GS: Logo, Identity & Brand Part 2: LOGO
Last week on GS, we discussed the general differences between a logo, an identity and a brand. In the next few posts, I will dissect each of these words more in-depth.
Today, we will start to discuss these in more detail, starting with the triangle: LOGOS.
A logo, or logotype, is a graphic representation or mark symbolizing a company name, trademark, abbreviation, etc often uniquely designed for ready recognition. (Source)
At 4th Leaf Design Studio, to reach a better understanding of what our clients want for their logo, I have categorized logos into three groups. Almost all logos can easily fit within one of these; shown in no particular order.
PLEASE NOTE: I have no affiliation with any of the represented companies. I am just using their logos for examples. These views strictly of 4th Leaf Design Studio’s.
1– TYPOGRAPHIC LOGOS
Typographic logos are basically a company or brand’s name spelled out with a clever use a type. In many cases, the designer will alter a typeface to fit the look the company wants or they may combine typefaces to create another feeling. Below are several samples of typographic logos.
Notice how the designer for the FedEx logo strategically altered the typeface to create a forward moving arrow between the E and x. The Coca-Cola logo has been around for decades with very minor changes. The elaborate script typeface, change in baseline (where the bottom of the letters sit) height and the differences in the C’s create an interesting composition in the logo that has made it timeless. The baseline changes and mixed typography of the Ebay logo emphasizes how approachable and playful the site can be.
2– Lock-Up Logos (or Marks)
These are logotypes that use a combination of a graphic (be it an image, a ligature or some other graphic) and the typographic representation of the company. The reason these logos get their own category is because they are recognized both as a lock-up and separately by each individual piece. A successful lock-up logo considers the proportion of the mark to the size of the type associated. When a brand with a lock-up logo becomes successful, they can easily use just their image without NEEDING the adjoining type spelling out the name.
Take Nike for instance. You recognize this as the company logo:
… but because of their wonderful marketing and recognizable graphic, you also understand this to be the same company:
Many companies are recognizing a use for having a lock-up logo. Nike simply brands each of their shoes, hats, and any other active wear by using just their mark. This saves a lot of real estate on their items for other graphics.
Another unique notion about these lock-up logos is their ability to be altered to fit any orientation. They can be in a vertical layout, a horizontal and as just the graphic (as discussed above). NBC does a great job of making sure their logo is used in whatever orientation best fits.
3– Crest Logos
I don’t just mean logos that look like something plastered on a knight’s shield, although the Lamborghini logo is a nice representation of that! These logos succeed in communicating everything about the company all combined in its own holder.
There is not one particular shape that is the best to use, but rather you use the shape that best fits what you’re trying to communicate. If you remember several years back, the UPS logo went under a make-over.
The NFL’s logo was also simplified recently. In the past, it had a star to represent each team in the league. It made the logo dated and incredibly busy. Now the NFL shield is a much simpler version of the original highlighting the 8 divisions of the league rather than every team.
As a business owner, it’s important to understand that your logo is your customer’s first real impression of who you are. Be sure to have a logo that represents the formality of your company, the approachability of who you are and a general concept of what you do. Understand the style of logo that will also work best for you. For example, if you’re a photographer needing to watermark your images, you may want to have your name spelled out so it is clear that the image belongs to you. This “little” image is your stamp that will go on EVERYTHING you do. What does your logo say about you? Are you happy with the way your logo represents you as a company? Will your clients be able to recognize your logo as a stand-out amongst your competitors?
Now, if you ask anyone what their company’s logo is, I’m sure they will be able to show it to you correctly. That’s great! But the question is: Do you know how to use your logo correctly? To learn more about understanding how to use your logo, check back for the discussion about identities.