People starting new businesses often make a critical mistake: they try to take a shortcut and find a template or generic logo from an online logo store to save money.
Your company logo can make or break your business. The logo is the face of your business and your brand ambassador. It’s what people often see before they see your products or services.
People quickly forget your business when your company logo looks like hundreds or thousands of other logos. So, it’s crucial to find the most effective logo to represent your brand uniquely.
To create the perfect logo that captures the essence of your business, you must consider colors, shapes, appeal, price, and how the overall logo design fits your brand.
Logos can be divided into two main types: descriptive and nondescriptive logos.
Descriptive logos reflect the company’s name, while nondescriptive logos are abstract and often give hints about the products or services a business sells.
Additionally, there are different logo styles. And while each style is distinctive, not all styles work for every type of business or organization.
Here are the 7 most popular logo styles:
1. Monogram logos
A monogram logo (also known as a lettermark) shows a brand’s initials. It’s a descriptive logo that directly represents the brand’s identity. Monogram logos are easy to remember because they often use unique font styles and the brand’s name or initials.
Many popular brands, including CNN, HP, and KFC, use monograms. Luxury fashion brands Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Gucci proudly display their classic monogram logos.
Look at those examples for inspiration if you’re starting a business and considering a monogram logo. And if you’re rebranding an existing business, consider whether a monogram logo fits your target market. Such logos work well in specific industries like clothing but are less popular in other industries.
There are two essential things to consider when creating a monogram logo: font style and color.
The font you use must be clear and easy to read. If a customer or prospect can’t easily read your monogram logo, they won’t know who you are. Additionally, the colors must be simple, complement the font, and be easy on the eyes.
When to use monogram logos:
- If you have a long business name that’s difficult to print on smaller objects or difficult to remember.
- If you have an upscale product that appeals to a higher-end crowd. Many expensive products use monogram logos.
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2. Brandmark logos
A brandmark logo uses an icon or image (sometimes called pictorial marks or logo symbols) to represent the brand.
Apple, Twitter, Pepsi, and Starbucks have recognizable brand marks worldwide.
Such logos are essential if your business is global. Because of language and cultural differences, brand mark logos help you create brand consistency across many markets without requiring people to read words in a specific language.
Brandmark logos can be challenging for new or less established businesses because strong brand recognition is essential to making your logo memorable. As a result, you’ll need to spend more on marketing to create brand awareness for your company.
The mark (the image you choose for your brand logo) will represent your business. So take the time to pick a distinct mark that suits your business.
And remember that simple is always better. This is not the time to create complex brand marks. Brands like Nike, Apple, Gucci all have simple brand mark logos that are easy to identify and remember.
You can start by asking yourself these questions:
- What do I want my logo to imply?
- Should I use an image that directly represents my company name?
- Do I want to evoke people’s emotions, and if so, how?
- What colors best suit my brand’s image?
When to use brandmark logos:
- Brandmark logos need to be supported by marketing and branding campaigns for your target audience to connect the logo to your brand. So, be sure you have a marketing budget to support your brandmark logo.
- If your business name represents a real object, a brandmark of that object could be a powerful reminder. The brandmarks for Apple and Target are two good examples.
3. Mascot logos
Mascot logos use illustrated characters to represent a business. They’re usually playful and cartoonish to show that the company’s behind those logos are warm and friendly. Such logos are commonly used when your target audience includes families and children. For example, many food packaging companies use mascot logos.
Businesses use mascot logos as symbolic brand ambassadors. For example, KFC’s iconic mascot (a.k.a. Colonel Sanders) illustrates its legendary founder. Together with the story the company tells about its origins, that illustration helps to create a stronger brand identity.
Mascot logos are also popular for sports teams. They create a fun dynamic and increase customer engagement because people love to take pictures of fun characters and share those photos with others.
When creating a brand mascot, consider your audience, your brand’s overall appeal, and how you’ll use the logo. For example, mascot logos with great details don’t appear well on business cards or in small print. So be sure that the logo can work well in different sizes.
When to use mascot logos:
- Mascot logos can be tricky because they can appeal to specific audiences but not others. For example, nearly all children’s food products have mascots, but you won’t find many financial services or products with mascots.
- If you have a global business, a mascot can help people remember your brand even when they can’t read your company’s name in their native language.
4. Wordmark logos
A wordmark logo (also known as a logotype) uses a font creatively as the branding for the business. Wordmarks and monograms are similar in this aspect.
Many popular brands, including Google, FedEx, and Coca Cola use wordmark logos.
What’s the difference between monogram and wordmark logos?
Word mark logos use the complete business name, while monograms are often just the company’s initials.
It’s vital to use a unique font to highlight the business name for a wordmark logo. A standard font won’t work because it won’t be memorable. That’s why wordmark logos often have unique font treatments.
For example, take a look at the crowdspring logo. Notice the details we’ve included to set it apart from simply using the font four our business name?
Wordmarks work best with simple and striking colors that complement the fonts. For example, Coca-Cola, Google, FedEx, Disney, and Canon use their full business names as logos, but each logo uses distinct fonts and colors.
