Graphic Design Advances

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Wordmark Logos (Logotypes)

These types of logos consist of text only – company names, monograms or initials.

Essentially, logotypes are just a company name set in some kind of particular typeface.

Advantages:

No one has to do any guessing when they see a wordmark – it’s quite clear what company the logo represents. Because the design is all in the lettering, logotypes are one of the most versatile logo options that are easily transferable onto any marketing material.

Also, if your company name is catchy, this is the perfect way to highlight that and use it to your branding advantage.

What to consider:

Does your company name say anything about what you do? If you’re not well-known, or if your business is named after a person rather than a concept, it may be difficult to create the kind of brand recognition you’d want a logo to help foster.

Inspiration: Subway, Uber, Camelback

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Lettermarks (Monograms)

Think abbreviations. Lettermarks, or monogram logos, are typography-based logos that take the abbreviated initials of a company and spruce up their design a bit. Boom! You have a no-fuss, no-frills logo.

Advantages:

Likely more than ever before, the world loves abbreviations (maybe we have the current technological era to thank for that?). From our interpersonal communication style (LOL, BTW, OMG – to name a few) to our luxury car companies (BMW), acronyms are throwing themselves all over the modern era.

Also, they’re to the point: Lettermarks turn your lengthy business name into an identifiable brand identity.

It’s relatively easy to get this logo up and running, so monograms could be a great option if you’re a new/small business who needs to get their name out there.

What to consider:

Know your fonts. The simplicity of the logo should work to your advantage, but make sure you’re not stuck with a boring, forgettable logo design; the appeal lies in the details.

Also, you may want to consider embossing your business’s full name under your logo on branding materials (like business cards or a landing page) so that people can build an association between your monogram logo and your company name.  

Inspiration: IKEA, CNN, FedEx

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Letterforms

Letterforms are the minimalist cousins of monograms – they’re just one-letter logos. Of course, these logos should be bold and beautiful (read: designed well), since it is difficult for a letter alone to convey a clear message. Think Favicons (“shortcut” or website icons).   

Advantages:

Letterforms are easily scalable – when your logo is just one letter, you can stick it anywhere and have it look equally as good.And, a successfully-designed letterform will subconsciously invoke the full name of your brand in people’s minds.   

What to consider:

Because these logos are just one letter, the design is crucial; if the logo isn’t memorable, it’s pointless. This could mean it has a funky font, dramatic backdrop or interesting color scheme- anything that makes the letter pop off the page and resonate.

Note: Make sure the font you use is legible – if your logo is just one letter, you want people to be able to read it.

Inspiration: McDonalds, WordPress, Yahoo

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Brand Mark

Brand marks – or pictorial marks – are logos that are made up of a graphic symbol or icon, one that (usually) represents a real-world object. We’re talking something simple and straightforward, like the outline of a tree or a coffee mug. This object could tell the story of what your company does – think Youtube’s play button – Twitter, “tweet” bird button.

Advantages:

Brand marks are clean-cut and easy to remember. If you offer a specific service, an image representing that will send a quick, clear message to your audience.

Also, the simplicity of the design will translate well when resizing your logo across branding materials like business cards or letterheads.

What to consider:

Tread cautiously if you’re a new business or don’t yet have many followers. While a brand mark is often the hallmark of companies that could be considered iconic, you need to first be established enough to be recognized. Otherwise, your logo may not communicate enough about you to your audience, and they’ll lose interest in your brand.

Also, bear in mind that if you’re planning on expanding your product line to a few diverse objects, your logo may misrepresent what you do.

Inspiration: The Rolling Stones, Apple, Twitter.

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Mascots

Arguably the most family-friendly type of logo, mascots are images of a character or person that act as a visual representation of your business. Think of them as your brand’s “spokesperson” – much of your advertising will be centered around them.

Advantages:

Mascots give their audience that warm-and-fuzzy feeling, which leads to creating a distinctly memorable brand. Also, nothing appeals to kids more than a physical, tangible character that they can relate to.

What to consider:

Realize that Mascots may not send the right message if your company’s focus is global innovation or disrupting the pencil industry – or, of course, marketing a product that isn’t child-friendly.

Moral of the story: If you’re a company selling cigarettes – don’t try to promote to kids. Just don’t.

Companies like Pillsbury, on the other hand, are perfectly represented by their wholesome, doughy – I mean, well-rounded – mascots (pictured below).

Inspiration: The food industry – KFC, Pillsbury, Kellogg’s.

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Combination Marks

The name is pretty self-explanatory, but combination logos incorporate – combine – both images and words into their design.

Combination marks logos are comprised of any combination of images and words that you choose; you can pair a letterform with a mascot, a monogram with an abstract image – whichever combination speaks to you the most.

Advantages:

One word: Versatility.

With both symbols and letters at your disposal, you can use your logo to craft a clear brand message that sticks.

The combination also allows for easy rebranding – your company name, for example, combined with an image (abstract or otherwise) will be associated as one, so that eventually your customers will only see the symbol and still immediately think of your brand.

(Nike did just that with their infamous “swoosh”; while their traditional logo is their name combined with the swoosh image, their clothing is often branded with just the swoosh – and is instantly recognized.)

What to consider:

Versatile doesn’t = excessive. Conceptualize how you want your name and symbol to work together, and keep your logo design clean and on-message.

Inspiration: Taco Bell, CVS, Toblerone.

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Emblem Logo

Even the name has that impressive, traditional feel. Emblem have stood the test of time, from family crests to the royal stamps of powerful monarchs. These logos consist of typeface that sits within a border – usually a seal or a crest. Think universities and government organizations.

Advantages:

Emblems are memorable, and they lend an air of professionalism, traditionalism and importance to your brand. They also give the impression that your company has been around forever, and it isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

What to consider:

Once again, think about scalability as you design your emblem, since these logos tend to have more detailed designs that may not look as nice when resized.

Also, emblems don’t afford you the same flexibility as standard combination marks do, so be absolutely sure about your design before sending your logo into the world.

Inspiration: Starbucks, Stella Artois, Superman