In the field of logo design, you will find that most logos consist of lettering, often called a logotype, and a symbol or icon called a logomark. But what do these terms mean? What are the differences between a logotype and a logomark?
A logotype refers to words or the name of a business that is designed in a special way. Examples include Pinterest, eBay, Yahoo, Coca-Cola or Google.
A logomark is an identifying mark or symbol that doesn’t contain the business name. Think of the Nike ‘tick’, Shell, WWF, Mercedes or Adidas for examples.
When people talk about logo design, they are usually thinking about logotypes because of the name. It is possible to display the logo in a pre-existing font or else it can be customised to suit the specific needs of a company. On occasion, logotypes may be made from geometric shapes with abstract letterforms to give off a certain effect. There may also be corporate identity elements such as Pantone colours and white space around the logo.
You don’t necessarily need to use a symbol or icon to be effective, and that is the idea behind logotypes. When it is done correctly, using only typography to create a logo can be an extremely effective branding weapon. What normally happens is that this form of logo uses a special typeface and letter styling, which becomes associated with a brand.
If you wish to see examples of great logotypes, click here.
Designing a Logotype
Whether you intend to design your own logo or get a professional logo designer involved, there are a few simple rules to follow:
- Logos must be designed in a vector application such as Adobe Illustrator, not Photoshop! The reason for this is that the logo needs to be scalable without losing its quality. It should be crisp regardless of whether it is printed on a tiny business card or a giant billboard.
- It is important that the logo can be reproduced in a single colour such as black or white while still being recognisable. Imagine how the logo will look on a newspaper advert or reversed out of a dark background.
- Your logo will be reproduced in various sizes and you may need it to be as small as a postage stamp to fit on stationery. Make sure that text and fine lines are still legible when the logo design is scaled down.
- While it is good to experiment with colours, it is best to keep a limited colour palette if possible. Specify corporate colours with CMYK or Pantone references to ensure correct colour reproduction once the logo is printed.
Designers will tell you that logomarks are more ‘abstract’ than their logotype brethren, as they are symbols and they don’t necessarily sit next to the brand name. Companies such as Apple have successfully used a logomark as their corporate symbol. The silver apple with the missing ‘bite’ has become inseparable with the brand over the years.
Do You Need a Logomark?
The type of business you are involved in can dictate whether you need both a logotype and logomark. It should be noted that adding a logomark could add to your brand development process, so your budget could be the deciding factor.
If you are a small business, you could start with a simple yet adaptable logo and add a mark once the company expands and gains a broader market or narrower focus.
One of the best reasons to use a logomark is to enhance brand identity. It is an excellent method of helping customers to identify and understand what your brand is about. This is especially the case if your brand happens to be a pictorial representation. An example of this would be a photography agency having a camera symbol as part of the logo design.
Logomarks can act as graphic elements on signs, stationery, adverts and merchandise. Indeed, a logomark can often be more identifiable than a logotype, as is shown by the Apple logo.
What Makes An Effective Logomark?
Why do certain logomarks stand out while others fade into obscurity? Here is what you need to create a memorable logomark that makes your brand explode into life:
Uniqueness: This goes without saying because each company has its own set of values, ideas and characteristics. Your logomark needs to reflect the unique essence of your organisation and align with its distinct personality.
Meaning: A great logo design tells a story and connects the mission and history of the brand in some way, shape or form. For instance, the famous Mercedes logomark, which is a three-pointed star, is a representation of vehicles on land, in the air and at sea. As Mercedes has evolved, the logo is now associated with elegance and luxury.
Memorable: The whole point of any logo is to create a brand recognition that connects the customer to your company. A logo should be the entry point to your brand while the brand itself is the ‘experience’.
Flexible: Given the changing face of technology and the increasing demands from customers, your logo design needs to be adaptable. This means it should be legible in any size, work well across all media and look good in black and white.
Regardless of whether you choose a logomark, logotype or both, the key is to choose a professional graphic designer to complete the project. A well-designed logo can help your business stand out, gain customer loyalty and have a competitive edge. If that’s something you are interested in, be sure to request a quote today!