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How to Choose a Logo for Your Business? Beginner's Guide

Author:
Kosta Tiodorovic
February 14, 2022
17-minute read
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So you’re starting your own business? That’s great! One of the first steps about creating your identity is choosing the right kind of logo that will envelop the essence of your business in a single art form. It is only natural that there is a lot of pressure when deciding on this matter. Securing the proper one is a vital step in the career path for small business owners. 

However, the decision doesn’t need to stress you out too much. We are here to help you navigate through the different types of logos, and ultimately decide which type works the best for your brand. Choosing the right one will help you and your business create a unique and recognizable image towards the world. Let’s get you caught up on different types of logos!

Types of Logos

While each sort of logo can serve a distinct purpose, certain styles have become increasingly popular in recent years, especially as more firms go entirely online. Based on what is depicted in the logo there are two major categories that are recognized. Businesses that have logos in which a certain icon is the main motive are called image-based. Logos that are based on word or letters, usually inspired by the name of the business, are name-based

Both of these main categories have sub-groups that have their own advantages and disadvantages, so choosing the right one can be one of the most important decisions in creating your brand identity. We will show you what type fits perfectly with your business.

Image-based Logos

Icon-based logos make use of pictures to convey information about what they represent. Depending on what form they take, image-based ones have 6 different types, each signifying something different about the brand using them.

Brand Marks

Brand marks consists of a single image or symbol that in some way depicts what the business is all about. Because they only show an image without the company name, it is usually used by well-established companies that are recognizable all around the world. Think of Twitter or Shell.

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Advantages

Brand marks are simple and very memorable. If you provide a certain service, an image that depicts that service will provide a quick and obvious message to your target audience. Additionally, the design's simplicity will transition effectively when resizing your logo across marketing materials such as business cards or letterheads. No wonder that some of the world’s most recognizable businesses use brand marks!

When to use brand marks?

Because there is only one image on a brand mark, this type is perfect for businesses that produce a single product or offer a specific service. 

For example, if you are opening up a sandwich restaurant, a brand mark which depicts some kind of a sandwich would clearly indicate what your business is all about. But be weary! If you are planning on diversifying in the future, using a brand mark that depicts just one type of service you offer could be counter-productive and you might need rebranding.

What to consider when using brand marks?

A true brand mark is nothing more than an image. As a result, it might be difficult to employ this type for new businesses or those with little brand recognition. A crucial factor is to find the right image for you. The type of image used in the brand marks, much like the time spent coming up with a firm name, must be carefully studied. When doing this you need to be careful about what the image is saying about your company, and does it transmit a clear message to your customers.

 Keep in mind that brand marks can be just a part of your full logo. They are perfect for use on apps or social media pictures, while a combination one (discussed below) could be the right choice for you. 

Abstract Marks

Like brand marks, abstract marks also consist of a single image that represents the brand. However, the image used doesn’t directly indicate what the company does or its name. It's a one-of-a-kind, meant to convey something particular about your company. Although they can stand alone, abstract marks are more often than not displayed with company names beside them. 

Because there are less restrictions in abstract marks, the design can be much more creative and unique. Many famous companies, like Pepsi or Chase, successfully use this type.

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Advantages

There's freedom to experiment with these designs since you can use a symbol that truly represents your ideals or highlights a feature of your business. The advantage of an abstract mark is that it allows you to symbolically communicate what your businesses is about, without depending on the cultural meanings of a specific picture. In fact, features like colors or shapes can imply certain ideals that your business represents. 

By using an image that doesn’t necessarily resemble anything, you also give your target audience opportunity to have unique understanding of your brand as well!

When to use abstract marks?

Abstract marks work the best for businesses that have numerous divisions with different areas of expertise. Because there is no image that defines what your brand does, this type is perfect for you if you are a diverse business! They are symbolic, as these designs are great for expressing brand values or any other aspect of your organization that you want to stand out. 

Abstract marks are usually very simple, and they are perfect for businesses that want to have a strong online presence because of their adaptability. Regardless of the logo size, basic designs will transfer effectively across platforms.

What to consider when using abstract marks?

What makes abstract marks special is their simplicity, so you need to be careful not to overdo it.  Excessively detailed images might not look the way you want them to on different mediums, so I suggest keeping your design clean and simple.

However, don’t be afraid to pay attention to details. Refining your logo is very important in achieving the message you want to send to the world. You don't want your message to be misunderstood because of a design that is overly ambiguous or difficult to comprehend.

Finding the perfect balance between having a dubious and a creative design is crucial for abstract types. If you find it, your brand will be on the right path for world-wide recognition!

Mascots

Mascots are depictions of a figure or person that serve as a visual representation of your company. They are often cartoonish characters that are used to evoke fun emotions in your target audience through colorful designs. 

A mascot is an excellent approach to establish your own brand spokesman/spokeswoman, while creating a recognizable image of your business. Some of the more famous examples are KFC’s Colonel or Michelin’s Tire Man.

