You are starting a new business, and trying to figure out all the details you need to juggle, all the rules you need to learn, all the tools you might need to run your business. And then someone says you need a business logo design before you do anything else. That’s not necessarily true, but it certainly is an important consideration as part of your new business branding. So to help you out, I’ve put together an overview of different types of business logo designs you might consider, a few examples, some pros and cons of each, and recommendations for when each may be a good choice.
First, let’s start with a definition.
Logo design: a recognizable graphic design element, often including a name, symbol, or trademark, representing an organization or product. From entrepreneur.com
That’s great, but it certainly doesn’t help you decide much. Let’s explore further and review some different types of business logo designs you could choose. The more you know about possible design choices, the easier it will be to make a decision.
Logotype or Wordmark
A logotype or wordmark is stylized text, customized to the brand or company. There are no shapes or graphics, only letters.
Pros: In industries where product updates happen frequently, or styling changes quickly, a text based logo lends stability to a brand, and can be applied consistently across multiple product lines without losing its identity.
Cons: If you operate in multiple countries with different languages, a wordmark may be very challenging to translate and maintain recognition. Well established brands, like Coca-Cola, have been successful with translations because the strong visual style and colors can be carried through the language barrier. Of course, your business/brand name may not have a translation, if it’s your name. Not every business logo design needs to be translated.
Examples: Disney, Facebook, FedEx, Coca-Cola, Ford.
Recommendations: If you operate in one country or market, to people who speak a common language, a logotype or wordmark could be a good option for you. If you are in an industry with frequent product updates or launches, the stability of a logotype or wordmark for the overarching brand is a good choice, especially if you have graphic logos for individual products.
Symbols or icons use graphic shapes without text to represent your brand or company. They can be literal or abstract, often leaving them open for interpretation.
Pros: Symbols or icons have built-in recognition without need for translation. Simple designs are readily scalable without losing meaning or clarity.
Cons: Sometimes the lack of words can cause misinterpretation or ambiguity in meaning. Symbols or icons do not lend themselves to details, so as a business logo design choice, it may be challenging to express brand value or meaning with only a symbol.
Examples: Apple, Nike, NBC, Shell.
Recommendations: If you are planning to use a symbol or icon for your business logo design, try to reach the following goals:
- Instant recognition
A lettermark only uses letters in its design, such as initials. The letters can have distinctive graphic treatments, often making them seem like an icon or symbol.
Pros: Lettermarks are less open to interpretation because they have a direct correlation to the company or brand name through the initials. Also, combining letters graphically can result in very unique and creative designs.
Cons: One disadvantage I can think of is possible confusion with another company with the same initials. But that is where creativity will set them apart.
Examples: GE, HP, VW, IBM, CNN.
Recommendation: A lettermark logo design is a good choice if your company or brand name is very long, or hard to pronounce. A lettermark allows you to have a simple, memorable logo design.
A combination mark is combining a wordmark and symbol for the final business logo design.
Pros: Once a company or brand has some visual recognition, a combination mark allows for separating the symbol from the wordmark, without hurting the brand. This gives you more flexibility, so you can choose where and how the separate logo elements will work best.
Cons: Other than the time needed to build brand recognition, there really are no downsides to choosing a combination mark for your business logo design.
Examples: Starbucks, Domino’s, McDonald’s, Harley-Davidson.
Recommendation: A combination mark is really the best of all options, because it has built-in flexibility. A symbol for a simple recognizable graphic. A wordmark for name clarity and brand recognition.
No matter what kind of business logo design style you have or choose, here are the goals to strive for:
- Instant recognition
If you want to learn more about logo design, here’s a free e-book to help.
Read More: Here are 3 Fabulous Ideas for Logo Designs