Best Logo Design Tactics for Branding
Let me begin with some clarifications on the differences between the two terms “branding” and “logo”. The logo should be the primary identifier for a business. It is not the brand. It’s not all that necessary that a logo explains what an organization does either. It is most important that a logo mark leave a visual flag to identify it’s business. It is very important that once a logo becomes recognizable that it speaks to the persona of the organization it represents. And that it is fully connected too, with the overall personality of the brand.
So then what is a brand you ask? Well, the term had originated as a way for ranchers to identify their livestock and today the word “Branding” essentially takes on that same rudimentary definition. Identity systems are carefully crafted by today’s leading product makers in partnership with advertising agencies to set themselves apart in the public arena. Branding success is met when a well-refined persona is established. This personality shapes the perception of an audience. Large agencies often tend to strategically excel at this. But even the smallest of businesses can too witness branding success, through following these same proven principles of brand development.
A brand is “the intangible sum of a product’s attributes.” as stated by David Ogilvy, known as the “Father of Advertising”. So what are a few branding components? A consistent color palette would be a vital branding component. Another subtle component would be the consistent use of typography, in headlines as well as other text. In brochures, advertisements, business cards, and banners. Apple did this very successfully in the 80’s, always using the same font Adobe Garamond. Thus allowing their messaging to be consistently recognized throughout all mediums of their advertising campaigns. The tone and demeanor in which a brand speaks can be as divisive as its visual characteristics. Positioning is another extension of one’s brand. What does our business want to be affiliated with? What action does it serve in the community? All of these factors are molded through every single point of interaction with the audience. Branding is an ability to craft a very specific narrative of what you want the customer’s perception to be.
What type of Logo is most fitting for my company?
Logos come in many visual formats. Some do not include any icon or graphic at all. A few examples would be Google, Disney, NASA, Coca-Cola, and Visa. These logotypes are known as Wordmarks. Also called a logotype.
Wordmark Logo Designs
The most common logo is the wordmark, and a great deal of branding success occurs using this logo format. The type only treatment is more commonly found used by companies with short names. However, if a business name has two words, the logo can be stacked.
Wordmark logos are easily adaptable across so many mediums (Mediums are various placements such as billboards, business cards, television commercials). To simply use a font straight out of the box would be foolish as it could easily be infringed upon. So the strategy is to develop custom typography that essentially speaks to the persona of that specific brand.
If the company’s name is rather lengthy, a lettermark logo may be the best choice. Lettermark logos are also called Monogram logos.
A lettermark logo doesn’t always have to be a lengthy company name as seen in the above GUCCI Logo. If there is an opportunity to produce something with a cool factor to it, then the monogram method may be suiting. But, NASA versus the National Aeronautics and Space Administration can certainly embark upon more successful logo design. Another perfect example would be Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing, also known as 3M
A lettermark logo will usually have one to four letters. Those letters are usually a company’s initials or first letters. In examples such as McDonald’s. The first letter only can become a very identifiable lettermark logo.
A lettermark logo such as the Hewlett Packard logo is fitting for when a placement is so small or restrained that it lends itself to that constraint. However, a newly established business will not be able to use this method until the brand has fully developed.
Emblem logos are a unison of words and imagery. Specifically when the wording entangles within the artwork. Another term for the emblem logo can be the “Logo Patch” style.
A primary distinction found in this logo format is that the type cannot be separated from the overall design. Emblems have stood the test of time and usually contain vintage characteristics. However, this is not always the case. For example, the Burger King logo seen here contains a very modern feel to its embodiment. But for the most part, these logotypes communicate traditional characteristics. This logo format was a madly popular standard in logo development at the turn of the century.
These types of logos are great for “Event” promotions as well as University Symbols or icons. A drawback to the emblem logo is that they can sometimes be a little more complicated and not simplistic leaving a lack of memory traction. On the flip side of this opinion, they also give an impression of tradition.
A drawback to the detailed format of an emblem logo design is that you might run into issues with visual clarity on various placements. When sized down for business cards and social media icons they can certainly lose their gusto. Hence the reason this logo has become somewhat of a dinosaur in today’s branding realm.
Icon or Brandmark Logo
There are many terms for this type of logo. Such as “Pictorial Mark”, “Logo Mark”, “Symbolic Logo” or “Logo Symbol”. Simply described it is a stand-alone symbol in the format of an abstract shape that represents a company.
Some of the largest companies in the world use these logotypes. You are counting on your customer base and everyone else to remember who you are without any words or initials. A brandmark logo design is a logo construct that does not include the company’s name. This kind of logo boldly connects with its customer base trusting that they will know the company without any name being displayed. Therefore it is not a strong method of brand development for an up and coming business.
If you are drawn to the concept of a brandmark logo design but skeptical of success due to it being a stand alone graphics. Give careful consideration to a combination of logo design. The icon can then be used as a standalone object for certain placements, such as a social media profile picture.
This logo can be a combination of any of the above-described methods. One strength found within a combination logo mark is that they’re adaptable. The icon can be separated and used individually (social media profile photos or website avatars) or vice versa the type can be pulled out for stand-alone use. (As an example compare the Walt Disney logo seen here, to that one above located within the Wordmark Logo section)
The combination logo is the most common type of logo because it combines the power and recognition of a symbolic icon with the company name. Many brands often have several versions of their combination logo. This will allow a logo to adapt to various space constraints. For example, Dunkin Donuts has an option with the graphic icon on top and another to the side for an ability to adapt to multiple placements.
The Responsive logo, a close cousin of the combination logo design, can adapt to many placements. This is a modern day movement in logo design due mostly part to how online advertising is changing the landscape of advertising. The introduction of the mobile world has opened the gates of social media advertising and today it’s a necessity for a company logo to fit into a wide array of proportional placement. Whether that be a small Facebook profile image or a circular Instagram avatar. So many social placements offer various proportions of availabilty. A responsive logo design can lend itself to any placement small or wide, big or tall.