Advantages

Mascots are ideal for businesses that aim to foster a positive environment by appealing to families and youngsters. By creating a fun and playful atmosphere, mascots give your brand the same undertone. Because mascots work so good at evoking emotions with your audience, they are a good tool to use when trying to create a positive company image. 

Regardless of what your business is, it definitely becomes more attractive with a nice mascot to front it!

When to use mascots?

This type is perfect for companies that are targeting children as their main audience. Many restaurants and food businesses have a recognizable face to represent their brand which is very popular with the kids. I mean, what 8-year-old wouldn’t want to eat with Wendy or Ronald McDonald?

Mascots can also be very effective when it comes to making your brand more interesting. If you own a business that does complex work and want to make it more accessible towards the world, using a mascot is an excellent approach to humanize your brand and make it more appealing to your target audience. People might not fully understand what it is your company is doing, but they will know the friendly, cartoonish face in front of it!

What to consider when using mascots?

With great power comes great responsibility! Mascots are a powerful tool to make your brand look more appealing, but it is imperative that you use them the right way. If your business is somehow connected to products that could have bad consequences for children, maybe you should avoid this type. For example, if you are starting a business in the cannabis industry (a legal one of course), it might not be the best idea to use a mascot, as it could draw children towards it. Just ask the ‘late’ Joe Camel.

If used in the right direction however, mascots can help your brand become a more recognizable business fast. 

Combination Marks

Combination marks are exactly what their name suggest- a combination between a pictorial mark and a letter mark or word mark. Images and words work together to create a lasting and memorable impression of your brand. Because both elements are shown together, it is easier for your company name to be connected to the image part.

In the future, you may be able to depend just on the symbol and avoid including your name. Furthermore, because the combination of a symbol and text creates a distinct picture, these marks are typically simpler to trademark than a visual mark alone.

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Advantages

The best thing about combination marks is that they allow your brand a lot of versatility. The combination allows simple rebranding, so when your pictorial and written part start being remembered as one, it will be easier for you to transition to just using the symbol. 

With this type, you will be able to transfer your logo across mediums with ease and even use parts of it accordingly. For example, you could use just the image part on business cards or social media pictures, and people will still know what it represents. Combination marks are one of the best way to build up brand recognition.

When to use combination marks?

This type is perfect for companies that are just starting out. Because there is little knowledge about your new brand, it is important that the image and your company name work together in the beginning. After some time, your business will be able to be represented with just the pictorial part.

They're also a good choice if you want to trademark your logo since combining symbols and words will help you create a distinct picture.

What to consider when using combination marks?

It is easy to get lost in the details when there is a lot of versatility. That’s why you need to keep your design simple and on point. Trying too hard might cause a countereffect, as it will be difficult for your audience to memorize too many details about your brand. Keep in mind that the pictorial part could be used on a smaller scale, so its features need to be visible even when it is shrunk down.

Emblems

An emblem is made up of a typeface contained within a symbol or icon, usually in the form of a badge, seal, or a crest. Its components are never separated, which distinguishes them from other forms of brand marks. Because of the traditional atmosphere they create, emblems are usually used by universities or government organizations. However, they are very popular in the automobile industry as well because of their compactness.

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Advantages

Emblems are distinctive, and they offer your brand an appearance of professionalism, traditionalism, and importance. They show your target audience that you’re a serious company that is determined to be a force in your industry for a long time!

Because of their compactness, emblems are a great way to build up your brand identity. All of the features are always displayed together, which makes your business all the more memorable.

When to use emblems?

This style is ideal for companies who wish to appear credible or show their customers that they cherish traditional values. An emblem represents a classy company, achieving almost an opposite effect of what a mascot does, and attracting more serious clienteles. If you want your brand not to be taken for granted, an emblem is a perfect fit!

It is important to note that emblems look nice when they're engraved, so if you operate a business that has uniforms or clothing of any type, this may be a fantastic choice for you.

What to consider when using emblems?

Emblems can be less adaptable than the aforementioned types due to their inclination toward greater detail and the fact that the name and symbol are firmly intertwined. While this compactness can be beneficial, it is a problem when transferring your logo across other, smaller scale mediums. 

Therefore, it is crucial to not overcomplicate your emblem, as too many details will cause confusion in smaller dimensions. Keep your design simple, and you'll have a powerful, bold style that makes you look like the ultimate professional!

Dynamic Marks

Dynamic marks are a very specific logotype. Depending on what context they are used for, they change form, shape, or color to represent different branches of your business. The most common way of using dynamic marks is by changing the color depending on which part of your brand it is representing. A perfect example is the FedEx logo.

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Advantages

Dynamic marks allow you to be as creative as you want when thinking of different versions of your logo. Because there are so many ways to promote your brand (web pages or mobile sites, blogs, digital media, products, advertisements), you can customize it to match any situation or create a deluge of impressions on potential consumers. 

Using different color schemes is a good way to associate different emotions with different branches of your brand, so you can have some effect on the audience experience. Also, let’s be honest. They are just so fun!

When to use dynamic marks?

