What is a logo?
This question probably conjures up vivid images of a famous swoosh or an apple with a bite taken out of it. After all, we all know what a logo is. A logo is a symbol or design used to identify a company or organization, as well as its products, services, employees, etc. In its simplest definition, a logo identifies. It’s how your company is recognized and remembered among others. It also functions as the face of your business. Your logo can also be an opportunity to make a statement about your organization. Take Amazon’s, for example. The smiley arrow communicates that the company sells everything from “A-Z” and also represents how happy customers are when they shop with them.
Types of logos
Whether you decide to design your logo from scratch or use a template, a good starting point is to familiarize yourself with the seven types of logos:
Some brands have no graphic symbol and decide instead to place their company or organization name front and center. In this case, typography is everything. Whatever your font choice, it has to be legible.
Also known as “pictorial marks,” brand marks are the graphic symbol in a logo. These symbols are usually recognizable and create an immediate connection in the minds of your audience. For example, a tooth for a dentist, mountains for an outdoor company, etc. You’ll need to pair a brand mark with your company or organization name in the beginning. But after time, the symbol alone could serve as a powerful, visual shorthand for a well-known brand.
This type of logo combines both a symbol and a wordmark, creating the more traditional logo “lock-up” we’re all familiar with. Play around with the placement of each element until you find a layout you like. You can also allow for different combinations of the two in certain contexts, which we’ll cover in the “Define” phase.
Abstract logo mark
As their name suggests, abstract logo marks are less recognizable and usually more geometric. They’re great when you want something completely unique to your brand. Again, we strongly advise pairing these symbols with your company or organization name until you’ve built enough brand recognition to let your symbol go solo.
A letter mark, also called a “monogram” logo, is great if your name is long or clunky. You can choose to either abbreviate your name or just use your initials. Typography is just as important in a letter mark as it is in a word mark. Luckily, with fewer letters and less worry about legibility, you can use more creative styling.
Depending on your brand personality, a mascot could be fun. Plus, they’re more flexible than your standard symbol because their expressions and contexts can change. Just be sure to use a style that aligns with the message and emotion you want to communicate. If you’re going for a more serious vibe, mascots aren’t a great choice.
Emblem logos include text inside a symbol. Emblems, also known as “crests,” have been around for a long time and can communicate tradition and prestige.
If you decide you want a symbol in your logo—whether traditional or abstract—you might need to do some brainstorming. Here are a few tips from our designers to create a symbol that’s right for your brand:
These are some common use cases for logo design:
Signs and banners
Social media profiles and banners
Company letterheads (invoices, internal documents)
Email marketing campaigns
Marketing swag (pens, shirts, mugs, etc.)
You also have to consider the logo’s shape and how it fits its surroundings. Some spots require a wide, rectangular logo, like letterheads; others require something small and discreet, like a watermark on shareable content. Luckily, you can have several different versions in your stable.