The Different Types of Logo
The key points from this assignment.
- Typographic logos include wordmarks and lettermarks (monograms)
- There are also pictorial logos, abstract logos, mascots, emblems, and crests
- Combination marks feature both text and a graphic
Image credit: Morgan Richardson
In this assignment — which is mainly pictures and not words — we’ll take a look at the main different categories of logomark.
Lettermarks (also known as monograms)
Lettermarks are logos formed of the initial or initials of a name or brand name. Pictured below are the logos for IBM, the BBC, GAP, and Chanel (which uses “CC” for Coco Chanel).
Wordmarks (also known as logotypes)
Wordmarks are another typographic form of logo, but feature the whole brand name, or, in the case of FedEx, for example, a contraction of it. Here are some more examples:
The New York Times
Pictorial logos feature a graphic that is a recognisable picture of something. In the case of Target, Shell, and Apple, the picture happens to represent the name itself. However, it doesn’t have to. For example, the World Wildlife Fund’s logo is a picture of a panda bear.
Unlike pictorial logos, abstract logos tend to represent an abstract idea. For example, Nike’s “swoosh” was commissioned to represent the idea of power.
Abstract logos may also be purely abstract, intended to support recognition rather than association with a thing or an idea.
Mascots are logos featuring a character that represents the brand. The mascot might be used in wider marketing, illustration, or animation, though it doesn’t have to be.
Pringles (Julio Pringles)
KFC (Colonel Sanders)
Michelin (Michelin Man)
Planters (Mr Peanut)
Emblems and crests
For many people, emblems and crests are what come to mind as the quintessential “logo”. They typically feature graphics and/or text elements within a container, which may be crest-shaped, but can take any form.
A combination mark features both a typographic element (a lettermark or wordmark) and a graphical element (like a mascot, or a pictorial or abstract logomark).
Here are some examples:
When you’re beginning a new logo design project, it can be helpful to think about these different types of logo, and whether they might be suitable for what you’re working on.
Beginning with these different options also helps ensure that your idea generation isn’t too narrow.
In the next assignment, let’s cover a few logo design myths — and then get into the logo design process itself!
Assignment version 1.0
Last updated 7 June 2021