We often overlook the many types of logos that surround us. There are probably several around you right now, and you just haven’t noticed. You’ll find them on phones, food packaging, shoes, and even on the screen you’re using to read this article. If you live in an urban environment, you likely have a logo in your view at all times, whether you’re indoors or outdoors.
Logos are crucial for businesses as they represent the “branding” or identity of a company — the thing that makes it unique. A good one will help set you apart from others, reflect your identity, and become memorable for your audience.
You should start by exploring at least several types to create one that represents your brand’s unique identity. So, let’s discuss various logo types with examples to help you understand which one is best for your business. But before we dive into that, we should learn the basics.
A logo is simply a graphical symbol, mark, or emblem that promotes, represents, and identifies a business entity. Its main purpose is to help you stand out from the crowd and become recognizable.
Logos may include a figurative or abstract design aspect, and they also often have text or the company’s name.
Over time, people began to recognize brands by their logos and associate a business’ characteristics with them. For example, anytime you see the Apple logo, you likely associate it with their line of premium tech products.
Logos have a deeper impact on us than we think, so their design is a big part of any brand’s marketing and branding efforts.
Here are the main types with some examples and information to help you find inspiration and guidance on designing your own.
It’s a type where the brand’s name is written in a particular font or typeface. The specific typography highlights the logo. This may seem very basic, but simplicity can be the key to success and is often harder to achieve than a more complicated design.
A lot of attention to detail goes into making these logos. Some popular examples include:
Brands often hire a professional designer or typography expert to create a custom font for their logos.
Coca-Cola is perhaps the biggest example of a wordmark logo with a custom font. While this is a time-intense and detailed approach, you can always choose a font from existing typefaces.
You need to pick one that reflects your brand’s image. For example, a contemporary fashion brand may use a more modern and sleek font. In contrast, a toy company may use an engaging, catchier font and vibrant colors.
Color is one of the many aspects you need to consider. Others include text sizing, caps, no caps, or a mixture, and whether you want to add special characters or not. Wordmark logos typically work best for newer brands that want their name to become recognizable. If you have a catchy name, it’s also good to use this type.
Sometimes wordmark logos can be too long or complex. That usually happens when the brand complements them with letterforms. A letterform or lettermark logo is a single-letter logo that typically includes just the first letter of a brand’s name.
The size of such logos makes them easier to scale, and they remain recognizable even in the smallest dimensions. But this often requires design simplicity to work effectively. Letterform logos are ideal for a small product, a profile picture, or mobile app icons.
Famous examples of letterforms are:
You also find letterform logos with brands like Facebook, Uber, Pinterest, and Beats.
Such logos are ideal for companies with long names and brands that are already well-established and popular. New or lesser-known businesses should avoid letterforms since audiences don’t recognize or remember their brand yet.
Monogram logos are also lettermark logos made using the initials of the company’s name. Popular examples include:
Think about the last time you heard or used the words Cable News Network, Home Box Office, or Hewlett and Packard. You most likely can’t remember because no one uses those names, and everyone prefers the abbreviations.
You can create letterform and monogram logos with custom fonts. But you can also select an existing typeface that reflects your brand’s identity.
Monogram logos are excellent for companies with long, wordy names because they’re more memorable and recognizable. When developing such a logo, you have to consider:
Pictorial marks use graphic images or icons to represent a company. Typically, they depict a real-world object characterizing the brand’s identity. But this isn’t always the case.
The best pictorial marks are instantly recognizable, and we immediately relate them to the brand. Popular examples include:
Logo symbols can directly represent your brand’s name like Target or Apple. But they can also encapsulate your company’s message, activity, or values, like Major League Baseball and Twitter.
It’s not easy to find the best symbol for your brand, especially for new companies. When you’re starting out, you don’t know the changes you’ll experience as you grow. Also, it takes time for audiences to recognize a logo symbol and relate to a brand. That’s why brands often include their name in a pictorial mark to make it more recognizable.
It’s best to avoid trending symbols and designs for such logos. Instead, stick to something more timeless and memorable, so it can easily last the entire lifetime of your company.
Abstract logos are similar to pictorial marks since they’re also an image-based company representation. However, they use metaphorical imagery that doesn’t look like a real-world or recognizable object.
Some notable examples include:
Abstract logos are more suited to companies with a comprehensive understanding of their brand identity and values. That typically comes with experience, meaning more established companies can opt for this type.
