When you want to launch your brand, you want the perfect logo to represent it. But do you know which type will serve you the best? Well, to take that call, you should have an idea about the different types of logos that brands are using today. Once you know different logo styles that are prevalent in the world today, you will be able to see which type will be perfect for you.

After all, your logo acts like your style statement. You should know how to dress your brand up for maximum impact.

Carving out a brand identity where brand and logo are in perfect sync

Why is it vital that you know what type of logo you should use? Because your logo should perfectly symbolize what your brand is about. On the other hand, a good logo can make your brand very memorable. In fact, logo design plays a big part in brand recognition.

Being your brand’s most important symbol, your logo should be the perfect representation of it. Think about the Nike swoosh- it is synonymous with the brand. Even without the brand name accompanying it, it is instantly recognizable.

The swoosh also depicts what type of brand Nike is and who it targets. It is an urban, contemporary brand whose appeal lies with young people of all genders. Had Nike used some royal insignia or a floral design- it would be incongruous, and probably will never appeal to the target audience.

Different Types of Logos

There is no authoritative classification of the types of logos. However, some broadly acknowledged groups exhibit distinct characteristics. We will have a look at some of the distinctive styles of logos.

1. Monogram Logos or Lettermark Logo

Monogram logo or lettermark logo consists of only letters. In most cases, these are the brand initials. Monogram logos are very common in the media and entertainment sector.

Lettermark logo examples

Think of Home Box Office or HBO. The brand’s logo is a monogram of its initials. Some other famous examples are- HP (The Hewlett-Packard Company), WB(Warner Brothers), and CNN (Cable News Network).

Monogram or lettermark logos are known for their simplicity. They are formal, all-business, neat and very streamlined in appearance. They are well-suited for brands that have long names. One famous example of this is NASA, the shortened form of National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Some other examples are NHS or National Health System of the UK, HDFC or Housing Development Finance Corporation and FedEx – which was initially called Federal Express.

IKEA- one of the most famous monogram logos in the world, is an acronym. IKEA takes its name from the initials of the founder Ingvar Kamprad, Elmtaryd- the family farm he was born in and Agunnaryd- the village near his birthplace.

Which brands can use them?

If your brand has a long name or comprises of many words- go for it. Businesses based on partnerships, like legal businesses or advertising/consulting agencies, can go for this type. KPMG (Full name- Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler) is a good example.

Monogram logos go well with formal brands and want to project an image of efficiency and expertise.

Monogram Logos or Lettermark Logo
Monogram Logos or Lettermark Logo

2. Wordmark Logo

Wordmark logos, as the name suggests, only comprise of letters. These are standalone words. Think of the symbols of eBay, Google, Netflix or Facebook. The chances are that you have encountered this type of logos the most.

Wordmarks are simple and enjoy high recall. Think of Uber, Subway, Coca Cola and Visa. Also known as logotypes, these are especially popular with companies who want to keep the customer experience at their centre. In most cases, brands that are named after a concept use wordmark logos.

Wordmark logos are also known as logotypes.

Which brands can use them?

Wordmarks work very well with brands that have catchy, easy-to-pronounce names. With attractive lettering, they can foster high recall. This is the reason companies that want customers to keep coming back to them go for wordmarks.

However, if your company is not very well known, wordmarks may not work for you. If your company takes its name from a person- you may want to avoid wordmark logos.

Wordmark Logo
Wordmark Logo

3. Pictorial Logo

Pictorial mark logos are instantly recognizable symbols of a brand. Think of the apple of Apple or the bull’s eye of Target. The pictorial logo is a representation of the literal name of the company- and does not contain any letters.

Pictorial logos may look simple but are very carefully planned. Think about Twitter. It says a lot about the products and services, even though it is just a small blue bird. As the only thing left to represent the brand is a symbol and not words- they are tough to master. This is the reason why only the biggest corporations in the world go for this.

Which brands can use them?

Pictorial logos, as we said, are painstakingly designed. A simple design has to capture the brand’s nuance- so it should pay a lot of attention to detail.
A good example is Twitter. The bird representing the brand is flying, while it is chirping. The logo expresses the idea of broadcast and buzz very well.

Companies that do not have a high recall should not go for pictorial logos. They are not very suitable for new companies.

Pictorial Logo
Pictorial Logo

4. Abstract Mark Logos

Abstract logos are- well, abstract. They are highly conceptual and usually targeted at very niche audiences. They convey something definite about the brand in question. Some famous examples are Nike, Microsoft, Airbnb and BP(British Petroleum).

