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Different Types of Logos and When to Use Them


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Monogram, Brand stamp. Favicon. Coat of arms.

Whatever you call it, a logo is the face of your brand – your company’s identity, portraying who you are.

A unique, stunning logo is what entailed to stand out as a business.

When designing such an important piece of brand identity, putting your best foot forward and creating something people would remember is a matter of great concern.

If, at the moment, you can’t nail down precisely what you tend to have in your logo, scan through these 7 different types of logos and wait for that flash of inspiration to strike!

Lettermarks Logos (Monogram)

Lettermarks or monogram logos use the initials of your business name.

You might be unaware of what the letters NASA, IBM, CNN, or HBO stand for, but I bet you recognize the logo and what these companies do.

Yes, these letters are the initialisms of a few famous businesses with rather lengthy names.

Lettermark logo also refers to shortened names, such as FedEx. This logo is all about simplicity.

  • Since the focus is on initials, choosing fonts while designing a logo is of utmost importance. Check twice your logo is not just theme-based with what your company does, but also legible when printed on business cards.
  • For a startup, add your full business name below the logo so people can learn who you are the right way.

When to use a lettermark logo – A lettermark logo is well-suited for a company with a long name. Considering initials in the logo simplifies your design. People will have an easier time recalling your business and your logo.

Wordmarks (or Logotypes)

Similar to a lettermark, a wordmark or logotype is the business name without an image. It is a font-based logo, focusing on the name of business.

Coca-Cola and Visa are the most appropriate examples.

Wordmark logos work great with a succinct and distinct name of a business. An example is ‘Google’s logo’ – after all, Google is a distinct name, which itself is engaging and memorable.

With use of strong typography, Google’s logo creates strong brand recognition. So, typography plays a key role in designing a Wordmark logo.

When to use a watermark logo – A watermark is a great option for a startup as they need to get a business name out there. It is also a good idea if you have a distinct business name. You just need to ensure the name is short enough.

  • If you are a car brand, use a bold font to show a robust build.
  • If your company is named after a person, calligraphy font could go well to replicate a signature.
  • Use a refined serif font to indicate intellectual insight if you are a journalist or publication house.

Fortunately, there are plenty of fonts available. Hire graphic designers who will use the right font in your logo to breathe life into your wordmark.

Pictorial Marks

Often called a logo symbol or brand mark, a pictorial mark is an icon or graphic-based logo, apparently, the image that comes to mind when you think ‘logo.’

The iconic Apple logo, the Target Bullseye and the Twitter bird are examples of a pictorial mark logo.

When designing a logo with a pictorial mark, there is something that you might stick to with your company’s entire existence. Think about the broader implications to create deeper meaning.

When to use a pictorial mark – A pictorial mark alone can be a ‘tricky logo type’ for new companies. This is because there is only an image in this logo. Apple, Target Bullseye and Twitter, each brand is so established and emblematic that their mark alone is instantly recognizable. Pictorial marks can be effective if you have an established brand or you are not anticipating changes to your business model in future.

For example, you may start off selling burgers and use a burger in your logo, but what happens when you start selling pizza or sandwiches?

Abstract Logo Marks

Abstract Logo Mark is a specific type of pictorial logo. Unlike a recognizable image like a bird in Twitter or Apple logo, it is an abstract geometric form to represent your business. A few popular examples include –

  • The stripy Adidas flower
  • Pepsi divided circle
  • The BP starburst-y logo

Since abstract marks condense your brand into a single image, they work really well. With an abstract logo, you are not restricted to a picture of something recognizable, rather you can create something truly unique to represent your brand.

When to use an abstract logo – Abstract logo is the right option if you want a logo that could symbolically convey to the audience what your company does without reckoning the cultural implications of a particular image. Through form and color, you will be able to contribute meaning and cultivate emotion around your brand. It is good to leave to your graphic designer who understands how color, shape and structure combine to create meaning. For global commerce, Abstract and Pictorial work really well.

Mascot Logo

A mascot logo involves an image of an identifiable brand ambassador, often in form of a cartoon. Colorful and cartoonish, this logo is a fantastic way to create your very own brand spokesperson. The illustrated character or cartoon represents your brand.

Famous mascot logos include  Wendy’s Wendy Thomas, KFC’s Colonel and Kool-Aid Man. This logo design is great to appeal to young children or families. It is most often related to sports.

When to use mascots – Think about mascots if you appeal to children or families. This logo encourages customer interaction so it is an excellent tool for social media marketing as well as real-world marketing events. After all, who doesn’t want to take a selfie with Planter’s Mr. Peanut and Pillsbury Doughboy?

The Combination Mark

As the name suggests, a Combination Mark is a combination of both words and images. In it, images and icons are combined to enhance branding message and clarify what a business does.

What more? A combination mark is a combination of a wordmark or lettermark and a pictorial mark, abstract mark, or mascot.

Since the name is associated with an image, it is a versatile choice. It inspires people to associate your brand name with your pictorial mark or mascot right away. Because the symbol and text create a distinct image, getting a trademark to this logo is easier than a pictorial mark alone.

When to use a combination mark – You can use it for pretty much any business. It is generally highly unique and the most popular option of logo among prominent companies.

Emblem Logo

It is a logo design that resembles a crest or seal, featuring the name of company within design. This logo gives a traditional appearance that can make a striking impact. It is suitable for schools, colleges, government agencies, and organizations. The automobile industry often uses Emblem Logo.

Because this logo is designed with higher detail and symbol and names are rigidly entwined, it is less versatile than other logos. An intricate emblem design is not easy to replicate across all branding. An emblem logo on hats or shirts can be difficult. So, as a rule of thumb, keep your logo design uncomplicated.

When to use an emblem logo – Many public agencies and schools opt for the emblem’s traditional look. However, some businesses are also using emblem logos – especially those engaged in the food and beverage industry. Starbucks is an example. But, you need to play smartly when it comes to detail.

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