As a business owner, we all want a logo that is uniquely, iconically, and truthfully represent our business. But hold up! Before you look for a pro, it’s helpful to understand different types of logo out there so that you can communicate your vision better with your designer.
Depending on who you are talking to, some will say there are 3, some say 4, others may go so far as 5. All are correct, but I’d like to be a little more detailed for design newbies. Therefore, I say there are 5 different types of logo: word mark, symbol/icon, letter mark/monogram, combination mark, and emblem.
First up, word mark is usually letterforms, or words written in a unique combination. Below are some examples of work marks:
Now, a lot of people may think that you don’t have to do anything with the Knoll logo. That’s not true. The logo is probably set in Helvetica with very smart ligature. Above all, the point of a logo is not to show off your design skill, or how hard it is. It should look timeless, effortless, easy to read, memorable, and in line with the brand identity, which is modern furniture.
Back to the topic. You can see that oftentimes, a word mark is also a stylized signature. If you don’t have a particular idea of what your logo should look like, then try to take your business name and write it in a stylistic way.
Next up is a vastly different type of logo, the symbols. These tend to be more illustrative. They sometimes represent the company’s name, like Apple, Penguins, Target.
Generally, symbol and icon are a very good way to give the viewers that aha moment through clever use of positive and negative shapes.
Letter mark is simply a combination of letters without spelling out the whole word. For example, IBM would be a lot less memorable if they go by the mouthful registered name International Business Machines Association.
Contrary to popular belief, a monogram can be only one letter. There are logo designers who specialize in letter marks and nothing else.
Combination mark is a logo form in which a symbol and a word mark are incorporated together.
Emblem is a tricky classification. It is usually a word mark encased in a shape like seal, shield, badge etc. Alternatively, it can simply be a ring shape.
Emblem logo confers authority and pedigree to the brand, and which business doesn’t want that? I don’t see many young businesses choose this approach. Just because you’re newly established doesn’t mean that you don’t have authority. Therefore, I think emblem is definitely an approach young entrepreneurs can consider.
To summarize, there are so many different types of logo under the sun, as long as you can visualize it. I hope you have gotten clearer about this intriguing yet mysterious craft of logo design. If you have any question, feel free to leave a comment below.