Almost everywhere you turn, you can find a logo: walking down a street, working in an office, going to the shops, or learning in a classroom; a logo is hard to miss. But how important is one exactly? What are the different types of logos? Is its design important or is it really the message behind the logo that makes it successful?
Your logo is often the first impression you can make to your customers and is the face of your company. From this simple definition, we can break down the types of logos into six basic categories.
What are the different types of logo designs?
- The Wordmark
- The Lettermark
- The Submark
- The Brand Mark or Pictorial Mark
- Abstract Iconography
- The Logo System
What is a Wordmark?
This one comes first for a reason - it’s the simplest. Google, Coca-Cola, Subway, and even the Freelancer Logo are great examples. This text-only type of logo, uses individualised fonts to showcase a company, institution or product. The design of this logo comes down to the style of the typography, which can be simple and clean or stylised.
What is a Lettermark?
Like the Wordmark, Lettermark logos are completely text based but are showcased as acronyms and initials. Rather than including the whole brand or company name, the logo illustrates a shortened visual monogram or anagram.
Lettermark logos have been used over the years extensively by worldwide recognised companies such as IBM, MAC, DKNY and BBC. This logo type is perfect for businesses that are already well known and have built brand recognition within their market.
What is a Submark?
A Submark is an element that is pulled from an original logo and is typically smaller in size. It’s usually used as a favicon icon or as a profile picture. Submarks are valuable for businesses with long brand names as they can easily showcase a simple and condensed design. This logo type also serves as a great watermark as it is typically displayed in a circular icon shape.
What is a Brand Mark?
Also known as a Pictorial logo, a brandmark is completely icon based or a simple image becomes the face of a brand. The Apple symbol, the Twitter bird, the Target Bullseye, are all well recognised names with an obvious choice of icon.
You also find the more subtle pictorial logos such as the LaCoste Crocodile, designed after the nickname given to Rene Lacoste, a tenacious player on the tennis court or the Snapchat Ghost representing the ephemeral nature of their snaps.
What is Abstract Iconography?
This mysterious logo type transforms the obscure into the renowned. Michael Bierut, calls this logo type the ‘holy grail’ and Beirut affirms this claiming it’s “everyone’s favourite type of category because it seems almost like magic.”
Basically with a few simply lines, curves and geometrical shapes, an abstract image is created. Think of Pepsi, Adidas, Chanel and one of the most recognised abstracts icon, the Nike swoosh. However, the strokes in the icon play a minor role in representing their product.
It took Nike hard work and dedication in promoting their ideas and products with repeated reference and use of their icon. This eventually led to the current level of international recognition of their famous swoosh.
What is the Logo System?
The logo system is a mixture of all of the above. Think MTV, Doritos, Burger King and Starbucks. All these logos combine words with symbols and shapes to produce a representation of who they are.
Even Google plays with the Logo System by changing up their day-to-day icons in their search engine landing page to celebrate different events or characters.
So logos are everywhere, but really they’re just a catalyst for a greater idea. A combination of words, strokes and images mean nothing until they are popularly recognised as a link to something bigger. Michael Bierut argues this idea through this Vox video and fittingly says: “It really is about thinking of these symbols as being empty vessels in a way. And then you pour the meaning into them.”
How to create a logo for my company?
A logo is an incredibly important part of your brand, and choosing a great logo design is a key decision for any company. This is a design that will act as the cornerstone of your brand, and all other designs you create, so getting it right is a great investment.
The best part is, finding an incredible logo is easy!
Thanks to the power of crowdsourcing, you can source logo designs from hundreds of designers at the same time. Simply post a logo design contest and watch as different logo designs pour in from designers all over the world. You can give feedback and chat with the freelancers about their entries to narrow down and iterate on your favorite designs.
Then, when the contest is finished, award the contest prize to the designer of your favourite logo, and the Intellectual Property of that design is transferred to you.
With access to over a million graphic designers, hiring a logo designer couldn’t be any easier.