Style matters – choosing the right logo style for your brand

Cecily Kellogg

The late director/actor Orson Welles once said, “Create your own visual style… let it be unique to yourself and yet identifiable for others.” When considering a design style for your corporate logo, you may want to use these words as a milepost — especially when you consider how easy it can be to get lost in the many design choices available today. Here we’ll review the basic logo style types to help you select the most effective one for your brand.

A successful business logo must not only be memorable, reproducible, and versatile enough for all formats (from print to mobile), it must state clearly and distinctly who you are as a brand. Sounds daunting, but don’t get discouraged. Let’s break it down using a few basic examples.



Design by :: scott ::

Everyone recognizes the Google logo. The combination of bright colors and bookish font say a lot about what Google does. Wordmark logo styles such as this rely on typographic treatment with few (if any) illustrative elements to make a clear statement about a brand.
When choosing the right style for your brand, wordmark style logos have the advantage of simplicity and can push a fun, interesting, or catchy name to the forefront of the marketplace.



Design by goreta

Lettermark designs use acronyms, initials, or abbreviations and rely on typography rather than illustration to reinforce brand identity. One example is the CSX logo. When the Chessie System and Seaboard Coastline railroads merged, they needed a corporate logo that embraced both companies. As the story goes, a placeholder was needed for legal documents before any logo could be created, so someone came up with CSX (C for Chessie, S for Seaboard, and X for the intersection of the two). The name stuck, and now can be seen in bold yellow lettering on an entire fleet of blue locomotives. Lettermark logos are ideal when the full brand name is either long or cumbersome, or when you need to link subsidiaries to a parent brand.



Design by binggolaz

One bold, simple illustrative element can say a lot about a company. The “bitten apple” of Apple computers is instantly recognized worldwide, yet contains no typographic elements. Brandmark logos are perfect when you want an internationally discernible design that is easily transferred to any format. But make your choice carefully—customers need to associate the logo (and the style) with your product or service. The Nike “swoosh” is a great example of a brandmark that uses implied motion to communicate athleticism and speed.



Design by mikael_kmd

You may find that the best style for your brand is a hybrid—falling between a brandmark and wordmark style. Using both typographic and illustrative elements, iconic designs can create a mini-narrative about your brand. The elements can be used together or separately, depending on the medium. The read and white bullseye of Target stores is one example. The bullseye is an effective brand identifier, with or without the word “Target.” Iconic designs also have the advantage of offering a more varied concept palette.

Whatever the logo style you select, be creative! Remember that in addition to being bold, unique, and reproducible, your logo must be communicative of your brand’s strengths.

The elements — typographic and illustrative — will set the tone of communication between you and your prospective clients. Look at your brand assets — stability, inventiveness, action, cohesiveness, interconnectedness, timeliness — and choose the style that best expresses both you and your brand.

In need of a stylish logo? Launch your logo design contest today!


The author

Cecily Kellogg
Cecily Kellogg

Cecily Kellogg became an accidental designer when she worked at a short-handed non-profit and although she now prefers designing with words, the lessons she learned from doing graphic design make her work in content development more well-rounded. She writes about the intersection of family, technology, and social media for Babble Tech and runs her own web content business. She is also known for her raw tone and humor on various social media platforms including her own blog, Uppercase Woman. Cecily lives in the Philadelphia area, is happily married, is mom to a fierce and amazing daughter, and has occasionally been called a bad ass.

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