Types of logos

A logo is a symbol or other design that identifies your business. Good logos are distinctive and memorable and there are many types of logos to consider. Knowing which types of logos are best for your business will get you off to a flying start.

We also design logos for new businesses at competitive rates

The most popular different types of logos

  1. Wordmark
  2. Lettermark
  3. Pictorial Mark
  4. Combination Mark
  5. Emblem

Wordmark logo

Also referred to as a Logotype. These are font-based and focus on the name of the business. If your company has a distinct name like Coca-Cola, Tiffany & Co. or Google these logotypes work well. They might look straight forward but a good designer will take the time to craft each logotype. They won’t opt for the first free font that’s available or a trendy typeface that looks cool today. Instead, they will find ways to nuance the typography and make it unique to the brand. They could also create a typeface, adapt a font or handcraft your wordmark.

Wordmark types of logos example

When to use a wordmark logo

  • Consider using a wordmark logo if you want to focus on your brand name
  • If you have a catchy name and legibility is important

If you have a long company name, you should consider a lettermark instead.

Lettermark logo

A lettermark logo uses acronyms or interwoven letters in place of long brand names and is also referred to as a monogram. Examples are BBC and Hewlett-Packard. Lettermarks are used to simplify complex names so they are easier to say and remember. With time, a lettermark can transcend a company’s name. Consider IBM – you know who they are and what they do, but do you remember what the lettermark stands for? For easy reference… International Business Machines Corporation.

Lettermark types of logos

When to use a lettermark

  • If your brand name is longer than 3 words
  • When you have a complex name that isn’t easy to recall

Pictorial mark

This is the icon that comes to mind when you think of a company. Also referred to as a logo symbol or brand mark. They are simple graphics without text and are extremely visible in almost any size. Pictorial marks take favicons to the next level. They are used by companies that are well-established like Apple, Nike, Twitter and Starbucks.

Pictorial types of logos

When to use a pictorial mark

  • If you have a well-known brand
  • You want an element of mystery and have the resources to raise your brand profile

Startup businesses should avoid using a pictorial mark for obvious reasons. Instead, they could consider a combination mark approach. Once the business is established, it can consult a design service and refresh its branding. Consider the latest evolution of the Starbucks Coffee logo and the infamous siren.

Combination mark

As the names suggest, this logotype combines a graphic and text. The graphic could be an abstract mark, recognisable pictorial mark or even brand mascot… like KFC’s Colonel Sanders. The text could be positioned adjacent to the image like the Jaguar logo. It could wrap around or form part of the graphic like or Burger King. You could also use a lettermark with a pictorial mark like the World Wildlife Fund for a compact logo.

Combination Mark types of logos

When to use a combination mark

  • You want the best of both worlds – image and text to reinforce your brand
  • When you want to create a distinct look and feel for your brand
  • If you want a graphic element that’s associated with your business. Like a social media bio or website favicon

Brands with longer names can also combine lettermarks with pictorial marks. Our logo designers adopted this strategy for the successful UGPN brand refresh.

These logos are often used by sports teams, educators and the automotive sector. Football England and the University of Oxford have more complex emblems, while MINI and Harley Davidson Motorcycles have simpler graphics that are easier to reproduce.

Emblem types of logos

When to use an emblem in a logo design

  • For a traditional look and feel with more detail
  • If you want to tell a story with symbols like a family crest

Emblems are intricate and not easily reproduced across all branding. Logo designers need to consider where a logo will be applied. Online, in print, silkscreened or embroidered onto fabric. Minimum size for legibility and single or multi-coloured versions for application.

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