Branding And Design: The Top 5 Logo Types For Your Company
Logos are an important design choice for any brand, business, or organization. But with so many logo types to choose from, how do you know which will be most effective for you? The good news is that logos follow many of the same principles as any graphic design project. However, they do follow some of their own unique rules. And they can still be intimidating for even the most seasoned artist.
Deciding which of the logo types best suits you and your brand is the very first step. And, fortunately, there are only so many logo types to choose from. A qualified design firm can guide you through the process of creating and finalizing a quality logo. However, it's important that you also understand what your options are and what direction you would like to take your company branding in.
After all, most business owners have little to no graphic design experience of their own. For many, the entire process of marketing and branding is a mystery. So how do you create the perfect logo for your company? And which of the most popular logo styles will you choose?
What's in a Logo?
A logo is often extremely simple but also extremely important. Your customers and clients will identify your logo as the identity of your business. If your logo is effective, your customers will recognize it instantly upon seeing it. Because your logo serves such a critical role in your brand's identity, it needs to be unique and appropriate. If your customers mistake your logo for another company, especially if they're in the same niche, your brand can become weak and unoriginal.
You also want your logo to invite new customers and clients to explore what your brand can offer. If your logo doesn't emote what your company stands for, then it will attract the wrong people. You might even find that people assume that your company offers a different product or service than it actually does.
In some cases, a logo can even become a creature of its own. That is common in luxury apparel brands or other ubiquitous organizations. For instance, people will purchase Nike products with an over-the-top version of their logo. Or how iPhone cases rarely cover the famous apple logo on the back. While your logo probably won't reach this level of fame, it's important to remember the potential power of a good logo.
Where Can You Get a Logo for Your Company?
Once you establish a logo for your business, it's not easy to change or replace. Doing so can harm your brand image and cause you to lose customers or clients. So you need to ensure that you're 100-percent confident in your chosen logo design at the start. If you work as a graphic designer, then designing your own logo can be a realistic option. But most people should turn to a professional graphic designer for their logo design. And, on top of that, a graphic designer who specializes in logo design can help guarantee that you receive a high-quality logo.
The scale of your company and your start-up budget will determine the resources you can access for your logo design. If you have access to a local design firm, they can be a great contact to test out. You can also contact design firms online and inquire if they accept clients that way. Overall, there is an abundance of graphic designers looking for work. But you need to be willing to pay the price for a quality logo.
Logos on a budget
Many people undervalue graphic design, especially logo design. Logos are deceptively simple, so those unfamiliar with the design industry often think they are quick and easy to create. Marketplaces like Upwork and Fiverr often attract clients who want a logo at the lowest price possible. On the one hand, this is a completely valid way to get a logo for your brand. But you need to understand that you get what you pay for. Logos from these marketplaces will often be copied, unoriginal, or low-quality. If you want to build a reputable brand, then this isn't the best way to start out.
Instead, we recommend looking at other options if you need a budget logo. Many graphic design students are open to outside work, so consider contacting your local art and design college. You can also check out marketplaces like Boonle, which connects design students and clients.
Of course, it's also perfectly fine to put a professional logo on hold until a graphic designer is in your budget. Graphic designers are skilled, talented workers who deserve fair pay for their services. And you will likely be much happier with a properly designed logo than one purchased at a discount. Plus, experienced designers are more familiar with the different logo types and how they can affect your prospective clients.
Our Top 5 Favorite Logo Types
Effective logos can be broken up into a variety of logo types. Different design experts define these groups slightly differently, but most of the same rules typically apply. To decide which of these logo types will best suit you and your brand, you need to understand the pros and cons of each.
Before committing to any one of these logo types, it's best to consult with a marketing expert or graphic designer. They will have a trained eye and can recommend the proper direction for your logo design. While you might feel attracted to a certain type of logo, from a marketing standpoint, it might not be the right choice. Consulting with a professional will help prevent this situation.
The most basic of these logo types is typography. While this logo style might appear extremely simple, designing a quality typography logo can be one of the most difficult. A good typography logo is clean, versatile, and makes the brand name extremely clear from first glance.
Typography logos can accommodate a variety of industries and themes. Different fonts, color, kerning, and other techniques can transform a stiff, professional logo into one that encompasses youthful adventure. However, when it comes to typography logos, simple is typically better.
Using a trendy or extremely recognizable font generally won't make a quality typography logo. Comic Sans or Times New Roman will make your logo look amateur, dated, and flat. And if you look at successful companies with typography logos, you'll probably be surprised by how basic their font choices are.
Some well-known examples of typography logos include Ikea, FedEx, Youtube, Google, eBay, and Amazon. For most of these companies, you were probably able to envision their logos as soon as you read their names. That is the power of an effective typography logo.
Technically, signature logos are a subcategory of the typography ones listed above. But this style can offer a more personal touch than typography or the other logo types. Of course, a signature logo is often not the actual signature of the brand's owner or another representative. Instead, the signature is carefully crafted by a designer to ensure legibility and balance.
