What type of logo should you have?
Most brands want an identifiable icon. They picture everyone recognizing them like the Starbucks Siren, the McDonalds Golden Arches or the Nike Swoosh. Is there only one way to create an identity that’s memorable for your organization? Absolutely not.
First let’s define the types of logos there are. You’re probably aware of these from seeing these types of logos, but defining the difference between each might be new for you.
These include the Apple logo, the Nike Swoosh and the AT&T Globe. These are literal or abstract representations of a brand and what it means.
If you have a name that lends itself towards a really strong visual representation, then an icon or combination mark is a great consideration for you. An icon is probably the most desired direction, but you need to be careful if you go down this path. If your icon doesn’t have any meaning, or it’s not explained in a sentence then you’re forcing it. As we say around here, that’s choosing stupid. The other problem with icons is most brands don’t have the equity in the minds of their communities to be known for just a symbol. It has cost Nike probably billions to own a strong enough position where people know it’s Nike just from the swoosh. In the case of most small businesses and nonprofits, we actually make it harder for people to know our name by just using a symbol for our brand.
This direction creates a symbol using the first letters from your name. You’ll see this used a lot when the name might be really long, hard to pronounce or hard to remember. The initials are used to create a symbol that, in some cases, makes it easier to create brand recognition. GE, IBM, HP and Chanel all use letter marks. This is also the route we went with for Circle Fifty, using C50.
The dangerous path with this direction is it’s easily confused with another company using the same initials. If you want to go down this path, I suggest you are able to own domains using the combination. If you use initials but your domain name is your full name, you may not be found as easily. The other exception is to create your logo as a combination mark like we’ve done for Circle Fifty. We also own C50creative.com as well, so we followed the rules we set for our clients.
This type of logo is your organization or brand name used in a uniquely styled font. This isn’t as simple as just picking a font and typing it in your Word document and calling it your logo. Most professionally designed wordmarks have been carefully typeset, which means the spacing, the relationship between the letters and the overall tone the font creates has been carefully created. Some good examples of this are Disney, Fedex, Dell and Ray Ban.
It can be a bit of an uphill battle with a client when we try to move them towards a wordmark logo because, for some reason, they think it means less effort in creating their identity. It’s actually the simplest form of a logo design; therefore, it requires the hardest work to create something that will stand strong and recognizable for the brand. Don’t be afraid to go with an amazing typography driven logo. The beauty of this is your name is always in front of people, and it keeps the design clean for other brand collateral.
4. Combination Marks
This is a combination of a wordmark and an icon to make one logo. In most cases, the icon and wordmark are created to stand strong together as well as individually for certain uses. This includes brands such as Adidas, Sprint and Reebok.
If our clients really want an icon, I suggest they go with a combination mark that includes the full name and a symbol. I give them the freedom to use the symbol by itself internally in their buildings and with their staff. This is fine because people arriving at your destination know the name when they arrive, and it builds equity in the symbol when they experience it alone in that environment. However, for anything that goes out into the public, we encourage them not to separate the name and the symbol. Before being known for your symbol, it’s more important to be known for your name. Don’t complicate it.
At the end of the day, your logo isn’t everything, but it’s an essential component of all Brilliant Brands™.
Don’t look to another brand to decide what’s right for you. Wear a logo that fits you and create an identity that is memorable.
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