The development process starts with stating your company’s core values and trying to reflect them in a geometric form that engages audiences and conveys the right brand message and emotions. Think about the Olympic rings, the Nike swoosh, or the Adidas stripes.
To create an abstract logo, you first need to establish and fully understand your brand’s core values and identity. Only then can you start to experiment for the right abstract representation.
Such a logo type works well for established brands and multinational companies whose names may not be understandable or recognizable in different languages.
Mascots are character illustrations that showcase a representative or ambassador that reflects your company identity and visual symbol. They connect your brand to a fictional or real character.
Mascot logos are highly effective because audiences have a natural tendency to easily connect them to an idea, feeling, or company. Ideally, a logo of this type should be a jolly, fun, or pleasing character that attracts audiences.
These logos are commonly used by brands that target families, children, and babies. Popular examples include:
You need to think about whether your company needs a mascot and how you’d use it in a logo. If you need inspiration, see how Nike uses the Michael Jordan logo to represent the line or Air Jordan products. While not every Nike product needs a mascot, Jordan is an excellent one for premium basketball products.
An emblem logo is a modern marketing representation of the traditional crest. It often uses texts and symbols to create an elaborate design. Because of their symbolic nature, these are often known as badge logos or simply badges.
Many sports teams, car manufacturers, and universities use emblem logos as visual representations of their brands. Companies also incorporate such logos in their marketing and branding. Notable examples include:
If your company is in an industry that typically uses emblem logos, you should consider it for your brand.
Typically, it’s best to include a brand message or slogan with your emblem in marketing materials to solidify your identity and messaging with it. But elaborate emblems aren’t always ideal for use in smaller spaces, making them less versatile than other types.
A combination or combo logo is a type that combines pictures and words. It can be a mascot with a monogram, an abstract logo with a wordmark, or any other mix of imagery and text.
Examples of a combination logo include:
Often, companies that use a combination logo as the main representation of their brand may split the picture and text to use in various marketing areas.
For instance, they may use the text for written material and the picture for visual representations. That makes combo logos highly versatile and attractive to companies. That’s why you can find examples in almost all industries.
Their versatility also makes them ideal for new companies that aren’t very popular. Comb logos help new brands build recognition because audiences can connect the picture and text.
Over time, your brand will stay recognizable with combination logos, whether you use the image or text.
Dynamic logos or marks are unlike other types because they break consistency. This may sound odd since it would defeat the purpose of logo design — being recognizable and memorable. However, the diversity and capacities of dynamic marks make them more versatile than any other logo type.
They can take many forms derived from a consistent logo design already established among audiences. This makes them ideal for companies and brands with a popular brand identity. Such logos require an established design that serves as a theme for all versions or dynamic marks.
The best example of this type is the Google search engine or website. When you visit the website, you’ll often see a dynamic logo on top of the search bar, characterized by an ongoing holiday, celebration, or a historical figure or event.
Despite the many forms of this logo, you can easily make out that it’s a Google dynamic mark, even if you see it outside the platform. Google is so popular and well established that its logo is instantly recognizable even in different forms.
Such dynamic logos send out a relevant brand message and solidify Google’s image among audiences. It also helps that these logos become talking points and effectively improve the platform’s overall marketing efforts.
Other examples of such logo designs include:
If you’re in a creative industry or run a dynamic brand, such logos can be highly effective for your company. But dynamic logos are difficult to create, even for professionals. They require thoughtful and strategic design that targets audiences.
Also, they’re easy to overdo by moving away from the consistent theme, making the logo unrecognizable. Similarly, too many frequent changes may not be effective as you have to nurture the positive connection that audiences make with each version before you move on to the next.
You should now understand the different types of logos, what they consist of, how they’re used, and which one is best suited for your brand. Regardless of your choice, remember to come up with a thoughtful and attractive design that’s memorable for audiences.
Take time to decide the font, color palette, dimensions, imagery, typography, spacing, and usage. The goal is to add value, build trust, and become instantly recognizable by your logo.
If executed correctly, good logo designs bring compounding benefits over time, regardless of the type you choose. Once you establish your brand’s name, you can try using other useful and versatile types, like abstract logos and dynamic marks.
Wordmark logos, monogram logos, pictorial marks, mascot logos, emblem logos, combination logos, and dynamic marks make the seven logo types.