9 Types of Logos and How to Use Them

Rangan Das

October 4, 2022

Creating a great logo is key to establishing a strong brand. But before you go ahead with your design, learn all about the 9 types of logos and which one of them would fit your business.

Logos are a combination of images, text, colors, and shapes. They are a visual representation of the brand. Every brand makes use of its logo not only to make its product distinguishable but also to establish brand identity. 

Logos serve to define a brand's personality and distinguish it from rivals. The brand and its personality will be accurately reflected in a good logo, which will also be memorable and effective in a variety of settings. 

If you look closely, you will see that logos are everywhere. It’s there on the device where you are reading this, it's on the watch on your wrist, it's on the clothes you are wearing, or even on the packaging of the food you are consuming. You will also notice how each brand makes use of different logo styles. 

Logos, however, need to have certain properties. Logos should be simple, functional, memorable, and recognizable. They should also be recognizable irrespective of their size, and the medium they are printed or shown on. 

Different types of logos are used by brands. When creating a brand or a product logo, there are nine different types of logos you can use. However, keep in mind that a logo is a creative element and often, your logo may not fit into the types of logos mentioned here. 

1. Wordmarks or logotypes

Wordmark (or a logotype) is the company logo written in a specific font. To successfully learn how to design a logo, you need to pay extra attention to every little detail. Even though the design process can appear simple, the design process can get quite complex. 

As Steve Jobs once said, "Simple can be harder than complex."

Here are a few options if you want to create a wordmark or text logo. 

Some companies, like Coca-Cola, design a special typeface specifically for their logo. Similarly, Samsung has a special font for its logo. However, they often use their logo inside an ellipse. 

Creating the right typeface calls for the expertise of a qualified designer. As an alternative, you can select a logo font that captures the spirit of your company. For instance, contemporary logo designs typically employ a sleek sans serif font. 

The Gotham font has also been used in multiple logos such as the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and The Water Trust. However, in the case of the latter, the glyphs were modified to create a logo. Trendier logo designs may call for more ornate or serif typefaces. 

2. Letterforms

Letterforms are one-letter logos. They only use the first letter of the brand name. The most notable example of a letterform logo is Facebook’s logo. These logos have another version where the whole brand name is shown. 

Letterform logos are simplified logos. Furthermore, they are also scalable since they are small. They are probably still recognizable even when used in tiny dimensions, especially if they have a straightforward design without too many details. This makes them perfect for social media profile pictures, favicons, app icons, and more.

In general, letterform logos are a wise choice for companies with established reputations. Otherwise, it might be difficult to get people to recognize and remember the name of your business. Long-named brands can also benefit from them.

Other examples include Netflix, the old Pinterest and Uber logos, and Beats.

3. Lettermarks or monograms

Lettermarks are typography logos made up of the brand's initials. These are also known as monogram logos. Brands with monogram logos include HBO (Home Box Office), AMD (Advanced Micro Devices), IBM (International Business Machine), and NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration). You will also notice how we know these brands by their abbreviated forms and not their full name. 

Lettermarks can be created using a custom typeface or by locating a font that effectively communicates your brand identity. Make sure to consider various typography factors, such as width, weight, style, and kerning. A great example in this regard is HP (Hewlett-Packard) which uses different logotypes to distinguish its devices. 

For companies with lengthy names who want to make a shortened version more memorable, letter marks are a popular option.

4. Logo symbols or brand marks

Graphic icons, symbol logos, or images that represent a brand's identity or activity are known as logo symbols. They are also known as brand marks or pictorial marks. 

These kinds of logos typically depict a real-world object. The best logos make use of symbols so that when you first see them, you immediately recognize the brand. Examples include Apple, Microsoft, Instagram, Shell, Mercedes-Benz, and so on. 

These pictorial marks often have a meaning behind them. For instance, Shell explores the history of the brand through their logo. For Apple, the symbol is a literal visualization of the brand. Similarly, you can take note of the upward-facing bird that Twitter uses to signify hope and freedom.

Finding the ideal illustration for your logo symbol can be difficult, especially if your company is still relatively new. It may take some time for customers to recognize your logo and associate it with your brand, and you may grow, change, and add new products as time goes on. In this situation, think about adding your name to the logo. 

