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6 types of logos

What are the Types of Logos?

Types of logos are the topic here…but follow me for a moment.  Take a walk around New York City’s famous Central Park on a warm spring day and you might come across dozens of birdwatchers.

Study them for a few moments and you’ll notice that there are two amazing things going on. The first is that there are literally hundreds of different species of birds living in a relatively small, forested area that’s surrounded by one of the world’s most densely packed urban zones. The second is that they can pick out their favorites in seconds, even if they only see a quick flash or hear the lightest chirp.

Now…why bring any of this up on a website about custom logo design? It’s because there are some good parallels between ornithology and logo design. Just like birds, there are millions of logos out there. And, in the same way that people with binoculars can get excited about discovering their winged friends, our passion and knowledge for branding give us insights into the brands that we see in the wild.

Types of Logos and Which to Use For Your Brand

Knowing all about logo types and categories makes it easier for us to both create and evaluate. For instance, when a business owner or marketing executive tells us they want something bold, our minds can go to strong fonts and striking colors. When they speak of elegance, we might translate that into subtle gradients and classic hues.

You might not ever develop the skill, or need to. But as a client you should know a bit about the most prevalent types of logos and how they tend to be used. That way you can pick out your favorite styles, see what leading brands have used successfully, and think about your preferences in a more organized way. Also, it might mean that you’ll never look at another logo in quite the same way again.

With that in mind, let’s take a quick look at the six common logo styles you’ll see in the wild world of business, along with what makes them so effective…

6 Types of Logos

A Field Guide (with examples)

Monogram Logos (Lettermarks)

A logotype is all about keeping things elegantly simple. It usually involves combining one, two, or three straightforward letters or initials. Monogram logos work like a charm for well-known businesses or those with snappy acronyms (think IBM or NYC).

Now, it’s easy to go overboard and clutter up a custom logo with too many fancy elements, so, do your best to steer clear of that trap. The beauty of a monogram logo lies in its simplicity – it’s memorable because it puts your business name front and center. These logos often have a professional and understated vibe, which explains why they’re a hit with law firms and other professional service outfits.

A letter mark or monogram logo design takes the essence of your brand and simplifies it into a few carefully chosen letters or initials. This approach offers several advantages:

Firstly, it can establish a robust visual identity with minimal elements, making it a potent tool for brand recognition. Even for businesses burdened with lengthy names, a letter mark can be a lifesaver in terms of memorability.

Moreover, letter marks provide the flexibility needed for versatile branding across diverse mediums and platforms. They effortlessly convey a sense of professionalism and sophistication, which is particularly valuable for law firms and other prestigious service providers.

Additionally, this style of logo design offers a unique opportunity to spotlight your company’s initials or acronym, reinforcing brand awareness. Plus, it’s highly adaptable – whether scaled up for billboards or down for business cards, it never loses its clarity or legibility, ensuring your brand remains impeccable in any context.

fashion logo design displayed on a cell phone screen
logistics logo design displayed on a moving truck

Workmark Logos (Logotypes)

A word mark logo is a logo style that predominantly features a stylized rendition of a company’s name or brand name. The primary advantage of employing a word mark logo design lies in its ability to offer a straightforward and concise representation of the brand’s name.

By showcasing the brand name prominently, a word mark logo instills the brand’s name into the minds of consumers, making it an integral part of the brand’s identity. This simplicity and clarity in design can enhance the brand’s visibility and reputation. It’s an ideal choice for companies looking to make a memorable and lasting impression, whether it’s on business cards, websites, or storefronts, making the brand instantly recognizable to its target audience.

A word mark style logo offers numerous advantages that businesses find invaluable in today’s competitive landscape. One of the most compelling benefits is their versatility. Word mark logos can effortlessly adapt to different design elements, allowing for variations in colors, fonts, and backgrounds. This versatility makes them incredibly practical, as they can be seamlessly integrated across a wide array of branding materials, ensuring a consistent and cohesive visual identity.

Another noteworthy advantage of word mark logos is their timelessness. Depending on the font chosen, these logos tend to exude a classic and enduring appeal. This timeless quality ensures that they remain relevant and impactful even after many years of use, making them a wise investment for businesses aiming to establish a lasting brand presence.

