots, are intricate logos that may be hard to translate to business cards, mugs, t-shirts, and other merchandise. When scaling the logo down to fit in different places, think about the small details that can be retained across digital and print media.
Traditional in nature, emblems evoke feelings of authority and tradition which makes this established-feeling perfect for universities, sports teams, governmental organizations, automobile industry, and so on. While some brands like to keep the traditional essence of an emblem, other companies, like Starbucks and Harley Davidson, have revolutionized the idea of a ‘crest’ logo so that they are current to today.
Another current example of emblem design today is the edgy, vintage logo that brings in the century-old history and character of Bacardi. Emblems, traditional and modern, can give insight into a deep history and add some weight to your brand story.
So, what type of logo should you pick?
Bottomline: A logo is the cornerstone of your business. In the end, we chose a mascot logo to cheer you on. Every time you look up at your tab you’ll see not one, but two thumbs up from us for all your hard work on creating. To get started on the best logo for your business:
- Start with a core idea. You’re here already, so you’re already on a great track!
- Jot down initial ideas. It’s okay to go with your gut.
- Think about your industry. This could make the difference between a symbol or a mascot.
For more inspiration on the different type of logos, join the #PlaybookCommunity to see trending artists who started in your shoes and how far they’ve come in their brands. When your logo is all finalized and if this article helped any, we hope you come back to post in the Community and tag us on Instagram! In the meantime, we’ll keep finding new ways for creatives to organize, share and collaborate with their team.