A professionally designed logo

When you’re having a logo designed it’s an investment in the future of your business. Those that invest will reap the benefits a professional logo can bring to a company. The aim is to create a logo that embodies your business and communicates this to your audience. While it may be refined and adjusted over time, as your business grows and adapts, your logo should be designed to withstand the test of time.

First steps

Once you have decided on a brand or company name the fun begins. A designer will help you explore further aspects of the branding, such as colour palettes, images and typography. Whilst all logos are a combination of these elements have you ever noticed that they fall into distinct categories?

It may seem like a bit of design jargon or logo-geekery, but there’s a reason for this categorisation. Knowing about the different forms a logo can take can help you choose the best logo for your business.

Logo types – a spotters guide

Logos can be classified into many different groups, depending on the degree of detail used in their classification. However, for our purposes, nine will be enough.

1. Monograms
2. Letterforms
3. Wordmarks
4. Combination marks
5. Brand marks
6. Abstract marks
7. Mascots
8. Emblems
9. Dynamic logos

In the following section, we describe these in more depth and provide a few examples of how they work.

1. Monogram logos

As the name suggests a monogram logo, also known as a lettermark or letter mark, is a logo made up of a grouping of letters. These letters often represent the abbreviated company name. Logos of this type work particularly well for companies or organisations that have long names. Often the company becomes known simply by its initials rather than the full title. 

One of the best recognized of these is the IBM logo designed by Paul Rand in 1972.

Monogram logo examples, IBM logo, BBC logo, H&M logo, V&A logo, CoOp logo, F1 logo, NHS logo, VW logo, RAC logo, M&S logo,
Monogram logo examples

2. Letterform logos

Like monograms, letterforms are a logo created using stylised lettering, in this case just one character. The benefit of using this type of letter logo is that it can give great clarity to a design and scales up or down well. Often companies will have a letterform version of a logo in addition to a fully worded logo. They can be useful on social media as a profile picture. 

A good example of a letterform logo is the golden arches of McDonald’s.

Letterform logo examples, McDonalds logo, Netflix logo, WordPress logo, Tesla logo, Xbox logo, Beats logo, Channel 4 logo, Airbnb, Pinterest logo, Unilever logo
Letterform logo examples

3. Wordmark logos

Wordmarks, also known as logotypes, are similar to monogram and letterform logos in the sense that they are based on the business name, but in this case are not abbreviated but written out in full.

It is the typepography of wordmarks that give them their power, a designer will help choose a font that captures the essence of your brand’s personality. Using an appropriate typeface will ensure your logo is targeted at the right audience.

Perhaps one of the best known, and earliest, examples of this logo style is the Coca-Cola logo.

Wordmark logo examples, Coca-Cola logo, Braun logo, Sky logo, Cadbury logo, Boots logo, GAP logo, Google logo, Virgin logo, Disney logo, Clarks logo
Wordmark logo examples

4. Combination mark logos

The combination mark logo can incorporate elements of the monogram, letterform, wordmark or other logo styles. This type of logo is very flexible as it can be designed to work with or without the additional elements, depending on how they have been combined. Combination marks also allow for alternative versions of the logo for use in landscape or portrait formats.

A recent example of this type of logo is for Burger King which has opted for a retro look by updating the burger logo it first introduced in 1969.

Combination mark logos, Burger King logo, Wall's logo, Meta logo, Guinness logo, Chanel logo, DPD logo, Halifax logo, British Gas logo, Oxfam logo, Specsavers logo
Combination mark logo examples

5. Brand mark logos

Brand marks, also known as pictorial marks or logo symbols, are graphic-based logos. These logos are graphic representations of real-world objects, an apple or a shell for example. Brand marks are clean, unambiguous, and easy to remember. Using an image that represents your service can help you send a clear message to your audience. 

Because they are often used by larger, well-known, companies and organisations they are perhaps some of the most familiar to us.

Brand mark logos, Apple logo, Quantas logo, Deliveroo logo, Shell logo, Instagram logo, Penguin books logo, Android logo, British Rail logo, Network Rail logo, Microsoft Windows logo, World Wildlife Fund logo
Brand mark logo examples

6. Abstract mark logos

Like brand marks, abstract logo marks use an image to identify the business. Unlike brand marks these logos don’t use an immediately recognisable object but instead use geometric patterns or shapes to give the logo a unique identity. They can be used to portray an idea without being too specific in their meaning. This leaves the audience room to interpret the logo themselves.

A good example of an abstract logo mark is the Nike swoosh, or does it as some say represent the wings of the Greek goddess of victory, Nike?

Abstract mark logo examples, Nike logo, Pepsi logo, Olympic Games logo, Mitsubishi logo, Audi logo, NatWest logo, BP British Petroleum logo, HSBC Bank logo
Abstract mark logo examples

7. Mascot logos

A mascot logo is an illustrated character that is the personification of a business. They are literally the face of the company. Mascots are usually drawn in a simplified or cartoon-like way which makes them more fun and friendly than other types of logo. A mascot logo gives your audience an emotional connection with the brand. It works well when a company needs to appeal directly to consumers, such as food brands.

This approach is great for a business that might otherwise have difficulty portraying what they do. A nice example of this style of logo is the Mailchimp brand and its featured mascot of a chimpanzee, called Freddie btw.

Mascot logo examples, Mailchimp logo, The National Lottery logo, Duolingo logo, Homepride logo, Pringles logo, Churchill logo, KFC logo, Michelin logo, Mr Muscle logo, Quaker logo
Mascot logo examples

8. Emblem logos

Emblem logos are similar to a combination mark in that they often use text and symbols together. These elements are held within a continuing shape making them appear as a single unit. Incorporating a traditional look into an emblem can give a brand the feel of long-standing service and stability. This brings the audience an assurance of good repute and prestige.

Emblems are used not only in business but also in the educational, sports, military and government sectors. One of the best know emblem logos is the Starbucks branding, so well known that they were able to drop the lettering and just use the mermaid symbol.

Starbucks logo, NASA logo, University of Oxford logo, BMW logo, Wimbledon Tennis Championship logo, Avon & Somerset Police Constabulary logo, Badger Brewery logo, Underground logo, Italia FIGA logo, Triumph Motorcycles logo
Emblem logo examples

9. Dynamic logos

Dynamic logos by their definition are adaptable and changing. The colours, typefaces or symbols might change to reflect the situation in which they are used. To keep the branding cohesive across the different iterations, there should be some consistency between each use. These characteristics make dynamic logos very versatile in their application.

This fluid use of colour and shape works well for the Tate logo which uses versions of the logo with the wording blurred to differing levels of focus.

Dynamic logo examples, Tate Liverpool logo, Tate St Ives logo, tate logo variations, NYC logos
Dynamic logo examples

Logo design, branding, websites, ecommerce, design and illustration, let’s talk…

We hope this quick guide gives you an overview of some of the options available to you when choosing a logo designer. If you’re in Somerset or beyond and are thinking about a logo for a new venture, or just a refresh of your existing branding, we would love to hear from you. To find out how we can give your brand a boost contact us.

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