What makes a good company logo?

By Andrew Baxter

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Graphic design Opinion

Choosing the right kind of logo for your business is an integral part of building a strong business or organisation and is essential in creating a strong brand identity.

Well constructed and thought out logos create an excellent base for brand recognition.

The foundations in creating a brand should come from the values, beliefs and functions of the business. A logo is the visual representation of these values, beliefs and functions as this is generally the first point of recognition for your clients.

A design team may approach your logo with several different kinds of logos in mind. These can be loosely grouped into the following three categories:

1. Word mark

Generally speaking this is the most preferred option for a logo, especially if your brand isn't well established. Word marks are uniquely styled logos, which are exclusively typographic and spell the brand name or company out.

Examples of this type of logo include Coca Cola, Sony and FedEx.

The Coca Cola, Sony and FedEx logo

2. Symbol/Icon (Pictorial/Abstract/Letter mark)

A symbol, whether it's pictorial, abstract or a letter mark, creates an easily recognisable motif. Usually, the ideas behind the logo are complex, but the logo represents the brand in its simplest form.

Examples of recognisable pictorial symbol logos include Apple, WWF and Penguin Books.

The Apple, WWF and Penguin logo

Abstract symbol logo designs are usually influenced by nonfigurative influences. Examples include Nike, BP and Adidas.

The Nike, Shell and Adidas logo

Letter marks are probably the most simple and easily memorable symbolic logos as generally there isn't anything arbitrary about the design. These types of logos are usually favoured over other types of symbolic logo as they can easily graphically illustrate the company better than the full name, especially if the company name is difficult to pronounce or if it's not very distinct.

Examples include McDonalds, Hewlett-Packard and Calvin Klein.

The McDonald's, HP and Calvin Klein logo

3. Combination Mark (Traditional/ Emblem)

A traditional combination mark occurs when a word mark is coupled with a symbol. Logos that use combination marks are commonly flexible and aid towards a more interesting brand identity. Examples include Jaguar, British Gas and National Trust.

The Jaguar, British Gas and Natural Trust logo

Emblem combination marks are similar to traditional combination marks. However, they rely heavily on the typography within the encasing emblem since without the typography the logo is generally unrecognisable. Examples include UPS, Lego and Harley Davidson.

The UPS, Lego and Harley Davidson logo

There are a lot of different choices that need to be made in order to help build a strong foundation for your brand identity. Ultimately, a good brand design agency will work with you to understand your company and will choose the appropriate logotype based on the values, beliefs and functions of your business.

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