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How to choose the best type of logo for your business

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Which type of logo is best for your business?

There’s a lot of pressure to create the perfect logo for your brand. After all, it’s the identifier for your business and the foundation of your brand identity, so you want to get it just right.

But which type of logo is best for your business? Let’s take a look at the options.

You can choose any of these that you want, but you need to make sure that it’s the right fit for your business.

There’s really no right or wrong type, BUT there are positives and negatives to each.

Wordmark

A wordmark is your business name written out in type. Often the type has distinctive characteristics or a special treatment applied to it that makes it unique for the brand it represents.

These work best if the name of your business is short so it’s easily readable and digestible at a glance. And if you don’t have any ideas for symbols to represent your brand, then a wordmark makes for a simpler solution.

The downside of a wordmark is that they can look generic if they’re not done well, so be sure the style of the words helps to evoke the personality of your brand, whether it’s whimsical, serious, creative, or strong.

Some big companies using wordmarks are Coca-Cola, Google, and eBay.

Lettermark

A lettermark uses the initials of the words in your business name or often just the first letter. Sometimes these are called monograms.

A lettermark is a good choice if you have a long business name because it will take up less space and fit better in certain situations.

But the downside is, until you are well known, using only initials won’t be as effective, so most likely you’ll need to also use your full name below or next to the lettermark.

Some famous lettermarks are, the McDonald’s “M”, HBO, and MAC makeup.

Combination mark

This is the most common type of logo because it combines a wordmark with a symbol.

So it makes it easy to communicate your business name while at the same time expressing an idea with a symbol or an icon. These are really great for new businesses who need to build their brand recognition.

A great benefit is that you can use the symbol on its own. For example for the favicon on your website or your social media profiles. You can also use the wordmark on its own, making a combination mark a really flexible choice.

Think about Adidas and Target. Both companies started with a combination mark, but now that they’re so well-know and their mark alone is widely recognized, they have the ability to drop their wordmark altogether.

When a symbol or icon is used alone like this, it’s called a Brandmark (or pictorial mark)
These consist of only an image or symbol with no brand name at all. Because of this, brandmarks are best for businesses that have built up a solid brand recognition — like Apple, Nike, and Twitter.

It would be risky to use only a symbol when you’re just starting out. A better idea would be to start with a combination mark and drop your brand name in certain situations like on your social media profiles, for example.

Emblem

Like the combination mark, the emblem uses both a wordmark and a symbol.

The difference is that in an emblem they are contained within a shape and the elements are never used alone — think badges and seals. Often these are circles, but you’ll see other shapes used as well.

Emblems are compact so they can fit into small spaces. The downside is that if you have long words or a lot words, in order to contain them, they’ll become small and often, too hard to read.

Harley Davidson is a great example of an emblem logo. You’ll also remember that Starbucks used to use an emblem, but in 2011 simplified their logo to only a brand mark.

You can see there’s a positive and negative to each type of logo.

A good thing to keep in mind is that your logo will need to work in both digital and physical spaces and at different sizes.
Because of this, it’s helpful to create variations — like your brand name used with and without a symbol — so that you’re prepared to show up best in any situation.

It’s important to understand that your logo is just one of the components of what makes up your brand. Wondering what else you need? Learn the 6 must-have brand elements.

Alli McAuley

Hi, I'm Alli McAuley.

I help passionate entrepreneurs, like you, create a standout brand and website so you can run a successful business online.

My ultimate goal?

To make change happen for other go-getters in pursuit of living their dream life by doing what they love.

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