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How many types of logo are there, and which one is right for you?

Essentially there are 7 types of logo, although some might assert that there are more, and in simple terms, the main ones are as follows (in no particular order):


The Seven

1) Lettermark (monogram)
2) Wordmark (logotype)
3) Pictorial (symbol)
4) Abstract
5) Mascot
6) Combination
7) Emblem


1) Lettermark

Basically a combination of letters (usually 3) that represent the initials of a company/person and some of the best-known examples would be; HBO, CNN, NASA etc.


2) Wordmark

Similar to Lettermark logos but actual words instead of initials such as; Coca-Cola, FedEx, eBay, Subway, etc.


3) Pictorial

Sometimes known as a "brand" or "symbol" is a logo that contains an image but no text, such as the Apple logo, Twitter logo, Instagram logo, etc. and the image generally represents something associated with the name such as the apple fruit (for Apple co.) or the bird (for Twitter), etc.


4) Abstract

Is similar to the Pictorial logo but the image is more of an abstract geometric form and not generally representative of the company name or product such as the Adidas logo, Pepsi Cola logo, etc.


5) Mascot

Contains an illustrated character which is frequently colourful and has a tone which is invariably playful rather than serious and among the best-known would be KFC, English Premier League, Quaker, etc.


6) Combination

Is a combination of a Lettermark or Wordmark with an image (our most frequently commissioned style) and among the best-known examples would be; Taco Bell, Dunkin Donuts, Lacoste, etc.


7) Emblem

Is a design featuring text inside a shape or symbol such as with Harley Davidson, Stella Artois, Warner Brothers, Man Utd, etc.

Deciding which logo is best for you is not always a straightforward task and even though you might start searching for a particular type, oftentimes the one you end up selecting is a different style altogether and this is generally because you unexpectedly come across something that has instant appeal. A style or format that literally just catches your eye.

You could almost compare the process to that of finding a life partner because setting out with a plan to find a particular type of person with a specific character is invariably thrown out the proverbial window when you happen to meet "the one" and it has been our experience that providing samples of various logo designs is a more productive way of determining which style appeals to our clients.
Of course, you can set out with some basic principles by searching for a type that reflects the image of your company in a style that is "generally accepted" as suitable for your industry, for example; Lettermark or Wordmark might generally work best for a bank or funeral services company but this is not always the case, in fact, nowadays it is not always the norm.

In recent years, simple designs have universally been accepted as the best approach for logos, with only a few exceptions (such as the Starbucks logo) and in this partly explains the popularity of flat design and negative space logos. As designers, we have almost been programmed and conditioned (almost brainwashed) into this mindset and we tend to automatically assume that clients are looking for this type of design but, as with all things, this is not always the case.

Once again this further indicates that the best approach is to display a selection of styles and let the viewer decide which has the most appeal.
From our perspective, the most frequently commissioned logos are Combination and Emblem (no's 6 and 7 above) but we are not advocating one style over another and there are numerous studies that inform the psychology and effects of imagery and text combinations on the conscious and subconscious mind. We are not trying to represent or comment on such research but instead simply want to let our clients know that if you have a particular style in mind, we can do that and if you are not really sure what you are looking for, we can accommodate that too.

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