Choosing a business logo – a guide to different styles
Your logo symbolises your business. If you’re lucky, it will become instantly recognisable – like the Nike ‘swoosh’ or Google.
Whether you’re rebranding or setting up a new company, it’s something you will think about carefully. A good graphic design team will work closely with you to develop the perfect image, but you’ll need to have some idea about what you want in order to brief them properly.
To help you, we’ve put together a guide to the main types of logo you might want to consider. They’re all a combination in some way of words and pictures, but each style will bring a slightly different feel to your business.
Simplicity is often key, and using the initials of your business as your logo might be the right thing for you – especially if your full company name is lengthy.
Think of IBM or NASA – both are much catchier and easier to remember than International Business Machines and National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
If you’re using letters only, the font you choose is of paramount importance – it needs to give the right impression and be in keeping with what your company does. It also needs to be a typeface that is easily legible on business cards or other printed materials.
Similar to the letter mark, these are based on a business name. Coca-Cola and PayPal are both good examples of strong typography and instant brand recognition.
The font you choose is again key to sending out the right message. High-end fashion labels such as Giorgio Armani, for example, choose a clean, elegant type that suggests luxury and exclusivity, while legal or educational businesses are more likely to go for traditional fonts that say they are serious and trustworthy.
Word marks are great if you have a distinctive name that will stick in people’s minds, but are best avoided if for those that are lengthy.
- For both these types of logo, your business name simply written in a particular font is unlikely to be distinctive enough to convey your brand, which is where your graphic designer can really add value. Their eye for detail means they’ll develop your logo so that it really captures your brand.
We’re all familiar with these – the symbols and icons that represent some of our best-known brands.
The Apple apple and Twitter bird are just two examples of those who are instantly identifiable by their image alone.
This makes it tricky for new businesses to pull off as it’s something that only comes with time as you become better-known. It’s also a major decision as, if you’re serious about being recognised in this way, you’re choosing an image that will be with your company for ever.
Rather than a recognisable picture, such as the Twitter bird, this is a different kind of design – think of the Pepsi circle or the Adidas flower.
Abstracts give you the freedom to choose something unique to represent your business, unrestricted by ‘proper’ images.
This is where a good graphic designer is essential as they understand how colour, shape and structure will work together effectively.
Think of KFC’s Colonel, or the Coco Pops monkey – a mascot is just an illustrated character that represents your company. They’re not suitable for all businesses, but if you’re trying to appeal to families or children, they can work well.
They’re especially great for encouraging customers to interact with you through your marketing campaigns, both on and offline, but might not be suitable for use across all your printed marketing materials.
A badge or crest-type logo is often popular with official organisations, the automotive industry and educational institutions. They are classic and authoritative, but if they are too intricate they can be difficult to replicate across all your branding – you want something that will be as clear and readable on a small business card as on a banner advert.
There’s nothing to stop you combining these logo types if that suits your purpose – Burger King features both a word mark and pictorial mark in its logo, for instance. There’s plenty of scope for great design in the layout, and it’s a good way of getting people to associate your name with a particular image.
Once you’ve got an idea of the kind of logo you’d like, you can collaborate with your graphic design service so that they develop your initial thoughts into a visual brand identity that will serve your business well throughout its existence.