Branding Design

7 Types of Logos & Why I Design Them

As a designer, I’ve created a variety of logos over the years. Different projects call for different design solutions. Depending on the brand, the type of logo I end up designing varies. The logo is the brand’s visual cue. That cue will be different than others in design but may also be different in the category of logo utilized. A logo can typically fit in a particular classification of logos. Let’s look at some examples from my own portfolio.

An Iconic Mark

Example(s): Shypsi (pronounced SHY-PSI)

Like the Jordan Jumpman and the Nike swoosh, I like logos that are minimalist but impactful. This type of logo typically works for brands that want something their audience can easily recognize and draw themselves. If your audience can draw your mark from memory, that is a very good sign for your brand. This type of logo is also useful for brands that might need their mark to work in a variety of colors on a variety of products. Shypsi Creative was the first name I came up with for my freelance design side. I wanted something simple but mine, easily attached to various things.

A Wordmark

Example(s): Pawnee (word) 

A wordmark is when you want the name of your brand to take center stage. It can be simply your name written in a particular font or a custom design unique to your brand name. The Pawnee wordmark is a part of a larger brand identity project I came up with in tribute to the TV show Parks & Recreation. I custom made each letter in Adobe Illustrator. 


Example(s): Stroll City Strivers, Young Professionals of Stillwater

The monogram is the bringing of letters together in a stylish way to represent your brand. Acronyms, abbreviations, and the initials of an individual or a company flourish in this type of logo. The Stroll City Strives monogram was my attempt to give my fantasy football team a classic mark to complement the more modern main logo. The Young Professionals of Stillwater is often referred to as simply YPS so it made sense to have a mark that represented that. “Young Professionals of Stillwater” has a lot of letters and isn’t as versatile at various sizes as the YPS mark.


Example(s): Dudley H.S. Band of Thunder, Bratcher Sports & Education

Working our way down from full words and abbreviations, we have arrived at the letterform. This is where you distill your brand mark to a single letter. Make sure you make your letter stand out. The letterform is the most scalable of the trilogy. The D for the Dudley High School Band of Thunder actually has a hidden bass clef with the very visible lightning bolt in the middle to represent thunder. The B for Bratcher Sports & Education uses the lines to reference a basketball. My own personal Creative Bobbie logo is a hand drawn lowercase B that I wanted to use as my signature.


Example(s): Dudley H.S. Band of Thunder

The mascot logo is much more involved and not minimalist at all but is appropriate at times. Commonly seen in the sports marketing industry, it can also be used for more personal brands where the individual is the brand. That is the case with my design for Knockoutness. The Dudley H.S. mascot is the panther so I drew a custom one in Illustrator, complete with musical references throughout. This type is for when there is a character/person you want your audience to attach to your brand.

An Emblem

Example(s): National Headquarters of Kappa Kappa Psi & Tau Beta Sigma, Beyonce University, Pawnee (seal)

The emblem logo is typically a seal or crest that represents the brand in a more regal, professional, and traditional manner. Many soccer/football clubs use emblems, which you can see in my Fiction City Football League project. I obviously have a lot of experience with crests, working for Kappa Kappa Psi & Tau Beta Sigma. These examples use many elements similar to those found at universities and government organizations.


Example(s): Lamik’s Videos

The combo mark is for when you want the best of both worlds. You want an image that represents you but you also want the name of the brand featured. This allows you to walk your audience through the connect between your brand name and the image. Eventually, they may be able to recognize your brand through the image itself. This gives you multiple elements to work with. Lamik’s Videos is an example of that where the VHS band tape is accompanied by the brand name.

When approaching a branding project, analyze your market, your goals, and your brand itself to see which one of these would work best for you. How will your logo best stand the test of time and be recognizable to your target audience? Do you need multiple types underneath a larger visual brand identity system / strategy?

Choose wisely.