Since abstract logos are conceptual, they require a high amount of creativity. There is a lot of room to play around with them because you can design something unique for your company that conveys its most necessary characteristics.

Think of the Microsoft logo. It comprises four squares in distinct colours. However, you can say that together, they look like a window- which is the name of Microsoft’s famous operating system. Similarly, the BP starburst may be used to allude to the fact that the brand is part of the energy sector, resulting from a starburst.

The Nike swoosh, again, is an abstract logo that may only look like a tick mark but can be interpreted in a lot of ways. It goes very well with Nike’s slogan- “Just Do It.” When you do something, you can tick mark it in your checklist. It invokes strong feelings- and can be seen as representing inspiration and progress too.

Which brands can use them?

Abstract marks are very conceptual and give you the freedom to represent whatever values or services that your company should be known for.

However, these do not lend well to amateur work.

However, if you want to create something truly unique for your brand and appeal to exclusive niches, you can play around with abstract logos.

Abstract Mark Logos
Abstract Mark Logos

5. Emblem Logo

As the name says, emblems look like badges or seals. These logos usually feature some letters inside a picture.

As the name suggests, emblems look like crests. These logos belong to brands that have a cult following. These brands focus on their target audiences and define an entire experience, preferably than just what product they offer.

Emblem Examples

These belong to brands that can impress you with their pedigree- like Starbucks, Harley Davidson and Harvard University.

A great example is the siren of Starbucks. We all know how Starbucks becomes a way of life for those who go for it. Like the siren in its logo- known to hypnotize sailors- it keeps its customers entranced. Similarly, Harley Davidson does not represent a bike- it represents an entire lifestyle and passion.

What brands can use them?

Emblems are best left to well-known brands who have survived the test of time. They develop fandoms and are like exclusive clubs- and are not very universal.

Emblem Logo
Emblem Logo

6. Mascots Logotype

These are logos that want to represent wholesomeness. Think of the various mascots of sports teams or other events. They are friendly and happy, and often cartoonish.

Mascot Logotype Examples

Mascots are logos that show a character. Think of Colonel Sanders of the KFC logo, or the Pillsbury doughboy. Mascots are family-friendly and colourful, and always seem inviting and warm.

Gritty, the mascot of the NHL team Philadelphia Flyers has become an internet fixture – while it is not family-friendly and slightly terrifying- it has definitely managed to capture the attention of the entire world.

Which brands can use them?

When you want your brand to be welcoming and family-friendly, mascots are a great idea. This is especially true for restaurants that cater to families. Brands related to food often go for mascots for this reason.

Mascots Logotype
Mascots Logotype

7. Combination Mark Logo

As the name suggests, combination logos combine a symbol and some letters. These are probably the most widely used of all logo types. Think of companies like Nestle, Taco Bell, Lacoste and Burger King.

Combination marks give a “stacked” appearance. These are very versatile. Most businesses prefer them since they show both a name and an image. They can create a distinct impression on the target audience’s mind and can increase the brand’s recall value.

They are also easier to trademark, as the specific combination is unique difficult to copy. Through the ages, the brands can adapt combination logos in a variety of ways.

Which brands can use them?

Virtually any brand can go for combination logos. They can help you create a truly memorable and unique logo, and can help you distinguish your brand easily from your competitors.

Combination Mark Logo
Combination Mark Logo

8. Letterform Logo

Letterforms are very scalable. You can use on virtually anything since they occupy significantly less space. They translate well on both paper and in the virtual space.

Letterform logo examples

These are minimalist representations of brands. Letterforms are are widely used. Think of the likes of WordPress or the McDonald’s arch. Many designers consider the letterform to be an offshoot of the monogram logo.

Since they are usually represented by just one letter- letterform logos have to be genuinely well-designed to be memorable. These are best left to experts. These should be high-impact and dramatic.

Which brands can use them?

Brands that are popular and have a high recall can go for letterforms. They often become the natural result of the evolution of many brands that have survived for a long term and command a substantial market share.

However, they have to be very well designed since they are geared for maximum effect with just one letter.

These are roughly all the types that logos can be classified into. If you want to understand which type will suit your brand best- read on.

Letterform Logo
Letterform Logo

What type of logo design is suitable for you?

Since logos are the most widely used symbols or brand marks- you have to first understand what type of brand you have and who is your target audience. Depending on the audience, and the kind of feelings you want to invoke in them- you have to choose your logo.

Here are a few pointers for you, when you want to design a logo for your brand:

1. Be original

Always make sure that your logo is not aping any other logo. This may lead to copyright issues.

2. Create something unique

Otherwise, people may think that your brand is the copycat of a better brand. An original logo is not only good for avoiding legal hassles- but also good for your brand in the long run.

3. Wordmark and lettermark for new businesses

Wordmark and lettermark logos are easy to replicate across brand collaterals that require frequent reprints, like business cards and food packaging. New businesses can use them for this reason.

4. Abstract logos- favorite with MNCs

Abstract logos work very well with multinationals with unique names. If the meaning of your brand’s name invokes strong feeling but cannot be translated literally in other languages- you can opt for abstract logos.

5. Go for emblem if you want to inspire exclusivity

If your brand carries a lot of prestige and becomes the mark of an exclusive lifestyle- emblem logos will work for you.

6. Mascot logos- give that family feeling

Mascots can work very well with brands that appeal to kids or families.

7. Combination logos- most versatile

Combination marks can be altered in many ways through the years- and hence serve almost every type of brand.

8. Emblems for the government bodies

Government agencies often use emblems- since they are the natural evolution of the royal crests the emblem takes its name from. They are also widely used by schools since these are public institutions that many people would proudly claim affiliation with.

9. Pay attention to lettering & colors

Since letterforms and wordmarks comprise only letters- you have to be very particular about the color combinations and letterings you are going to use. To understand what sort of font will suit your logo best- check out our article on best fonts for modern logos.

10. Do your research before you start designing

A logo is about creating a strong impression on your audience and conveying your company’s essence. So, pay attention to every detail. Brainstorm, do your research and play around with concepts.

11. Sync your logo with your brand personality

Last but not least- your logo should match your brand’s personality. You cannot have an emblem logo for a chatting app or a mascot logo for a university. Ensure that your logo syncs perfectly with your brand- otherwise, you will only confuse your audience and create the wrong impression of your brand.

Conclusion

Your logo is going to be the most recognized symbol of your company- which will be used for a long time. So do not rush the process- invest in it. You should take the help of professionals if you want to create something truly unique. Understand what your brand is about, and pay attention to every element of the logo you want for yourself.

Remember, designing a logo is the first concrete step towards carving out your brand identity. Understand what your brand stands for and who you are speaking to-and, you will surely be able to find the perfect logo for your brand.

FAQs

  1. What are the 7 types of logos?

    The most widely acknowledged types of logos are monograms, wordmarks, pictorial marks, abstract logos, emblems, mascots and combination logos. The letterform is another type of logo. Designers often consider it to be a type of monogram logo. However, there is no hard and fast classification of logos. Designers also group different kinds of logos under a single umbrella as they see fit.

  2. What type of logo is Nike?

    The Nike swoosh is an abstract logo. It represents certain values that are centric to the brand, rather than any literal representation or any illustration of what Nike produces. It invokes strong feelings, and many consider it one of the most famous logos of all time. Today, the swoosh is instantly recognizable and is as much as a representation of Nike as its name.

  3. What is a mascot logo?

    A mascot logo depicts a living being that represents the brand. Not necessarily it has to be human; it can be a cartoon or some anthropomorphic illustration as well. Some examples are- KFC and the Pillsbury doughboy. Mascots are very widely used in the food industry and sports. Family-friendly brands usually use them.

  4. What is lettermark logo?

    Lettermark logos are logos made of only the brand’s initials. They are very popular in the media, legal, finance and corporate sectors. Think of CNN (Cable News Network), HBO (Home Box Office), KPMG (Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler) and NASA(National Aeronautics and Space Administration). If your company has a long name or is named after several partners- lettermark logos can be a good fit for you.

  5. What is a text logo called?

    A logo made of text characters is called wordmark. These are also called logotypes. Some companies that have wordmark logos are- Facebook, Netflix, Google and eBay. These are companies that have catchy names, and their names usually refer to a concept.

  6. What is a combination logo?

    A combination logo, as the name suggests, consists of both text and symbols or pictures. Think of the logos of Taco Bell, Nestle, Puma, Pizza Hut and Lacoste. Combination logos are the most famous logo type out there. Since they contain both text and pictures, they can create a lasting impression of the bran on the audience's mind and be easily trademarked.

Branding, Integrated & Digital Marketing Wizard and Founder of BrandLoom Consulting (A $1m startup). I help companies generate more revenue through digital marketing. I have successfully led Business and Marketing operations of several Large & Small; American, European, Chinese & Indian Brands and Startups. In totality, I have worked with over 100 Brands during my 21 years of professional career with a proven track record of Building Sustainable & Profitable Businesses.

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