Monogram logos or lettermarks are logos that consist of letters, usually brand initials. IBM, CNN, HP, HBO… Noticing a pattern, yes? They’re the initialisms of a few famous businesses with rather lengthy names. With 2 or 3 words to remember, they’ve each turned to using their initials for brand-identification purposes. So it makes perfect sense for them to use monograms—sometimes called lettermark logos—to represent their organizations.
A lettermark is a typography-based logo that’s comprised of a few letters, usually a company’s initials. The lettermark is all about simplicity. By utilizing just a few letters lettermark logos are effective at streamlining any company brand if they have a long name. For example, how much easier is it to say—and remember—NASA versus the National Aeronautics and Space Administration?
Similar to a lettermark, a wordmark or logotype is a font-based logo that focuses on a business’ name alone. Think Visa and Coca-Cola. Wordmark logos work really well when a company has a succinct and distinct name. Google’s logo is a great example of this. The name itself is catchy and memorable so, when combined with strong typography, the logo helps create strong brand recognition.
A pictorial mark (sometimes called brand mark or logo symbol) is an icon—or graphic-based logo. It’s probably the image that comes to mind when you think “logo”: the iconic Apple logo, the Twitter bird, the Target bullseye. Each of these companies’ logos is so emblematic, and each brand so established, that the mark alone is instantly recognizable. A true brand mark is only an image. Because of this, it can be a tricky logo type for new companies, or those without strong brand recognition, to use.
An abstract mark is a specific type of pictorial logo. Instead of being a recognizable image—like an apple or a bird—it’s an abstract geometric form that represents your business. A few famous examples include the BP starburst-y logo, the Pepsi divided circle and the strip-y Adidas flower. Like all logo symbols, abstract marks work really well because they condense your brand into a single image. However, instead of being restricted to a picture of something recognizable, abstract logos allow you to create something truly unique to represent your brand.
A mascot is simply an illustrated character that represents your company. Think of them as the ambassador for your business. Famous mascots include the Kool-Aid Man, KFC’s Colonel and Planter’s Mr. Peanut. Mascots are great for companies that want to create a wholesome atmosphere by appealing to families and children. Think of all those mascots at sporting events and the great dynamic they create by getting involved with the audience!
Because a name is associated with the image, a combination mark is a versatile choice, with both the text and icon or mascot working together to reinforce your brand. With a combination mark, people will also begin to associate your name with your pictorial mark or mascot right away! In the future, you may be able to rely exclusively on a logo symbol, and not have to always include your name. Also, because the combination of a symbol and text creates a distinct image together, this type of logo is usually easier to trademark than a pictorial mark alone.
An emblem logo consists of font inside a symbol or an icon; think badges, seals and crests. These logos tend to have a traditional appearance about them that can make a striking impact, thus they are often the go-to choice for many schools, organizations or government agencies. The auto industry is also very fond of emblem logos. While they have a classic style, some companies have effectively modernized the traditional emblem look with logo designs fit for the 21st century (think of Starbucks’ iconic mermaid emblem, or Harley-Davidson’s famous crest).
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