Companies that use a person's name as their title commonly use signature logos. The combination of an individual's name with the signature style makes clients feel like they are working one-on-one with a specific person -- even if this is often not the case.
One of the downsides to using a signature logo over the other logo types is the inability to change much. Even the biggest companies edit their logos over time, tailoring them to look more modern and fresh. Mail Chimp recently updated their signature logo, but the changes were minimal. That is not always a bad thing, but definitely something to keep in mind.
When you think of famous signature logos, you might struggle to bring any to mind. But many of the world's most notable companies use signatures for their logos. The Walt Disney Company uses a representation of Walt Disney's signature (though it is not, in fact, his real signature). Mattel's Barbie brand also uses a signature for its logo, meant to represent the signature of the fictional character.
Letterform logos, sometimes called monogram logos, are yet another style of typography logo. But this style of logo only uses the brand's first letter or initials. These logos are also typically more stylized than a more traditional typography logo. Letterform logos can be a great compromise between a typography logo and an image. Some companies even take the time to hide images in their letterform logos.
When you are first establishing your brand, you want to be careful with using a letterform logo over other logo types. If your branding isn't coordinated, then potential (and existing) customers could become lost and confused. For example, if you use your letterform logo on your business card, but nowhere online, people will probably struggle to find your website or other information. If you decide to use a letterform logo, make sure that your branding is cohesive on all platforms.
Often, a letterform logo will actually become the more common name for a brand. For instance, HBO's actual name is Home Box Office. But how many people do you know who use the full name? Similarly, 3M's full name is Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing. Instead, almost everyone uses the logo version of the name. Strategic use of a letterform logo can help improve how recognizable your brand is. This is especially useful if your company's name is wordy or difficult to pronounce.
Emblem logos were more popular a few decades ago, but they are still one of the most used logo types. An emblem logo can also be called a crest or seal. For a more technical definition of an emblem logo, think of any logo that combines an image and brand name on a shaped background.
The obvious advantage of emblem logos versus other logo types is the inclusion of both an image and your company name. While many brands rely on a plain image to represent their brand (we'll cover these in a moment) this is a risky move for companies that aren't well-known. But an emblem logo also allows you to introduce information and personality into your logo with the help of a graphic.
However, emblem logos are limited in the ways they can be used. But most brands that use emblem logos also implement a range of other logos types. Take Starbucks, for instance. Their previous emblem was a circle with the siren image and "Starbucks Coffee" around the perimeter. But they also have two other logos in regular rotation. First, Starbucks recently introduced a logo with the siren image alone. Most people recognize this graphic as the Starbucks logo, so no typography is necessary. But, second, Starbucks also has a straight typography logo that just reads "Starbucks Coffee" in a simple font. These three logos all coordinate and work together to create a versatile branding package for the coffee company.
Other popular emblem logos include Harley-Davidson, the NFL, and the U.S. Military's set of logos. Each of these organizations also utilizes multiple logo types, just like our Starbucks example above.
A pictorial mark differs from the other logo types because it is just an image. These are also perhaps the most difficult to create. These logos can be anything from a one-color vector image to a detailed illustration. But they must fully represent your organization without the use of any words.
The main issue with a pictorial mark is that potential clients will have no way to identify your brand out of context. Successful pictorial mark logos work because they are associated with extremely well-known brands. Smaller companies who would like to use this style of logo will need to consider ways to include their name or other information. Or they might be better suited to one of the other logo types.
Many large companies use pictorial marks for their logos. The majority of people know that the bitten apple belongs to Apple. And few people need to be told that the swoop belongs to Nike. The World Wildlife Foundation's panda also needs little introduction for most people. These brands do often use their pictorial mark logos with the addition of typography for clarity. But they can usually rely on an image alone to represent their brand.
Which of These Logo Types Will You Choose?
As you can see in many of our real-world examples above, companies often invest in a variety of different logo types. That allows them to expand their brand across many different products, publications, and other advertising opportunities. When approaching your initial logo design, you should consider your chosen design's potential to translate across the range of different logo types. Many design firms will offer this automatically with their logo creation services. By creating several versions of your logo, spanning all different logo types, you can ensure that you have appropriate branding for every occasion.
Your logo can, and probably will, shape the way people see your brand. If you're launching something small, like a personal blog or home-based side job, then you probably don't need to invest too much time and money into a quality logo. But if you're starting a company that you want to be successful and taken seriously, your logo is one of the most important investments you can make.
A professional marketing expert and graphic designer can prove invaluable during the logo creation process. They will understand the pros and cons of different logo types, including the marketing psychology that goes into logo design. That might seem like a huge project if you're just starting your brand. And for some, it will prove too expensive at the start. But you should invest in a proper logo as soon as you and your company are able.
Featured Image Source: Pixabay.com