Maystorm Studio

Logo 101


logo 101



Your logo should be a clear, identifiable symbol that represents your company—a unique representation of who you are in its simplest form.



1. Logotype (wordmark)


Logotypes or wordmarks are made up of a simple line of text, which is often stylized using a unique typeface.  These text-only logos work best when the name of the company is distinct—quirky, short, and memorable. 

PROS:  Logotypes are a great logo choice for smaller start-ups that need to convey their company name very clearly.

2. Initials (aka lettermark)


Initials or lettermarks are the simplest of logos.  They highlight a company’s acronym rather than its full name. 

PROS:  Lettermarks are convenient when the company's full name is difficult to pronounce or especially long.  Also when space for branding on a product is limited.

3. Brandmark (aka symbol or icon)


Brandmarks come in handy when words are not enough to express certain ideas.  They can give your audience a clear representation of your company’s identity without the use of text.

PROS:  Brandmarks are especially good in multinational settings, where numerous languages are in use. 

CONS:  Since a brandmark is only a symbol, most of the time only very well-known, high-profile companies use them.

4. Combination Mark (aka iconic logotype)


Combination marks or iconic logotypes combine the best of both worlds.  They are the most popular, for they spell out the name of a company while simultaneously associating it with a visual icon. 

PROS:  Combination marks can often be split apart.  So, if the situation calls for it, they give you the ability to use the text or the symbol independently.  Also, because they include unique text elements, they tend to be easier to trademark than brandmarks or symbol-only logos.*

CONS:  Due to their complexity, they usually require more time and thought to design effectively; however, the extra work results in a more versatile logo design.

*Look at the logos for Macy's and Reverb Nation, for example;  without unique text differentiation, logos such as these would be extremely difficult to trademark.

5. Emblem (aka badge or seal)


An emblem, badge, or seal is, in essence, a logo where a symbol and text are merged.  Unlike combination marks, where elements are placed side by side, an emblem’s text resides within the bounds of the logo.  

PROS:  Since emblems are compact and self-contained, they allow you to easily fit more information into tighter spaces.

CONS:  You cannot separate the elements, making this type of logo less flexible.  Also, they may not always print very well at smaller sizes.


The following infographics (by Michaek David, from Tasty Placement) show some insight as to what the current logo design trends are: