A logo is usually the first piece of branding a customer will see when they discover a business. When designing a logo, it is necessary to understand not only the components of a logo but also the different types of logos.
At a basic level, there are 5 different categories of logo styles: Wordmark Logos, Lettermark Logos, Brandmark Logos, Combination Mark Logos and Emblems.
In this post, we will discuss the 5 different logotypes and provide examples of each logo.
The “word mark”, is the brand name styled as a logo. The advantage of this is obvious – it immediately associates a business name with the visual identity and does not leave much room for brand confusion.
Creating the letters from scratch with subtle identifiers allow the type to stand alone as a symbol for the brand. Wordmarks can be hand-drawn lettering, based on a signature, or created from a pre-existing typeface.
The benefit of a hand-lettered logo is that it’s unique to the word and instantaneously ownable by the brand.
Wordmark logos are a versatile type of logo in the sense that the first letter can be pulled out to be used as a lettermark for simplicity on smaller applications.
A few examples of the wordmark logo are the Disney logo, Google logo and Facebook logo.
A lettermark logo, also known as a monogram logo, is a type of logo featuring the initials of the company name or brand rather than the full name.
Similarly, to the wordmark logo, lettermark logos can feature a custom font, special font weight, special font casing, or a unique feature like a notch or curve.
However, the common goal of a lettermark is to make the brand name easier to remember through use of a simplified acronym.
Do you recognize the name Home Box Office? How about HBO? HBO is a classic example of a lettermark logo which has benefited the company by making their brand easier to remember.
A few other examples of the lettermark logo are the CNN logo or the EA Sports logo.
A brandmark logo, also known as a pictorial logo, is a type of logo which features an image that represents the company or brand through a simplified abstract icon.
Many times, an image is much easier to remember than text; consider the Twitter Bird, or the Reddit Snoo. And, this is especially common in a global market where an image is universal unlike text which could be specific to a language.
As mobile web browsing and social media have become the standard for advertising—simplicity in a logo has become paramount. Minimalist design allows legibility and clarity at small sizes.
A few examples of the brandmark logo are the Twitter logo, the Reddit logo or the Snapchat logo.
Combination Mark Logos
A combination mark logo is the combination of both a wordmark and brandmark logo. The combination mark logo is a great way to represent your brand in both a visual aspect, as well as text. These logos typically have multiple lockup variations for different applications like stacked, landscape, and mark only.
The combination mark logos allow a brand to use the wordmark or the brandmark based on the situation. For example, the brandmark could be used separately from the wordmark for an app icon, or on a shoe in the case of Adidas.
A few examples of the combination mark logo are the Adidas Logo, the Domino’s Pizza Logo and quite famously, the McDonalds logo with the Golden Arches.
An emblem or badge logo, like a combination mark logo, is typically contained in a unique shape or container.
The emblem logo has historically been used for schools or organizations, sports teams or government agencies. Emblem style logos work really well on uniforms, or clothing and cast a sense of authority.
A few well-known examples of the emblem style logo include the Starbucks Logo, the Harley-Davidson logo or the NFL logo.
Deciding which style of logo works best for your company is a critical decision when starting your new venture.
From the simplicity of a wordmark logo to the complexity of an emblem style logo, it really comes down to which type will best portray your business and help your customers associate your business name or icon to your product or solution.
Consider where you will use your logo and then get to work. Testing your logo concepts within relevant mockups is a great way to see how it will work in real time situations.
Wells Collins is the Creative Director at Two Bridges Design – a nimble logo design studio based out of Denver, CO.