As brand identity markers, logos are essential visual tools to gain brand recognition and positive recall. And while most businesses know that a good brand logo is necessary for business, very few know that there are not two or three, but multiple logo styles. So which one should you choose for your startup? Which one will be most appropriate and suitable and will gain your brand the most recognition?
While you can definitely sub-divide different types of logo styles into further categories, a closer inspection will reveal that basic logo styles are actually condensed into 4 distinct styles: wordmarks, lettermarks, pictorial logos, and combination logos.
Let’s see what each of these is all about.
Wordmarks are typography-based logos and are also called logotypes. Simply put, they are words made into logo designs. Think of Coca-Cola and Disney. As logo designs go, they are pretty straight-forward and make for memorable brand names. Businesses that want to create recognition for their brand identity go for wordmark logos. Here the focus is on whole brand names such as media company logos like Google, Netflix, and Facebook.
Unsurprisingly, these logos are most effective for brands that have shorter names with distinct sounds. Take Google for example. It may not mean anything but it is a sound that is not heavy on the tongue or the ears. It’s simple to say and unique-enough to remember. With a bit of clever typography and smart coloring, an iconic logo is created.
To choose a wordmark as your brand logo, pay close attention to fonts. Go with a font that represents your unique business, is legible, and can keep its form when scaled.
- Brands with distinct names.
- Brands with shorter, one-word names.
- Newer brands that want instant recognition.
Lettermarks are very similar to wordmark logos but still quite different. Where wordmarks are whole words, lettermarks are acronyms. These are also letter-based logos, meaning there won’t be any symbol or icon carrying the weight of the design. Therefore, pick or create typefaces that are simple, easy to read, and connect with the core operations of your company.
Lettermark logos are also called monograms. Think of Chanel’s intertwined double Cs or IBM’s line art logo. To make lettermarks impressive, you need a really intelligent designer who knows which details to work on to create a memorable logo.
Usually, lettermark logos are used by brands that have longer or difficult names. Using business name initials, such companies can easily create brand names that enable quick recall and look streamlined. They may not be most suitable for brand new startups that still need time to make their brand name into something popular.
- Established brands.
- Brands with lengthier or difficult names.
- Newer brands if they can use the complete form of the brand name underneath the lettermark.
As perhaps you can glean from the name, pictorial logos consist of icons, symbols, pictures, and imagery. As graphic-based logos, they communicate all they need to through the intelligent use of imagery. Famous logos of this kind are Apple Inc’s bitten-apple, Twitter’s bird, and Starbucks’ green siren.
Usually, brands that use pictorial logos are already established ones; people are familiar with their names and know them well. Most often, pictorial logos emerge as an extension of older designs as was in the case of the Starbucks logo. What started as a combination of picture and text is now simply recognized by the picture alone.
When you opt for a pictorial logo, pay close attention to how you plan to integrate your whole brand into a single graphic.
Popular Pictorial Logos:
- Established, popular brands.
- Brands with a strong future vision with solid growth opportunities.
- Startups with long, difficult names that want to benefit from pictorial logos’ symbology.
A combination logo is a mixture of all or some of the above logo styles. Mostly it’ll contain a picture with a bit of text in the form of brand name and/or slogan. The text and the picture can be aligned in various ways on the layout with no hard and fast rules directing the design.
Combination logos are the most explanatory logos. They barely leave any room for imagination. Therefore, they are the most perfect choice for startups, especially as foundation logos that could be improved upon or enhanced upon later. With combination logos, the graphic part of your logo can in future be used exclusively, so design well.
Combination logos are divided into many further categories such as emblem logos (combination logos surrounded by a distinct frame of any shape), mascot logos (extension of other styles of logos where cartoonish characters are made into brand ambassadors), and others.
Popular Combination Logos:
- Most startup brands except for those with difficult or long names.
- As initial or early logos for brands that want to go for pictorial marks later.
Understanding different styles of logos is the key to determining which style will be most suitable for your startup. Typography based logos are good for helping people become familiar with your name. They also work wonders if your company name consists of three or four words and you can use the initials to create a really stunning monogram for your brand. Monograms have always been in vogue, so that’s something to look forward to.
Pictorial logos or logo symbols work well for brands that have put in the years of effort and people have learned to associate their brand name with their brand picture/symbol. Such as Pepsi’s two-toned sphere.
Combination logos are the most inclusive and work for most kinds of new startups. So design well and think wisely of which way you’d want to go for most benefits for your brand in the years to come.
Meet Dan Jenkins, a freelance blogger with a penchant for video streaming and all things electronics. He likes to dig deep into topics he writes about whether it is graphic design or gadget reviews. He likes collecting CDs and music records.