A powerful logo tells your business’ story in an instant. From big corporations to neighborhood shops, businesses with distinctive logos get noticed, get remembered and are more trusted by consumers. But not just any old symbol will do — your logo must reflect what makes your business special. Whether you’re refreshing your logo or designing a new one from scratch, the possibilities are vast. While there are countless designs in the marketplace, business logos are divided into four types:
1. Wordmark logo
A wordmark logo design highlights the name of your business. Brands like Coca-Cola and Google are famous examples of this design. Inventive typographic treatments and colors make the business name stand out. This style is often appropriate for businesses whose names describe what they do or who are focused on building recognition for their name.
2. Lettermark logo
Similar to a wordmark logo, lettermark logos represent an abbreviated business name. If the business has a long or complicated title, sometimes the logo is an acronym or shortened version. For example, FedEx uses the first few letters of “Federal Express” in its logo. Lettermarks work best for companies that have sufficient existing brand recognition and can afford the time it may take to educate consumers on what the lettermark means.
3. Brandmark logo
A brandmark logo uses symbols instead of letters. These logos use a strong graphic, which is often abstract, to highlight an aspect of the product or service the business sells. Companies like Target, Apple and Snapchat use brandmarks. These designs work best for companies that are already recognizable and don’t need text to explain who they are.
4. Iconic logo
An iconic logo combines a wordmark and brandmark. Also referred to as combination logos, iconic designs include the name of the business alongside a graphic. Imagine Pepsi, NBC or Amazon. Although some of the most-recognized logos in the world are iconic logotypes, this form of logo can actually work well for startups and small businesses with tight budgets, whose name may be distinctive but not yet widely recognized.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2018. It has been updated for accuracy and relevance.