Aside from a stellar business plan, coming up with a logo is an extremely important step when it comes to building your brand. Your logo is the visual representation of what your brand is about. It needs to catch people’s attention and convey who your brand is in the few seconds that someone might see it. That’s a tall order. So when it comes to dreaming up your brand’s logo there different things to take into consideration like the type and style of logo you want.
Let’s take a look at the the three biggest parts of logo design: logo types, logo styles and logo colors.
Part I: Logo Types
There are four main types of logos: lettermark, wordmark, pictorial and combination. Let’s take a brief look at each of these.
Lettermark logos are also called monogram logos. They are often used if a brand has a long name and wants it shortened for everyday speak. Lettermark logos usually consist of the company’s initials. Here are some examples of famous lettermark logos:
Wordmark logos are similar to that of lettermark logos in that they both contain a variation of the company name, however wordmark logos usually contain the full name of the company. These are good for companies with shorter more recognizable names. Here are some examples of companies with wordmark logos:
Pictorial logos contain an image that represents the company rather words or letters. The image can be more abstract or more literal (but we’ll dive into that a little later). This type of logo relies on using a customer’s brand awareness to associate the image with the brand name. This is why you see a lot of top name companies with pictorial logos because they are already well established in the minds of consumers. Brands usually start out with combination logos, which we’ll talk about next, while building brand awareness and then eventually being using the pictorial logo instead of the combo logo or interchangeably. An example of that is Apple. They initially had a combination logo, but eventually switched over to the pictorial logo you see below. Brands like Nike and Target use both their pictorial logo and combination logo. You can see either of their logos and be able to associate it with the company.
Combination Logos are pretty self explanatory - they use a combination of the logo styles listed above. These types of logos work well for all types of businesses because they typically tell you the brand name and also give you an idea of what their brand is about. Here are some famous examples of combination logos:
The Wendy’s logo is also an example of a mascot logo, where the logo is based around a company mascot. Other examples of mascot logos include KFC, Aunt Jemima, Planter’s Peanuts (Mr. Peanut), etc.
To recap, lettermark logos are suitable for companies with long names that need to be shortened down for easier public recognition; wordmark logos are suitable for companies with shorter names that are easy to remember (especially if they already describe the services or goods your company offers); pictorial logos are suitable for companies with a strongly established presence in the consumer marketplace and usually stem from the use of a combination logo first; and finally a combination logo is suitable for any type of business.
Now let’s move on to logo styles!
Part II: Logo Styles
Once you’ve chose the type of logo you want to have for your brand it’s important to think about the style of the logo. The style of logo you choose is arguably more important to brand perception than the type of logo. Let’s break down the different types of logo styles and what they represent.
Logo Style: Feminine vs. Masculine
When creating your logo it’s important to keep in mind your ideal customer. Do you sell beauty products? Then you probably don’t want a masculine logo. Do you sell men’s clothing? Then you don’t really want a feminine logo. If you’re product or service is unisex than you want to balance the femininity and masculinity of your logo so that neither is dominant. Feminine logos often tend to incorporate smooth lines, script fonts, florals and other sterotypically feminine elements. Color wise they tend to gravitate towards softer colors like pinks and purples or use pastels to soften the look even more. Feminine logos tend to look more “beautiful.” Masculine logos often incorporate sharp lines and edges, fully saturated colors or monochromatic color palettes and thicker, bolder fonts. Gender neutral logos combine the best of both of these by sticking to neutral colors and fonts. Let’s look at some examples:
Feminine Logo Examples:
Masculine Logo Examples:
Gender Neutral Logo Examples:
Logo Style: Young vs. Mature
Your audience age is also an important factor when designing your logo. Are you targeting the younger crowd or the older crowd? Younger audiences tend to gravitate more towards color and bold design whereas mature audiences tend to gravitate towards classic, less showy design.
