What Types of Logo Design Are There?
February 21, 2016
What Types of Logo Design Are There?

If you focus your thoughts on what a logo is, you will probably have some very strong and familiar ones come to mind. Brands such as McDonald’s, Facebook, Starbucks and Texaco, as just a few examples, are instantly recognizable to just about everyone in the world over the age of about 5. What distinctive features do logos have, and how can we categorize them? There are, broadly speaking, five main categories that logos fall into. This article will describe them and give some helpful examples to help understand logo design more clearly.

1. Wordmark (Text)

The first type of logo design is known as a wordmark, and is used by around 37% of the top 100 companies in the world. This kind of logo has a type font which is stylized to convey the business identity. Fonts in themselves can say something about a brand, for example italics can suggest motion or change whilst bold could say strength, power or stability. Beyond this, the overall colors and shapes of the text are often manipulated within the logo design depending on what the brand or product is trying to put across. Think of Tropicana fruit juice, for example, where there is a fresh green color and a leaf over the letter i. It’s these simple distinctive twists which create a memorable brand logo simply by using the name. The name itself is also important, of course, and a company like Google has such a quirky and unusual name that their logo doesn’t need to be anything more than colorful letters. It works because the name itself holds enough interest.

Click here to see more Wordmark Logo Design Inspirations.

2. Lettermark

Lettermark logos are very similar to word mark logos, as they are created using typefaces, but are even more simple. With this type of logo design there is greater focus on just using first letter, initials, or an abbreviation of a company’s name to convey brand identity. Whilst wordmarks may contain a simple graphic for clarity, letter marks tend to be simply letters. Think of Cable News Network (CNN), McDonald’s (M) and Hewlett Packard (HP) for a few well known ones. These small logos can save space when creating merchandise but, perhaps most importantly, become much easier to remember. Many companies (such as CNN) become known by the initials alone, as they stick in people’s minds quite naturally. If a company has a long or complicated name, then using this kind of logo is often a good choice for this reason.
See more inspirational Lettermark examples here.

3. Brandmark (Symbol or Icon)

This is the least complicated style and is a very flexible choice of logo design. These kinds of logos need to stand on their own without any association or reference to the company name. The benefits for a large international company are obvious, as language is bypassed and the symbol can be recognized internationally. Another main benefit is that symbols can often convey ideas much more easily than text. Think of a one-way sign on a road, and the instant understanding is hopefully taken for granted. Think about Target, Shell or Twitter for some well-known examples of these logos.

4. Combination Mark (Both Text and Symbol)

Logo designs that integrates both a symbol/icon with text (word marks) are known as combination mark logos. Around 56% of the top 100 companies globally use this type of logo style. There are a couple of benefits with developing a combination mark logo for your company are, such as having more flexibility on how your brand appears to customers, and the fact that parts of the mark can be altered, combined, or separated, but always whilst retaining a level of consistency. Combination mark logo designs can also be easier to register as a trademark than stand alone symbol/icon type logos, as many symbol/icon logos can appear similar without uniquely styled text (wordmarks) associated with them. For these reasons, this combination mark logo is very popular today. Think of companies such as Microsoft, Walmart and Adidas for a few examples of these.
30 Examples of Clever Logo Design.

5. Emblem Logos

Emblem logos can be considered combination marks in a sense, because they include both a symbol and text, but unlike combination marks, emblem style logo designs are more integrated and enclosed to appear as one single graphic. Emblem style logos cannot be presented as separate identity pieces like a combination mark logo, which gives them very little flexibility, especially in print applications or when resizing. This type of logo is very popular in the automobile industry as well as in the sporting world. Think of Ford, Nissan, and Starbucks Coffee for some good examples. Emblem style logos tend to resemble a badge or an official seal, which can give them a timeless and authoritative quality.
Check out 50 Stylish Badge and Emblem Examples


Companies often invest a great deal of money in logo design and development, exploring subtleties that most people would never think of. Color schemes denoting certain characteristics and details of design which are meant to convey something of importance are pored over by advertising executives, and for good reason. Mass psychology is of paramount importance in the advertising world, and can have long-reaching effects for any organization. The importance of getting it right is easily underestimated, so hopefully this short guide will be useful for anyone considering their logo design and branding strategy. Once you have all the options and appreciate their strengths and limitations then you are in a better position to decide which type of logo to use. A great logo design not only helps your business become recognizable, it also helps you establish credibility and stand out in the marketplace. If your logo is easily remembered and has a strong relationship with your brand and what your company does, then these are the main considerations. Making things over-complicated doesn’t usually work, and yet the preparation of making the right choices is quite an in-depth process. It might seem strange that a very simple logo could take large amounts of professional design and investment, and yet the right choices often leads to the creation of a simple and effective logo design that does exactly what it’s supposed to.

Further Reading

If you’d like to learn more about the types of logo design, you will find plenty more information and ideas at the following places: