When it comes to the basics of logo design, there’s a lot to think about. But it all starts with the kind of logo you need or want. To help you think about which type of logo is best for your business, we’ve described them here.
Popular Logo Styles & When To Use Them
A wordmark is exactly what you would expect: a logo made up of type. Often wordmark logos use some kind of unique treatment to communicate a particular feel or brand message. Wordmarks are often best for companies with descriptive names like Home Depot, or distinctive names like Yahoo. Most often, a wordmark is the company name with a graphical treatment that helps create a unique, memorable identity.
Lettermark or Letterform Logos
Similar to a wordmark logo, a lettermark is a logo made entirely of type, however, rather than the whole name, the mark is generally made up of initials or an abbreviation. The representative letters become a substitute for the company’s whole name. And over time, may be the only name that your customers know you by—think International Business Machines (IBM) and American Multi-Cinema (AMC). Because you may need to spend a lot of money to teach your customers what the letters represent, this type of mark is generally not recommended for small businesses.
This is simply a symbol or other graphic icon that represents a company by its association with it, rather than by what it says. In almost every case, an iconic logo is a consumer brand that started out as a wordmark or combination logo, and over time, is simplified into its present form. Examples of well-known iconic logos include Nike, Apple, Shell, Starbucks, Twitter, and Target. Because it takes time and big budgets to associate an icon with a brand, iconic logos are far more common for big brands than small ones.
Combination Mark Logos
Sometimes called “iconic logotypes”, a combination logo generally combines a symbol or icon with a unique font treatment to create the logo. This is the most common kind of logo design. The elements can be used together or separately and when done effectively, communicate the brand personality or what the company does. Because combination marks communicate more readily than some of the other categories of logos mentioned above, they often require a smaller marketing investment to be effective. They are ideal for small businesses and new start-ups.
An illustrative logo is simply a logo that uses an illustration to represent an image or scene. This type of logo design often looks more like a poster or picture than an actual logo and can be more difficult to reproduce on some materials, clothing in particular. Illustrative logos seem most common in event marketing and are often used by small businesses (though we don’t recommend that). Because of the illustrative quality, they often convey a less serious brand image, which may be one reason large businesses seem to shun them.