Logo (logotype), is a graphic representation, symbol, stylised name used to identify an organisation or a companies uniform. A logo is different to a brand which identifies a product or a group of products.
Having a well-designed logo is important as it is a visual representation of a yourself, a company or a product. Most of the time it will be the first thing a customer or client will see when they come across your business, so its essential that you represent yourself or your business in the best way possible.
Logo classification: There are many different options when it comes to designing a logo, the five main types include the brand mark (symbol/icon),work mark, letter mark, combination mark and an emblem.
Brandmark (Symbol/Icon): The logo is made up of a symbol or an icon, it should be easily recognised and be able represent the company without needing any text or the company name displayed on it.
The symbol or icon is often simple but bold and can also be quite abstract. The ideas behind the logo can be quite complex, but are presented in the simplest way possible. A simple symbol or icon is a lot easier for people to remember and recognise, these can be particularly useful if you are trying to promote your company globally as its easier to understand than text.
Some of the most symbolic, well recognised brandmark symbols include Apple, Shell, Nike and Mercedes.
Shell Logo, Raymond Loewy, 1971
Both the symbols for ‘shell’ and ‘apple’ are recognised globally, their designs are not only representative of the company name but are also simple, bold and easy to visualise.
Since its creation in the early nineties, the ‘Shell’ logo has been developed and redesigned many times. The logo is made up of a simply drawn shell, the red and yellow colours used help to make the design memorable and stand out. Initially the idea of using red in the shell was due to the painted red tin containers that were shipped by the company. The current logo, shown above was designed by French-born American Industrial designer Raymond Loewy in 1971 and is still successfully used today.
One of the features I like about ‘Apple’ logo is how it has been adapted to many designs. It is clever how the colours within a simple shape can change to keep the design interesting, unique and modern. Although the history of the logo is quite complex, the design is very simple, which is something that can be hard to achieve. As the logo represents the company and is so well-recognised that there is no need for text, making it an important brandmark icon.
Wordmark: A logo that consists of only text, words are used as a visual symbol to represent the organisation, it usually is made up of a uniquely styled font. Word mark logos are often used when starting up a business because it helps customers become familiar with the brand name.
Some examples of companies that use a word mark logo include Sony, Samsung, Microsoft, Coca-cola, Disney, Facebook and Google.
Both the logos for Coca-cola and Google are good examples of logos that are recognised globally, both designs are displayed on products and the internet all over the world.
Google is a well used search engine so using the company name as the logo works well. The design can also be adapted, as shown in the more recent ‘Google Doodles’, an artistic version of the Google logo to represent current events, holidays or anniversaries all over the world.
The Coca-cola logo was first designed in 1885 by Frank Mason Robinson, since then it remains more a less the same. There are only two colours used are the background is red and the text is white, the font used is quite fancy and curvy, the way the type is joined gives the logo its own unique style.
Lettermark: Are quite similar to word mark logos as they consist of only type, unlike the word mark it consists of a abbreviation often a companies initials. Letter marks are particularly useful to use when a companies name is too long to use, hard to pronounce or the name is not distinct enough.
Even though letter marks can be very effective, it is important to inform the public and make sure the letter mark logo is recognisable and representational of a specific company.
Some examples of letter mark logos include IBM, FedEx, Hewlett Packard (Hp) and Cable News Network (CNN).
These examples shown above of the ‘IBM’ and ‘Fed Ex’ logos are good examples of how type has been used to create a clear engaging logo.
The current ‘IBM’ logo was designed by Paul Rand and recognised worldwide. The logo has a rectangular structure, with the world ‘IBM’ written inside,the font is very simple and legible. I particularly like how the letter forms have been broken up into horizontal rectangles, it makes the design stand out.
The most recent ‘Fed Ex’ logo, shown above was created in 1994 by Lindon Leader, a senior graphic designer. I like how you can see a hidden arrow between ‘E’ and the ‘x’ although not obvious at first, I really like the idea. The colours of the logo also interest me, they make the logo stand out and are different from black which are often used in lettermark logos.
Combination mark: Consists of a symbol or an icon with a word mark, sometimes a strong combination mark can lead to a company presenting these components together or individually.
Combination mark logos can also be easier for us to register than other types of logos, due to the combination of a symbol and text. Using both a symbol and a word mark to represent your company also allows flexibility, as you are able to adapt both the symbol or the text together or individually as your business changes.
Some examples include the Bank of American, Mexicana airlines, Adidas, National trust and British gas.
When trying to find examples of a combination mark I initially found it quite difficult, this was because I found a lot of the logos worked on their own as just with just type or image.
The logo for ‘British gas’ does work without the image, however I feel that I would struggle to recognise its symbol without the type. Using the whole company name works well in the logo as it is only two words, the gas symbol also makes the logo more interesting. The colour scheme is also consistent throughout.
Similar features are also apply to the ‘National Trust’ logo above, however I think both the symbol and the type work equally well together and individually. Logo has been designed in numerous colours, including black and different tones of green, which fits the companies identity.
Emblem: Has the company name incorporated into the design. Emblem logos often resemble a badge, information such as the location, address and tagline are often displayed inside. This can make it difficult to work with in particularly in print or when resizing as legibility can become a problem.
This is type of logo is popular within sporting and car companies such as NFL, BMW, Ferrari and Bentley. Some other examples include Starbucks and Harley-Davison motorcycles.
A typical example of an emblem logo is the design for ‘NFL’, the name and design are all displayed in a badge. The use of bold type and graphic image make it is easy to understand, the colours also help the design to stand out.
The logo designed for ‘Starbucks‘ (shown above) is one of the most recognised logo emblems. In 1987, Howard Schultz design for the logo was much simpler, it was until the earlier 90’s when the green colour was added representing growth, freshness and uniqueness.
The Starbucks logo has since been redesigned in 2011 as part of the companies 40th anniversary. The ‘Starbucks coffee’ wordmark has been removed and the mermaid has been made green. I think the logo is still successful without the text as it is so well known all over the world, the colour scheme is also consistent throughout all the Starbucks products.
As part of my research I am going to try to find and photograph some of my own examples of the different logo types.