5 Types of Logos for your Business
Every business has different needs when it comes to getting a logo to match its brand. Sometimes the decisions come down to nothing more than personal preference, and that is at times a challenging thing for brand creators to understand. Other times brands are practically screaming for one particular style of logo, and it would be a disservice to design anything different. Either way knowing what your options are is a great first step to determine what type of logo is best for your business. These are 5 of the most commonly requested logo types:
The Iconic Logo
Perhaps the most common type of logo, the iconic logo, pairs a good typeface with an element or symbol that is supposed to make your brand stand out. Although effective, this is often where people start and stop their exploration of logos and we can thank the iconic brands like Nike and Apple for this commonly held belief. Rookie designers will pour hour after hour into drawing the perfect shape for a company when they should be spending their time on market analysis and competitor research. The reality is icons are fun for designers and easier to convince clients of their ROI, and this is probably why 95% of our clients first ask for an “Iconic Logo”
Iconic logos are great for businesses that depend on packaging, apparel and merchandise and whose potential client only has seconds to make a decision about what product to buy. Remember the Apple and Nike logos took billions of dollars of advertising to become the icons they are today it doesn’t happen overnight. So your one-of-a-kind icon better have a good piece of typography to go with it if you want your brand to be identifiable.
An often-overlooked weapon in the designer’s toolbag is the wordmark. A wordmark does not include any kind of icon or drawing, instead, the brand’s identity is captured by font or hand-drawn text. The problem most business owners take with wordmarks stems from the fact that you have 200 different fonts loaded on your computer right now. If creating a wordmark is just choosing a font why would you need to pay someone to design a logo if it doesn’t have any drawing involved? Here are the flaws we often address with that way of thinking:
1. Font’s have personalities that say something about your brand and it goes beyond the basics of fancy, traditional modern or fun. When we design wordmarks we go through much of the same process that we go through when designing an icon. We ask very important questions pertaining to the audience, competitors, and brand values.
2. We never use type right out of the box. Although perfectly acceptable for word processing the default letter spacing and line height is rarely ever acceptable for a good wordmark.
3. Font pairings are just as important to the brand as the actual wordmark. A good brand identity system will include fonts that should be used on the web, with the logo, and in print and you won’t get that out of your wordprocessor.
The wordmarks little brother, a monogram is a great way to create a logo that is relevant to your brand and is timeless. Although simple as a concept the monogram creates some really fun avenues to express the personality of your brand. In the Horst Builders logo for example the owner requested a logo that communicated a sense of high-end luxury with an old-time charm. The resulting monogram used the shape of a handsaw to capture just what they requested.
Typically you will not see monograms for businesses with more than 3 letters and it is also more commonly used when the company’s moniker is typically the same as their initialism. For example, Hewlett Packard and General Electric are now more commonly referred to as HP and GE so their monogram logos both make sense to clients. Your company doesnt have to use an initialism to utilize monogram logos. Luxury brands Louis Vuitton and Coco Channel both use monogram logos despite not being referred to as LV or CC.
Unlike iconic logos, illustrative logos tie an illustrated element into the wordmark that cannot be separated from the design or broken up into parts. This type of logo design often requires the design team to come up with different variations when changing from horizontal to vertical orientation. It is a great solution, however, for brands that want to look custom and personalized or for those looking to tuck in a bit of subtle symbolism. Illustrative logos work well with the use of negative space as you can see in the CASE logo below. The Illustrated element of the door cannot be removed as a separate element from the logo as a whole.
In the Sowing clover logo the floral components can be removed however they are not used separately from either the Wordmark or the Monogram. But when paired together they make a beautiful example of an illustrative logo.
Last but not least, character logos take the elements of an illustrative logo, but they focus their attention on a particular character. The character can either be the company founder or namesake as you can see in the Newman’s Own logo or one of our client’s Mad Dog Ranch + Studio. But the character featured doesn’t always have to be an image of someone in your company. Character logos are often just as effective when depicting an image of your target audience. In the Nova Birth logo, you can see their slogan “Humanizing Birth for Mother & Baby” which goes perfectly with the illustration of the mother and baby.
The most important element of character logo design is to ensure that you have accurately captured the brand. Imagine if Paul Newman’s image on the bottle was him shirtless holding a dog? Would that still communicate the brand message of philanthropy as he intended? Yes, that is an extreme example, however, little things like posture and facial expressions matter a great deal when designing character logos. So be sure to entrust the job to someone with more than just an ability to draw.
No matter what your specific needs are, the ability to get a logo designed by a professional can be extremely helpful. It can also get confusing. There are so many companies out there designing logos that it can be difficult putting them all together and deciding which is the best choice for your particular situation. No matter who you choose to design your logo knowing the logo type you are looking for will make the process much easier.