The Five Types Of Logos
When I ask my clients what type of logos they are drawn to, they usually don’t know how to answer. So, I ask them to send me images of ones they like (even if it isn’t related to their industry). I can usually spot a pattern right away! How? There are only five types of logos out there and subconsciously we are drawn to specific types even if they are very different in color, shape or industry.
When you are looking to create a new brand or rebranding it’s best to cater to your preferences and what attracts your target market. In other words, being able to identify your own patterns will allow you to look at a designer’s portfolio with new eyes and more carefully pinpoint if they are right for you.
So, what are the types of logos?
1. Word Marks:
Highly used by clothing stores (e.g. Aeropostale, Hollister, Dillards), wordmarks are text-based logos that use full words or the full name of the company. A text only version helps stores stand out by being easily readable and, depending on the font chosen, helps them look luxurious and high class.
What do I mean by the font chosen?
Take high-end stores like Carolina Herrera or Gucci. They both use a serif font in their logo and on their storefronts. If you look closely, the Zara logo closely resembles the Carolina Herrera font, which ends up indirectly contributing the high-end feel to Zara even though it’s a less expensive brand.
2. Letter Marks:
Letter marks share a characteristic with word marks: they are both text-based. The difference is that letter marks don’t use full words. Instead they use initials such a “HP” that stands for Hewlett Packard. This simplifies a name that might otherwise be hard to spell or recall and creates something catchy from the true name of the company.
D&G (Dolce & Gabbana) and GE (General Electric) are good examples of letter marks. Another potential benefit of letter marks is being able to have a square logo when the full name is too long.
3. Icons:Icons are symbols or images that are so memorable, they do not need accompanying text to stand out. Apple is probably the best example of an icon logo. While they do occasionally use text with their icons, almost everyone can recognize the apple icon without a doubt. BP uses a yellow and green starburst that is also recognizable without the need for text.
The magic behind this type of logo is precisely the fact that you don’t need words. We’ve all heard “a picture is worth a thousand words” and using an icon to represent our company is a great example of this.
An emblem, also known as a sigil, is a type of logo that includes text and icon together enclosed inside of a shape. The easiest way to describe this is to ask you to imagine a badge. While it is mostly used in the motor industry – Harley Davidson, Ford and BMW – it can be found everywhere.
The most famous emblem logo is probably Starbucks coffee. It’s in a simple circle shape, but has both icon and text there. UPS and the NFL are also great examples of emblems.
The final type is the mixed logo. This one uses both icon and text, but can stand alone with either one. For example, Toblerone has a mountain with a bear as its icon and the text “Toblerone” on its chocolates. Still, both of these could be used by themselves if need be.
Mcdonald’s can use its entire text or only the golden arches of the M. They are the best of both worlds by not letting go of their company name, but still taking advantage of the power of images.
There you have it: five types of logos and how they differ. Which logo type do you use for your business? Can you recognize yourself loving logos in a specific category?
Is there a business or company with a logo you like, but aren’t sure which category it falls into? I’d love to hear from you, so post your questions and comments below!
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