In a previous article I highlighted the importance of a logo in creating an identity for your brand and the five essential elements in making that logo a successful one. Moving on from there we will now look at various types of logos in order to help you discover which would be the best fit for your business.
There are three main types of logo; symbol, text, and combination. Each have their pros and cons, and one may be more appropriate for a certain type of business than the others.
A symbolic logo is one that is entirely pictorial; using symbols, images and shapes. Purely symbolic logos only really work with an already well-established business. They are usually the next step after having used a combination logo for long enough that your brand is now widely recognised. If you are an international company the benefit of a symbolic logo is that it doesn’t rely on language and so can be understood across the globe. A symbolic logo can be either graphic or illustrative.
Graphic images are simple but striking designs that work well at any size and on any media.
(WWF logo from http://repurposed.posterous.com/negative-space-in-logos, Im4ge logo by The Logo Company)
Illustrative logos are more complicated and can get more information across than a graphic image. However they may not work well at small sizes as detail is lost.
(Starbucks logo from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Starbucks_Corporation_Logo_2011.svg, Comal River Cottages logo by The Logo Company)
Text logos focus on either the entire company name or just its initials. There may be lines or boxes, but it is the text itself that forms the basis of the design. If the name of your business is unusual and memorable a text logo can work really well. If however it is fairly generic, you’d be better off with a combination logo. Text logos are also good if your company has many products or services that cannot be adequately shown in symbolic form. On the other hand a text only logo can make it difficult for potential customers to know what it is your company does.
(Lego logo from http://www.toxel.com/design/2008/08/20/20-famous-logo-designs/, Virtual Impact logo by The Logo Company)
(Chanel logo from http://www.toxel.com/design/2008/08/20/20-famous-logo-designs/, BLF logo by The Logo Company)
Combination logos use both a symbol and text and are the most popular type of logo. By using a symbol along with your company name you get the benefits of striking visuals and easy recognition.
(KFC logo from http://www.mycorporatelogo.com/blog/2010/05/human-face-inspired-logos/, Viking Insurance logo by The Logo Company)
Other design considerations
A 2-D logo is fairly simple and, as with a graphic image, works well at all sizes and on different types of media.
(Adidas logo from http://www.toxel.com/design/2008/08/20/20-famous-logo-designs/, Frogtale Studio logo by The Logo Company)
A 3-D design can add a certain something to your logo, but care must be taken when printing at small sizes and on items such as clothing. Many big brands stay away from 3-D designs, with the exceptions usually being part of the technology industry. Computers and websites are the natural home of 3-D logo designs.
(Apple logo from http://www.logodesignsense.com/blog/apple-logo-design/, Xtreme Genes logo by The Logo Company)
The use of negative space in a design is a clever way to make an impact. The space between the e and the x in the FedEx logo creates an arrow shape, implying speed and movement; perfect for a delivery company. In the Business Aviation Solutions logo the “swoosh” gives the impression of movement and speed, while the negative space it creates echoes the nose of an airplane.
(FedEx logo from http://www.toxel.com/design/2008/08/20/20-famous-logo-designs, BAS logo by The Logo Company)
Ultimately the type of logo you go for will depend on the type of business that you’re in. Hopefully this article will have made those all-important design choices a little bit easier.