Unit 11: Intro to Photoshop
Unit 12: Design Accessibility
Unit 13: Product Design Thinking
Unit 14: User Experience Design
Unit 16: Introduction to Design Portfolios
Unit 17: Portfolio Development
Unit 18: Personal Branding
Unit 19: Case Studies
Unit 20: Portfolio Website Design
Unit 21: Career Coaching
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Types of Logos and How To Use Them

Types of logos header image

Regardless of how you design a logo, be it with a logo maker or a freelance designer, you should know which type of logo best fits your brand before you start the design process.

While a great logo combines many elements – font, images, color palette, etc.), these elements will only make a cohesive balance if you are clear about the type of logo you want to create.

There are two main logo categories: Image or icon-based logos and name-based logos. However, nine types of logos fit into these groups, and in this post, we will break them down for you.

Image-Based Logos

Icon-based logos use images in order to send a message about the brand they’re representing. Let’s check out the 4 different types: 

1. Brand Marks

Brand marks

Brand marks – or pictorial marks – are logos that are made up of a graphic symbol or icon, one that (usually) represents a real-world object. We’re talking a logo icon that’s simple and straightforward, like the outline of a tree or a coffee mug. This object could tell the story of what your company does – think Youtube’s play button – or maybe play with your company name.

Advantages of a brand mark:

Brand marks are clean-cut and easy to remember. If you offer a specific service, an image representing that will send a quick, clear message to your audience.

Also, the simplicity of the design will translate well when resizing your logo across branding materials like business cards or letterheads.

When to use a brand mark:

Is there one thing your business does really, really well? The Twitter brand mark is well-suited because it’s a bird, which instantly reminds people that the company tweets. If your business already has some traction, and/or if you specialize in one product or one service that can easily be represented by an image, then a brand mark could be a great choice for you. 

Or, if, like Apple, your business name represents a real-world object, then you could also use a brand mark of that same object. 

What to consider before using a brand mark:

Tread cautiously if you’re a new business or don’t yet have many followers. While a brand mark is often the hallmark of companies that could be considered iconic, you need to first be established enough to be recognized. Otherwise, your logo may not communicate enough about you to your audience, and they’ll lose interest in your brand.

Also, bear in mind that if you’re planning on expanding your product line to a few diverse objects, your logo may misrepresent what you do.

Inspiration: The Rolling Stones, Apple, Twitter, Target, Royal Dutch Shell 

2. Abstract Logo Marks

abstract logo marks

Abstract logos are your conceptual, think-about-the-big-picture logos.

Like brand marks, an abstract logo consists of just a symbol – but one that is tailor-made for you. This type of image doesn’t necessarily mimic an object that exists in real life; rather, it’s a unique logo that’s designed to express something specific about your brand.

Advantages of abstract logos:

There’s room to play with these designs, because you can create a logo that really communicates your values or something about your brand that you’d like to emphasize.

Because an abstract logo isn’t restricted to a real-world object or image, there’s a lot of wiggle room to say what you want about your company. 

When to use an abstract logo: 

If you’re a business that does several distinct things, a well-thought out abstract mark may be the perfect logo for you! Abstract designs are great for communicating brand values or something else that you want to distinguish about your business. 

The Chase logo, for example, is able to represent forward motion, while simultaneously symbolizing the different parts of the bank itself. 

You can also do well with a simple abstract logo if you’re planning on doing the bulk of your branding online, because simple designs will translate well regardless of the logo size. 

What to consider before using an abstract logo:

You’ll want to make sure that you refine the logo design until you’re sure you’re conveying the intended message to the world. Attention to detail is crucial with abstract logo marks, and you don’t want your message to be misconstrued with a logo design that’s too vague or hard to understand. Notice how the Nike logo is easily recreatable from memory? 

Also, a logo with excessive detail in the design may not look the way you want when printed at different resolutions; therefore, consult with a logo designer that understands how fonts, colors and shapes interact.

Inspiration: Airbnb, Pepsi, Microsoft, Nike, Chase 

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