A logo is the starting point of your whole corporate image. There are different types of logos and each varies in its design process and complexity. One must know about those types to develop a unique identity for your business. Below, I have sorted the logos into 7 different categories to help you understand it better –
"A brandmark logo is a simple but strong graphical symbol often an abstract design that represents the company, product or service even when it appears without the brand name. For example, the ‘Bullseye’ of Target Corporation, the Nike ‘Swoosh' and the ‘Bitten’ logo of Apple Inc. are few famous brandmarks.
A wordmark logo is either a plain or a stylized typeface that spells out the company name or the brand name in a simple and straightforward way. For example, Nokia Corporation uses a bold, simple typeface for their brandmark whereas Ray-Ban and Tropicana Products use stylized typefaces.
A lettermark logo is the textual acronym for a business entity with a lengthy name that represents the company through the use of its initials. For example, International Business Machines Corporation, Hewlett-Packard Company and Cable News Network use IBM, HP and CNN as their lettermarks, respectively.
An illustrative logo is a simple or detailed drawing with or without the corporate name that effectively take the overall visual identity of the brand into consideration. For example, Nestlé S.A. uses an illustration of a nest on an oak branch with a thrush and her chicks, the Quaker Oats Company uses an illustration of the ‘Quaker Man’ as their logo and the Versace logo shows a representation of the head of Medusa.
A character logo is an exclusive character with or without the corporate name that often defines the purpose of an organization and interprets their cause and mission. For example, the Kellogg Company uses a character logo popularly known as ‘Mr. Pringles’ for their snack brand Pringles, a simple black and white Giant Panda character is seen to serve the need of a strong recognizable symbol of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) uses a stylized caricature of Colonel Sanders as their logo.
A combination logo or combination mark is the combination of a symbol, illustration or character and a wordmark or lettermark that draws direct correlation between its visual message and company's products and services. ‘Mr. Pringles’ is also a good example of combination mark where the character and text is integrated together. Besides, AT&T Inc., Taco Bell, Wella etc. have chosen combination marks as their logos.
An emblem is a design shaped like a seal, badge, shield or insignia that encases the company or brand name within the pictorial element and embodies the company through the use of that combined treatment. For example, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) uses a significant seal, Harley-Davidson Inc uses the very famous ‘Bar & Shield’ logo and Cadillac uses an insignia called ‘Wreath & Crest’.
The above 7 types are industry standard from which you can choose to build your brand identity on. You may even use more than one type for your logo. For example, Calvin Klein Inc. uses both Wordmark and Lettermark for its products.
Unilever has a great meaningful lettermark which often comes with a wordmark.
The blue lettermark consists of 24 icons intricately woven together to form a U. Obviously the ‘U’ stands for Unilever. But each icon also represents something important to the company. Find out what they mean on the Unilever website.
The Mitsubishi Group has a very popular brandmark as well as a less popular wordmark.
Android has a standalone character logo (Android robot) as well as an attractive wordmark (Android logo).
Android doesn’t allow developers to use its wordmark or the custom typeface used in the wordmark whereas the Android robot was released to the developer community without any brand guidelines as an open source logo. The little green robot became a very popular mascot within days. It is being used, reproduced and modified freely in marketing communications by millions of people every day. These types of logos are called dynamic logos.
A dynamic logo changes over time from setting to setting and can be presented in many different contexts. It even can gain more popularity than the brand it represents. Think of the GEICO Gecko, Tony the Tiger, Bibendum, Tux, Doughboy or Fido Dido. You immediately recognize the respective companies when you see these popular mascots even with no mention of their company or brand name. Therefore, dynamic logos or mascots are very common in the corporate world for soft selling a product or service.