Marks, Brandmarks & Logomarks
A logo is a graphic element that is adopted by an entity to either represent itself, its products or its services. Logos range from literal to symbolic, pictorial to abstract, word forms to letter forms.
Logos become messengers of quality, confidence, class, exclusivity, a big idea etc. In other words, they convey ‘meaning’.
Logos are largely categorized as:
These are free-standing words or acronyms. Designs may incorporate some distinctive characteristics that imply something, perhaps a value, a statement or higher goal. Example: INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES
A Single letter used as a focal point for the brand. They are graphically distinct, putting color, typography, and creativity to use. Example: AIRBNB
Emblems are shapes which incorporate the name of the entity along with other design elements. The elements are never separated. Example: BURGER KING
Pictorial marks may be literal or symbolic and they have a strong connection to the entity. Pictorial Example: JOHNNY WALKER
Abstract marks provide intentional ambiguity. They can be symbolic or representative of some value, vision or idea. They are great for parent companies with multiple unrelated business interests. Example: HSBC
One of my personal favorites simply because of its blend of creativity and dynamism. At the very least one element of the logo is held constant while others are allowed to be fluid. Example: OCAD UNIVERSITY
As brands look to secure real estate on smaller screens, having a logo that’s adaptable yet recognizable has become a necessity. Not all brands are capable of easy replication.
This is especially true when it comes to app icons, social thumbnails, browser tabs etc. That’s why brands with space limitations have adopted secondary logos that are more suitable.
The challenge is to maintain elements in the logo that leave a clear trail to the original. Example: NORDSTROM
You could go about creating a logo yourself, forming an internal committee, or soliciting the help of an outside agency. You could spend almost nothing to millions of dollars to create a mark that represents your brand.
However, no matter what you achieve as a consequence, your logo remains ordinary unless real ‘meaning’ is infused into it. That gets established over time by an appropriate brand strategy.
Even a brand like Nike started out with a logo nobody understood. Today, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t. The same goes for brands like Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and a host of others that people have come to recognize and comprehend.