It’s best to use a wordmark logo if you’re a new business and/or have a unique business name. Wordmarks are also easy to replicate on marketing materials such as business cards, websites, podcast images, etc.
When to use wordmark logos:
- If your business has a shorter name. Long business names will look cluttered and will be challenging to remember as a wordmark logo.
- When other logo styles don’t fit your target audience.
- When you have a special font or font treatment that reflects your brand personality.
5. Combination mark logos
Sometimes it’s not enough to have an image or your brand name as a logo. Consider a combination mark as an alternative.
A combination mark combines images and words to create a unique brand image. The images and words can often be used separately or together to represent the brand.
Famous brands such as Burger King, Rolex, Nike, Dove, and Amazon use combination mark logos.
Combination logos let you extend your brand to different mediums without always using your brand name. For example, Adidas often uses just the image of its brand on hats, t-shirts, and other clothing. Because of brand awareness, people can quickly identify those items made by Adidas.
But remember that combination logos often require bigger marketing budgets because you must create brand awareness for your combined logo and the separate elements. Otherwise, people won’t connect your brand with the image if they don’t know it represents your brand. Nike’s “swoosh” logo is simple and powerful and reflects hundreds of millions of dollars of marketing campaigns that have created strong brand awareness for that mark.
When to use combination mark logos:
- If you’re starting a new business, combination marks can work well because you’ll have multiple ways to present your brand to your target audience.
- Clothing brands often use combination marks because images work better on clothing than brand names. That’s why you’ll see Nike’s swoosh on most of its clothing, without the brand name “Nike.”
- Combination marks also can make it easier for you to trademark your logo because combination mark designs tend to be more distinct.
6. Emblem logos
Emblem logos combine a font within a symbol or icon. We often see them used by universities, vintage brands, and formal establishments.
The elements of the emblem logo generally cannot be separated like combination mark logos. But that doesn’t make them less popular. The NFL, BMW, Porsche, and Warner Brothers, among many other famous brands, use emblem logos,
Emblem logos are striking, harmonious and give your brand a chic and classic look. Younger consumers embrace emblems as fashion statements.
Emblem logos require closer attention to detail and strategic color combinations. And the overall design must be in sync to create the perfect emblem logo.
But remember that emblem logos can be less versatile. They’re typically harder to print and might not be as memorable because they are often more complex than other logo styles.
If you want to use an emblem logo for your brand, stick to a bold font, avoid clashing colors, and create a brand symbol that perfectly ties everything. The finished emblem should be harmonious and memorable.
When to use emblem logos:
- Emblem logos are commonly used in the auto industry and by government agencies.
- Food and beverage businesses can benefit from emblem logos. Starbucks’s famous logo is an emblem. But ensure that your emblem logo isn’t overly complicated and complicated designs are hard to embroider and print and don’t look good in small size.
7. Abstract logos
Abstract logos use unique symbols to represent your brand. This type of logo symbolically shows what your company does.
Abstract logos are easier to remember if they are distinct. However, the symbol you use must be unique. If you use a generic or common symbol, your logo will be forgettable and not distinguishable from thousands of others.
Like brand marks, abstract logos require strong brand recognition because they don’t include the brand’s name.
Adidas, Pepsi, Nike, and NBC use abstract logos. These famous companies have established brands and have spent a lot of money on marketing. So, it’s not surprising that people recognize their logo.
But if you’re starting a new business, an abstract logo might not be the ideal style. That’s why companies will often add abstract elements to their branding after establishing a brand. Airbnb did recently when it rebranded.
When creating an abstract logo, consider your brand’s vision, the symbol that best reflects your brand, and complementary shapes and colors.
When to use abstract logos:
- Consider abstract logos when you need to communicate what your company does symbolically. But be sure that the image you use doesn’t have significant cultural connotations in different geographic markets.
- An abstract logo might work better than other logo styles if you have a global business with many products and services.
How to create a compelling logo for your business
Here’s a quick cheat-sheet of what you consider and what you must avoid when creating your brand logo:
- Make sure your logo is clear, simple, and straightforward.
- Choose colors that complement each other. These colors will be the foundation for your overall branding. Avoid using complicated colors or using too many colors. And be sure that your logo can work when printed in black and white.
- Use clear and easy-to-read fonts.
- Consider your audience and how your logo would appeal to them.
- Logo design trends can show you what’s popular.
- Don’t over-complicate your logo. If the design is too busy, your logo will be impossible to read or remember.
- Don’t get distracted by fads. Fads are temporary and can’t help you build a sustainable brand.
- Generic and template-based logos. Your goal is to stand out – not blend in.
- Don’t copy popular logo designs. You risk being sued, and people will be confused (and possibly angry if they mistook your brand for a famous brand).
It’s not easy to create the perfect logo. There are many things to consider, and you should find a logo designer specializing in branding.
Remember that all famous companies started small. By focusing on your brand’s style and target audience, you can create a unique logo that best represents your business brand.
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