This is an excellent choice for companies in the entertainment, media, and creative industries. If your company has a lot of distinct branches, a dynamic brand with a shifting color might be a fantastic method to distinguish those sections to your consumers. Dynamic marks can be used effectively to differentiate parts of your company that are so big that they can have their own brand.

What to consider when using dynamic marks?

While dynamic marks are a good way to give more identity to parts of your business, it is important not to lose the main part that connects them. Your followers may associate your brand with your colors, while others may recall the form of your symbol; if these elements change frequently, your logo may not have the same impact as a static design. Be careful of the modifications you make and remember to always maintain your design on point.

Name-based Logos

While we previously discussed logos that use some form of image in their design, it is time to turn to a different direction. Name-based ones consist only of letters that represent the company name, monogram, or even a single letter. To establish their identity, they typically employ a bold typography and color palette.

Wordmarks

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Wordmarks or logotypes are logos that are text-based, usually representing the company name. What makes them special is that they depend on color and particular typeface to express brand identity. They are a very popular type today, as they are a great way to build up brand recognition through simplicity. Best examples include Coca Cola, Visa, or eBay.

Advantages

The main reason why companies choose this form so much is that it is crystal clear what they represent. With word marks, you can avoid any confusion about your brand identity. This also means that you don’t need to do too much in order to express what your brand is about. Choosing the right color and font should be enough for your business to be recognizable.

They are also very adaptable. Logotypes are one of the most adaptable alternatives since the design is all in text and can be readily transferred onto any marketing piece. No wonder they are used by companies who have some of the biggest marketing campaign in the world!

When to use wordmarks?

If your company's name is memorable, this is an excellent approach to capitalize on it and use it for branding purposes. Wordmarks are frequently used by high-end luxury businesses, as well as food brands and technology firms who wish to be perceived as creative. It is also a good option if you are a new business, as it gets your company name out there in its fullness. 

The strength of wordmarks lies entirely in their fonts, which means you may select a typeface whose style is very indicative of your brand's personality. While legal agencies would use a more serious font to represent their company, fashion brands would likely decide for a ‘cleaner’ font. With so many to choose from, you will definitely find a typeface that is suggestive of your business. 

What to consider when using word marks?

In order for a word mark to be recognizable, the brand name must be short and catchy, so you need to consider if your company name is suitable for this type. If it is long and it consists of multiple words, it might be a better option to choose letter marks or letterform to represent your business. 

Also, if your company is named after a person rather than an idea, it may be difficult to establish the type of brand awareness that it would assist to nurture without the use of an image.

Letter marks

Letter marks, often known as monograms, are typography-based logos that take a company's shortened initials and dress them up a little. It is utilized in place of a standard symbol, transforming a company's identity into an eye-catching image. Some of the more famous examples are IBM, NASA, or LG.

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Advantages

Today, abbreviations are very common in every-day language. Why should it be any different with logos? It is much easier for companies with longer names to use shorter version of their name. Letter marks, which use only a few letters, are helpful at streamlining any company's brand if it has a long name.

Because these shorter versions are much simpler, they are also easy to remember, which will help with your brand recognition. 

When to use letter marks?

If you have a long business name that is difficult to print on little products or read at a small scale, letter marks are a fantastic option for you. Furthermore, because monograms are generally linked with customization and money, they might be a suitable alternative for firms attempting to appeal to a high-end audience or offering handmade/handcrafted things.

What to consider when using letter marks? 

Because the emphasis is on initials, the typeface you choose (or develop) is critical, so ensure that your design is not only on-theme with what your company does, but also legible when printed on business cards. 

The simplicity should work in your favor, but make sure you're not stuck with a bland, forgettable design. Simple doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to get creative!

Letterforms 

Even more simplified versions of letter marks are letterforms. They consist only of one letter, but through their design imply what kind of company they represent. Even though there is no clear indication about the brand name, some of the most successful companies have built their image through one-letter. Think McDonalds, Beats, or WordPress.

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Advantages

Letterforms can be easily scaled. When your logo is just one letter, you can paste it everywhere and it will still look great. In addition, a well-designed letterform will unconsciously evoke the whole name of your brand in the minds of customers. 

Because you have only one letter, it will be easier to focus all of your design on it. It will also be easier for your target audience to remember the logo and associate it with your brand.

When to use letterforms?

This type is usually used when the name of the company is long and complicated. They are good way of making your brand more accessible, as it will be much easier to remember an image of just one letter that is cleverly designed.

If there is a possibility to include your product in the design of the letter, don’t hesitate to do it. Not only will it be interesting, but it will also indicate right away what your company is about.

What to consider when using a letterform?

Because this form means they are only one letter long, the design is critical; if the logo isn't remembered, it's useless. This may be a funky typeface, a dramatic backdrop, or an interesting color scheme. Anything that makes the letter stand out and resonate.

But be careful! Because you only have a letter to be understood, it needs to be in a clear and readable font. 

So there you have it! We hope that after reading this blog you have a better idea of what is the ideal logo for your project. Should you still have concerns, feel free to contact us. We'd love to hear from you!

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