Photo by Thought Catalog

Logos are potent means of collective representation and are an effective way for the market to recognize a brand visually. It helps to learn about the different types and which ones to use on certain occasions to help in enhancing brand power.

One should understand the influence and power a logo holds. Born from creativity and careful planning, they’re not just graphic art slapped onto labels and merchandise to attract customers. Due to its many forms and functions, a logo can represent brands, identities, status, and especially socio-political contexts.

With the correct input, logos bring a lot of benefits. It can entice consumers, stand out amongst competitors, enhance brand recognition, tell a story about the brand, and even draw in potential investors.

What are the five most common logos used in digital logo design, and what are the right ways to use them? Let’s find out below.

1 – Emblems

Universities, government institutions, business organizations, etc., widely use this type. These emblems include Harvard, NASA, the NFL, and businesses like Starbucks and MasterCard. Emblems mainly consist of text, symbols, and imagery within a geometric shape.


  • Easy to remember
  • Evokes timelessness
  • It makes your brand look legitimate


  • It may look wrong when reduced to a smaller resolution
  • Not easy to read when on a billboard

Even within the automobile industry, emblems are heavily used as well. Take Porsche, BMW, and Ford, for example. And due to its timelessness, some companies opt for emblems with their rebranded logos that are more updated.

Brands make changes like that because they need to keep up with the times. What they have now may not work in the future, so they shed the old skin for a new one. Another reason is also the popularity increase. Starbucks used to have the brand name stuck with the logo. But because of their sheer popularity, people can still recognize who they are even if they remove the brand name.

2 – Pictorial Marks

Also called a Brandmark, a Pictorial Mark is a logo that transforms into something symbolistic and won’t need any words for people to recognize. The most prominent examples are Apple, Mcdonald’s, Nike, and social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.


  • A picture that tells a thousand words
  • Recognizable depending on popularity
  • Adjustable, especially when turned into vector logo design


  • Bad for brands with weak recognition

Startups should only use pictorial Marks partially to associate the brand’s identity. However, the symbols should be recognizable enough that they can stand on their own.

For starters, you may use this logo for your branding pitch. But it would be best to use an easily recognizable wordmark until your audience becomes more prominent. A natural progression of most popular brands like Starbucks is the transition from being an emblem to a graphic symbol.

3 – Wordmarks

Wordmarks are practical and powerful. They’re as straightforward as they can get since they outright have the company name on them. Wordmarks don’t have any graphic symbols, patterns, or emblems. Typography is a wordmark’s distinctive feature.


  • Simple looking
  • It blends well with other design elements
  • Recognizable
  • Good for startup businesses


  • It only works for short brand names
  • Needs constant updating

The brand identity is heavily dependent on the entirety of the font. It is crucial as a brand to find the one that works best for you and will carry your brand reputation for a while. A great example of wordmarks would be Coca-Cola, Subway, Jeep, Disney, and Google.

4 – Monogram Logos

Also known as Lettermarks, Monogram Logos are great for minimizing the brand name, especially when they’ve become too long and elaborate. Typography is still the main feature of this type of logo.


  • Suitable for brands with long names
  • Professional-looking
  • Recognizable
  • Easy to scale, depending on the font


  • Startups will struggle with it
  • Brands may need to spell it out for a while until they’re recognizable enough to remove

For logo designers, it’s better to use a legible typeface that’s also easy on the eyes. This is preferable when there are times that the logo needs to be scaled down. Brands like CNN, HP, IBM, BBC, and H&M are good examples of Monogram Logos.

5 – Abstract Logo Marks

It is a type of logo where recognizable graphic symbols do not apply. Abstract geometric forms and elements that have substantial implications for the brand make an Abstract Logo Mark.


  • Unique
  • Easily Recognizable


  • Should not be used by new brands

Condensing your brand into an easily identified look with geometric forms will be beneficial. However, it should deliver a strong message by itself. Colors are also crucial in an Abstract Logo Mark as they can make or break the brand. Examples of this are Pepsi, Adidas, and the Olympics. What makes these brands stand out is their long-time brand history that cemented the market’s trust and furthered their stability.

6 – Mascot Logos

Mascots are known to improve the atmosphere and create a fun vibe. The same applies to logos as well. It consists of an illustrated character; whether they’re real won’t matter. It can even be an animal or humanoid form of a non-living object.


  • Fun and friendly
  • Recognizable


  • Difficult to change the character
  • Unusable in a formal branding

Food companies usually use this type of logo to entice their target market. Due to the fun colors and illustrations, they attract consumers to buy their products. Examples of Mascot Logos are KFC, Wendy’s, Pringles, and even sports teams that also use this type of logo.

7 – Combination Mark

It is a slew of designs that are best for brands that are indecisive on what brand image to follow. For brands who want to use a symbol but still want to be recognized by the target market? Combination Marks are the way to go.


  • Usable for new businesses
  • Easily edited
  • It gives the designer creative freedom


  • It tends to be visually heavy when overloaded with designs

Mixing and matching are among the techniques commonly applied here. It goes through many evaluations until the final cut is made. If you are still determining which of the logotypes above suits your brand best, a Combination Mark is the best option. Just keep in mind not to overload it. Examples of this logotype are Adobe, Domino’s Pizza, Puma, and Pizza Hut.

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