“Young” Logo Design Style Examples:
“Mature” Logo Design Style Examples:
Logo Style: Budget vs. Luxury
Does your target customer base have a lot of money or do they live on a budget? If you are a luxury brand, you don’t want a logo that looks like you’re thrift shopping. You want something evocative of taste and exclusivity. Luxury brand logos typically use less color, but if they do it’s often gold, silver or another metallic color. They also tend to use less bold typefaces than budget brands. If they use pictorials logos it’s often something that recalls traditional, royal or mythology. Budget brand logos tend to be flashier and bolder. Take a look at some examples:
Budget Brand Logo Examples:
Luxury Style Logo Examples:
Logo Style: Modern vs. Classic
Modern vs. Classic styles are very similar to the young vs. mature logo styles. The only real difference is that modern logos tend to to embrace geometric patterns and simplicity. Modern logos don’t mind embracing color They tend to use more casual sans-serif fonts. Several big name brands have modernized their logo over the last few years to refresh their look. Classic logo design tends to use serif fonts with muted color palettes.
Modern Logo Style Examples:
Classic Style Logo Examples:
Logo Style: Playful vs. Serious
Playful style logos are often for brands that market products and services to children. Serious style logos are often used for professional services. Playful styles can be more colorful and use fonts that are bolder, blockish and less structured.
Playful Logo Examples:
Serious Logo Examples:
Logo Style: Loud vs. Quiet
Loud logo styles often include bold colors, fonts and generally have a lot to the logo design. Quiet logo styles tend to use more muted tones or single colors and abide by the less is more adage.
Loud Logo Examples:
Quiet Logo Examples:
Logo Style: Simple vs. Complex
Simple and Complex logos kind of follow the same vein of design as quite vs loud. Simple logos could just be lettermarks or wordmarks, or have minimal design elements. Complex logos contain a lot of design elements.
Simple Logo Examples:
Complex Logo Examples:
Logo Style: Subtle vs. Obvious
When you include some icons or imagery in your logo you can choose to make it subtle or obvious. Subtle imagery hints at the meaning behind the logo while obvious logos are well…obvious. Check out some samples of each below.
Subtle Logo Examples:
Obvious Logo Examples:
Logo Style: Organic vs. Geometric
Organic logos tend to display imagery as you would naturally see them in real life. Geometric logos tend to be more abstract representations of an object. You often find organic style logos with food brands.
Organic Logo Examples:
Geometric Logo Examples:
Phew! That’s it for the logo styles. Let’s move on to the final part - logo colors.
Part III: Logo Colors
If you ever take a design or marketing class you’re very likely to talk about the psychology of colors. Different colors tend to evoke different emotional reactions in humans. That’s why it’s important to make sure the colors you choose for your logo complement your brand and don’t clash. Let’s take a look at each color and what they mean in design.
The color red is very eye-catching and bold. It often represents energy, excitement and passion.
Often paired with: White and Yellow
Like red, pink can also evoke feelings of passion albeit in a subtler way. Pink tends to lend itself more to love and femininity. It tends to be a more youthful and playful color, which is why you often see pink in logos for children’s products.
Often paired with: White
Orange is a friendly and cheerful color. It often represents confidence, creativity and fun.
Often paired with: White and Black
Just like red, yellow is an eye-catching color that demands attention. It often represents cheer, enthusiasm and positivity. It can also represent caution.
Often paired with: red and black
Green in design often represents earthy, natural and balance. You often find green in logos for food based and environmental brands.
Often paired with: White and Yellow
Blue is a very serene and calm color. It often evokes feelings of trust and dependability. You can often find the color blue in logos for technology and finance companies.
Often paired with: White, Red and Yellow
Purple can convey mystery, royalty and passion and uniqueness.
Often paired with: White, Black, Grey (or Silver) and Yellow
Brown, like green, also signifies earthy and organic. It’s a a more serious color that can signify stability and integrity. You can often brown in logos for agricultural brands, transportation brands and legal services.
Often paired with: White and Yellow
Colors: Black and Gray
Blacks and Grays are elegant and formal. They often
That’s it! Thank you so much for reading this post about logos. I hope you found it helpful. Let me know if you liked the post in the comments and what you’d like to learn about next!