Clarity is another forte of word mark style logos. They excel in conveying the brand name with utmost clarity, which can be especially advantageous for newer or less-recognized brands striving to build awareness and recognition in the market. By using a word mark logo, businesses can ensure that their brand name takes center stage, leaving a strong impression on customers.

Lastly, the simplicity of word mark logos is a key asset. Their primary focus on the brand name allows them to reinforce the brand’s messaging and create a direct and unmistakable brand identity. In a world where clarity and instant recognition are paramount, word mark logos offer a solution that aligns perfectly with modern branding needs. In conclusion, word mark logos are a compelling choice for businesses seeking a clear and concise representation of their brand name, reinforced brand messaging, and a versatile, timeless design suitable for a wide range of branding materials.

financial logo design displayed on a business card
Professional and Creative Logos & Visual Branding for Pilates Studios: A rolled up pilates mat with custom logo design by Logo Design NYC

Pictorial Logos (Brand Mark)

Pictorial logos, often referred to as brandmarks, are a category of logos that place a strong emphasis on the visual identity and image of a business. These logos have a unique ability to distill the outward personality of a company into a simple yet hopefully instantly recognizable symbol. The goal is to create an icon that deeply resonates with customers and becomes synonymous with the brand itself.

The driving force behind the design of a pictorial logo is its potential to forge a profound connection with an audience through visual storytelling. It transcends the limitations of words and engages viewers on a visceral level. Such logos can evoke emotions, tell stories, or simply encapsulate the core essence of a business, all within a single image. The ultimate aim is to craft a symbol that goes beyond being a mere visual identifier; it evolves into a powerful ambassador for the brand, carrying its message and values far and wide.

When executed skillfully, pictorial logos offer a powerful means for a business to connect itself with a specific product or service category, all while conveying a particular tone or mood. Whether it’s evoking a sense of fun and playfulness, projecting an upscale and luxurious image, or embracing an industrial and rugged aesthetic, the pictorial logo can act as a visual ambassador for your brand.

This underscores the critical importance of a thoughtful and deliberate approach when crafting a pictorial logo. It’s not just about designing an appealing image; it’s about strategically shaping how your audience perceives your business. The process involves careful consideration of the image you wish to create and how it aligns with your brand’s identity and aspirations. Therefore, collaboration between you and your logo design team is essential to ensure that the resulting visual symbol encapsulates the essence of your business and speaks directly to your target audience.

contractor logo design displayed on business cards
mediation logo design displayed on a tablet screen

Abstract Logos (BRAND Mark)

Abstract logo designs, as the name implies, rely on the creative use of shapes and distinctive markings to achieve a unique and visually engaging appearance. When executed skillfully, this style of logo has the potential to captivate the viewer’s attention and leave a lasting impression. However, there exists a notable challenge with abstract logos—striking the right balance between creativity and complexity.

To harness the full potential of an abstract logo, it’s important that you possess a well-defined vision for your branding endeavors. This means having a deep understanding of your business’s identity, values, and the message you wish to convey through your logo. With abstract designs, there’s a delicate dance between artistic expression and clarity.

The allure of abstract logos can sometimes lead to the temptation to incorporate an excess of elements, inadvertently causing visual clutter that detracts from the core essence of your brand identity. Hence, it’s crucial to exercise restraint and discipline when conceptualizing and creating an abstract logo. Each element should serve a specific purpose in aligning with your brand’s image and messaging.

In essence, the key to a successful abstract logo lies in a meticulous and thoughtful design process. Collaborating closely with a talented logo design team can help you navigate this creative journey, ensuring that your abstract logo not only captivates the eye but also conveys a powerful and coherent message that resonates with your target audience.

Emblems (Crest Logos)

An emblem or crest style logo design is a graphic element that contains text, symbols, and images inside a shape or emblem. Emblem logos put distinctive fonts inside symbols or icons. The resulting effect is that they can look like badges, seals, or crests. In that way they emphasize traditional periods, which can create a sense of history or credibility – perfect for businesses that want to create (or lean on) the notion of legacy.

The appeal of an emblem logo is clear: the intricate designs can be visually striking. They also give the subtle impression of history and trustworthiness. However, these logos can sometimes be difficult to implement on business cards, website designs, and other marketing pieces if it’s hard to see your print at smaller sizes.

These logos boast a classic and traditional aesthetic, making them an excellent choice for brands aiming to convey a sense of history or long-standing heritage. Emblem and crest logos are renowned for their ability to establish strong brand recognition. By incorporating elements like symbols or crests, they create easily identifiable and memorable brand marks.

Their versatility is another remarkable trait. Emblem and crest logos can seamlessly adapt to various contexts, whether on merchandise, signage, or packaging. Moreover, they are flexible in terms of size and format, ensuring consistent branding across different mediums.

Opting for an emblem or crest logo can elevate a brand’s overall image. Their traditional and classic appearance imparts a professional and sophisticated aura.

Additionally, emblem and crest logos can evoke a sense of authority and prestige. The utilization of symbols and crests within these logos can signify expertise or exclusivity, making them particularly suitable for businesses seeking to project a strong sense of authority in their respective industries.

coffee brand package design
pizza shop logo design displayed on pizza boxes
Example of Mascot Logo by Logo Design NYC

Mascot Logos (Characters)

Opting for a mascot or character style logo design offers a multitude of advantages for your brand. Firstly, these logos tend to be highly memorable and radiate a sense of fun, making them particularly effective in etching themselves into the minds of consumers. They possess a unique ability to forge emotional connections with your audience by representing your brand in a relatable or endearing manner. This emotional resonance can translate into stronger brand loyalty and customer engagement.

One remarkable trait of mascot and character logos is their versatility. They seamlessly adapt to various marketing materials and mediums, from merchandise and advertising campaigns to social media profiles. This adaptability turns them into invaluable assets for your branding efforts, ensuring consistent and engaging representation across diverse channels.

Opting for a mascot or character style logo design offers a multitude of advantages for your brand. Firstly, these logos tend to be highly memorable and radiate a sense of fun, making them particularly effective in etching themselves into the minds of consumers. They possess a unique ability to forge emotional connections with your audience by representing your brand in a relatable or endearing manner. This emotional resonance can translate into stronger brand loyalty and customer engagement.

One remarkable trait of mascot and character logos is their versatility. They seamlessly adapt to various marketing materials and mediums, from merchandise and advertising campaigns to social media profiles. This adaptability turns them into invaluable assets for your branding efforts, ensuring consistent and engaging representation across diverse channels.

Moreover, mascots and characters infuse your brand with personality. This not only humanizes your brand but also renders it more relatable and engaging to consumers. These mascots often become the face of your brand, embodying its values and messaging in a creative and relatable way. They are storytellers in their own right, capable of weaving narratives that resonate with your audience and convey your brand’s essence in a captivating manner.

Furthermore, mascots and characters are exceptional tools for differentiation. In crowded and competitive markets, they set your brand apart, making it stand out amidst a sea of competitors. Their distinctiveness becomes a significant asset in attracting and retaining customers.

alien character illustration
beer brand label design

How Do You Choose the Right Type of logo for Your Business?

Now that you know a bit about the six different types of logos you might encounter in the wild, the big question becomes: how do you choose the one that’s right for your business?

Simply asking this question puts you a step ahead of your competitors. It’s unfortunate, but many entrepreneurs and marketers choose a brand identity without giving any real thought to vision or strategy. They simply pick a design that appeals to them on that day. Even worse, they work with logo designers who don’t know anything about their businesses, or the logotypes themselves, and end up wasting time or money.

The fact of the matter is that no perfect logotype, font, or color is right for every company. That’s why we work with our clients to get the facts before we start to draw any logo designs.

You should work with a custom logo designer who does the same.

What are different types of logo design attributes to consider?

  • What kinds of logos are prevalent in your industry? Do you want to follow convention or buck the trend?
  • What is your company’s marketing personality like? Are you trying to project fun and excitement, safety and stability, prestige and service, or something else?
  • Why do people work with you? Is it because of your history and reputation? Your value and service? Something else?
  • And finally, is there anything distinctive about your business or name that absolutely has to come through in the logo?

Thinking through these sorts of issues will likely lead you in the right direction. And of course, your custom logo design partner should help you find the answers you need as you move through the design process.

What’s important is that you make these decisions with the right context and intention. In other words, that you know about the different types of logos and evaluate designs with a thought toward where they will lead your business in the future.

Hopefully, our field guide to the major logotypes – including the differences and best uses for each one – can help you find the right identity for your business. But if you are serious about taking the next step forward with your business, get help from the best logo designers in NYC today.

It only takes a moment to get started with your online questionnaire, so let’s begin on your new logo design now!