Yes, you read that right. Yes, there are different logo styles to consider when it’s time to create your brand logo. But I promise, this isn’t going to make it more complicated, it’s actually going to make it much easier to envision the right look for your logo before you even begin designing. But before you start thinking about how you envision your brand logo design, you want to first choose the right logo style that will be most effective and attract the largest target audience.
So let’s first dive into what your logo is and the different elements it may contain. Think of your logo as your brand ambassador and 24/7 brand representative. It’s the little icon that helps your customers recognize your brand and the visual representation of everything your brand stands for.
Your logo, just like your product, should be unique, strong, and confidently stand on its own. Depending on your product and target audience, the fonts, colors, and textures you use in your logo design will set the tone for your brand, help you strongly stand out against the competition, and show your customers you are an established brand they can trust.
ELEMENTS OF A BRANDThere are three different elements to a logo design and yours may include one, two, or all three elements, depending on what would work best to attract your target audience. THE ICON
The icon is what most people think of as the “logo” of a brand. It’s the picture others use to recognize your brand or who a product was created by. This picture can be an image that shows in a literal sense what your brand does or it can show what your brand stands for. THE LOGOTYPE
This is the font your brand name is written in. And although there are hundreds (maybe even thousands) of font types and styles, whether bold, simple, traditional, or modern, your font should represent your brand and what it stands for and match the message you want to share with your audience. [Want to find the best font for your brand? Read HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST FONTS FOR YOUR LOGO] THE STRAPLINE
The strapline is used to describe what it is your brand does. This is a line you may or may not need to add to your logo depending on whether your brand name clearly communicates what it is that you do. Below is a logo I created for Civic Kitchen in Los Angeles to give you a visual example of each element.
LOGO TYPES + STYLESThere are several different logo styles you can use to create the best visual representation for your brand, whether your logo design is more visual or type-based. What you want to focus on is ensuring that however you envision your brand logo, that it matches the message and perception you want your customers and target audience to have of you and your brand. Do you want to be seen as bold or minimalist? Luxurious or cost-effective? Strong or delicate? Or maybe both? Depending on your product and how you want to be perceived is what’s going to determine how you go about designing your logo. [How do you want your customers to perceive your brand? Read THE 5 WORDS THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR BUSINESS] Below are the 5 different logo styles and when to use them: A WORDMARK LOGO DESIGN
This type of logo uses your entire brand name and relies on distinctive traits like text, font, and color to represent your brand. This is the most commonly used logotype in any industry. A wordmark logo uses a very distinctive typeface that is easily recognizable by your target audience that acts as the cornerstone of your logo. It can be a simple font or a custom, uniquely designed typeface that embodies everything your brand stands for.
When to use it: Wordmarks are great to use for brands whose names literally share exactly what they do. Because it uses the full name as well, it’s a strong design to go with when you’re a new brand and need to build up brand recognition among new customers. Just be sure that your name isn’t too long so you can create a strong powerful design that isn’t cluttered by a long name, like Crate & Barrel, Canon, and Conde Nast.LETTERMARK LOGO DESIGN
A lettermark is similar to a wordmark, but rather than using the full brand name in the logo, uses initials to represent the brand. Think IBM, HBO, NBA, you get the point. This logotype relies heavily on typography and the recognizable design of your initials.
When to use it: Use a lettermark logo when your brand has a long name and want to simplify it for your customer so it’s easier for them to remember and search for you when they’re ready to buy. Lettermarks also work best for brands that are already established (not saying that it’s impossible if you’re new). But if you need to build brand recognition, you’ll be doing double the work building brand recognition for your logo, and spending more time and money to educate your customers on what your initials mean and what your products are.BRANDMARK LOGO DESIGN
Unlike a wordmark or lettermark logo, a brandmark is a logo that uses a strongly recognizable graphic as the icon and is the heart of the design. This is what most people think of as a logo (think the Apple icon, the Nike swoosh, or the Target store bullseye). The graphic can be a literal representation of what the brand offers or it can represent something the brand stands for or does.
When to use it: A brandmark is great when you want a simple icon or graphic to place on your product instead of your entire brand name, especially if your name is too long or generic. It’s incredibly easy to recognize once you’ve built up brand recognition, and if you plan to take your brand global, it’s a strong way to build brand recognition without having to worry about language barriers.COMBINATION LOGO DESIGN
Exactly what this sounds like, a combination logo uses both text (a word or lettermark) and an icon (a brandmark) together to create a strong logo design that embodies exactly who your product is for and what your product is. This isn’t always necessary or the most effective, but if you can create a literal icon for what your brand does and combine it with your brand name, can be a powerful logo design to quickly build up brand recognition.
When to use it: A combination logo is a versatile choice especially when you’re a new brand or startup. Using both a wordmark and visual graphic to show what your brand is all about is a powerful way to instantly show your target audience what you stand for and what they can expect from you.EMBLEM OR SEAL LOGO DESIGN
An emblem logo is made of a wordmark (or lettermark) within an icon or some sort of graphic emblem, like a seal or stamp. These can have a strong impact on an audience and are commonly used for schools, organizations, and agencies, but even though they can create a classic or traditional vibe, it’s easy to create a modern emblem for several product-based brands as well, like Starbucks and Harley Davidson did.
When to use it: Even though it’s a popular choice for schools and traditional companies, it works really well for food and beverage brands as well, especially if you make handcrafted beer. You don’t want to go overboard on the details for an emblem logo but you can have a lot of fun adding in visual and creative elements that tell the story of your brand history, heritage, or culture.Of all the aspects of your branding, having a strong logo is a crucial piece to spend some time on to discover and create the strongest impact and most effective design. This is one area where I would recommend hiring a brand stylist/graphic designer (if you don’t have too much design experience and feel more comfortable working with someone) to help you create a logo that truly embodies your unique brand and draws the attention your exact target audience.
Which logo style are you drawn to the most? What elements do you think will create the most impact on your brand? Let me know in the comments below!