An essential tip for such graphic design logos is to ensure that your design will always be timeless in addition to making sure that you select a symbol that changes with your brand. Even though it might be alluring to create a pictorial logo that is trendy and "of the moment," you don't want to end up needing to design a new logo a few months down the line to stay up to date. 

5. Abstract logo marks

These are image-based logos that reflect a company's branding by utilizing abstract forms. Abstract logo marks are more metaphorical than pictorial marks that depict actual objects. Examples include Nike, the entire suite of services by Google (like Drive, TV, or Play Store), Airbnb, and so on. For international brands whose names don't translate well into different languages, an abstract logo mark can be a good option.

Abstract logo marks allow you to make something incredibly original because they don't represent a particular recognizable object. If you choose this style of a logo, identify the guiding principles of your company. Try reflecting them in a straightforward geometric shape to see if the right feelings and messages are conveyed. 

For instance, Airbnb's logo not only resembles the letter "A," but also the well-known "location" icon and an abstracted version of an upside-down heart. 

If you choose to design this kind of logo, be sure that your brand identity is well-established and that you are clear on the message you want to convey to your target market. 

6. Mascots

Mascot logos feature illustrative characters that serve as "ambassadors" or visual representations of a brand. They can be fictional characters or actual people if they convey the brand's essence. A very notable example is the Duracell Bunny. Other examples include Michelin Man by Michelin or, Colonel Sanders by KFC.

Mascots can be a useful tool for engaging customers with your brand because people naturally identify with other people or fictional characters. Mascots can also be used to convey a fun, playful vibe to your audience, which helps to explain why businesses geared toward children and families frequently use this style of logo. 

Mascots can be useful when designing social media and marketing campaigns because they are typically amiable and interesting. If your company would benefit from having a mascot, think about how you can use it to convey the right message.

7. Emblems

Emblems, also referred to as badge logos, frequently have crest-like characteristics. Often, they have the shape of a shield. They create elaborate designs with a traditional vibe by fusing text with symbolic imagery. These are, in some way, like Logo symbols, but in this case, the text is an integral part of the picture. Emblems can provide the room you need to include a slogan that captures the essence of your brand. Examples include Starbucks, Harley-Davidson, NFL, Warner Brothers, and Manchester United.

Although there are no restrictions, universities, sports teams, and coffee brands are particularly fond of this style of logo. A modern interpretation of the logo that chooses a more minimalist approach and typically uses vector illustrations and clean lines is currently popular.

When designing an emblem, keep in mind that this type of logo can be less versatile and doesn't always work well on a smaller scale because of its intricate details. You can come up with a simpler solution in those circumstances.

8. Combination marks

As the name implies, this kind of logo combines words and images. A combination logo might, for instance, combine an icon with a wordmark, a mascot with a letterform, and so forth. Some companies use a combination mark as their primary logo, occasionally dividing the text and image to better fit different contexts. Notable logos examples include Taco Bell, Toblerone, Dropbox, CVS, Dove, and NBC.

Due to their extreme versatility, combination marks are very popular among brands across all industries. While making sure that there is consistent and unified visual language used throughout, you can create several variations of your logo and use them for various purposes. 

9. Dynamic marks

Dynamic logos are somewhat of a peculiar anomaly in the world of logos. Although it may seem strange given that consistency in logo design is a general rule, dynamic logos are quite adaptable. Dynamic logos change over time, depending on the situation. 

A notable example is the Google logo. The Google logo changes depending on what day the brand is observing. For example, after the death of the Queen of England, the logo was just a gray wordmark. They also observe birthdays, elections, seasons, and so on. 

This works especially well for brands that are dynamic themselves.

This kind of logo might be ideal if you work in the creative sector and want to stay current and creative. Try not to overdo it with frequent modifications to your logo. Also, you want customers to associate it with positive events and foster their relationship with your brand.

Wrapping up

Creating a logo is a challenging task, particularly if the brand is new. Once you have a logo, creating product packaging becomes another challenge. However, with label management and creative collaboration software like Artwork Flow, managing packaging design becomes much easier, especially with proofing tools like the color extractor and font finder.

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