logo design 101: understanding the types and variations of logos

Explore the intricacies of logo design as we dissect different logo types, revealing how each can be strategically employed to craft a distinctive brand identity that perfectly reflects your business.

Types of Logos and How to Use Them to Create a Strong Brand Identity

Logos are a vital aspect of creating a strong brand identity. A well-designed logo helps businesses establish a visual identity that customers can recognize and trust. However, with so many different types and variations of logos available, it can be challenging to know where to start. This article will take a closer look at the types of logos and how to use them to create a strong brand identity.

Thematic Wordmarks


A thematic wordmark is a distinctive type of logo that fuses a brand’s name with visual elements reflecting its core activities or identity, elevating the logo through integrated visual storytelling. This design strategy extends beyond unique typography to embed relevant visual themes directly within the brand’s textual representation.

For instance, “Jim’s Auto Service” takes this concept to an exceptional level by crafting the name “Jim’s” to not just resemble any car but specifically a ’69 Stingray Corvette, showcasing an iconic and detailed artistic approach. This choice immediately communicates the brand’s expertise in automotive services, particularly with classic and high-value vehicles, and sets a tone of precision and passion for automobiles. Similarly, “Sculpt Fitness” incorporates a visual metaphor by designing the word “Sculpt” to simulate stone, with the “S” morphing from a rocky texture into a flexing bicep arm, symbolizing physical transformation and strength.

These thematic wordmarks are effective because they do more than spell out a brand’s name; they convey the brand’s specialization and identity through visually engaging elements. By marrying textual and visual cues, they offer a compelling and memorable brand representation, ensuring instant recognition and a strong connection with the target audience.

Combination Mark

Combination marks are logos that feature both text and a symbol or icon, merging a wordmark with a brandmark. This type of logo design provides flexibility for branding and allows for the use of either or both elements across various media. It can effectively convey a brand’s message through the icon while also ensuring brand recognition through the text.

For instance, the “Superlift” logo, with its stylized “S” that integrates the two prongs of a forklift at the bottom, is a classic combination mark. Here, the symbol represents the machinery that the company specializes in, while the full name “Superlift” written underneath ensures that the brand name is communicated clearly.

“Hedgelog Woodworking” is another example where the brandmark—a hedgehog designed to also look like a saw blade—plays a dual role in conveying what the business is about, cleverly linking the company’s name to its woodworking focus. The accompanying wordmark, “Hedgelog Woodworking,” further identifies the brand and can be used separately if needed.

Lastly, “Checklist Real Estate” employs a graphic that resembles a checklist within the outline of a house, with the checkboxes serving as windows. This symbol, combined with the clear wordmark of the company name, conveys the brand’s dedication to thorough and comprehensive real estate services.

Combination marks like these are powerful because they enable a brand to be recognized by either text or symbol and are often more memorable due to their visual complexity. They offer a versatile branding solution that is robust and can adapt to various branding needs.

Wordmark Logos

Wordmark logos rely solely on text to convey the brand’s identity. These logos focus on typography to create a unique and distinctive font for the company’s name. By using only text, companies can create a clean, minimalist design that is easy to reproduce across various platforms and mediums. Wordmark logos are ideal for companies with unique or distinctive brand names.

Lettermark Logos

Lettermark logos are designed using initials or abbreviations of a company’s name. They are particularly useful for businesses with lengthy or complex names that may be difficult to remember or pronounce. By using a few carefully selected letters, these logos represent the essence of the company. Lettermark logos are often combined with graphic elements to create a more comprehensive brand identity.

Now that you have a logo style in mind.. think of a logo color scheme

When designing a logo, it’s important to choose the right color scheme. Each color can convey a different message or emotion, so it’s important to select colors that align with the brand’s values and personality. For example, blue can represent trust and reliability, while red can convey energy and excitement. By carefully considering typography, font design, and other design elements, companies can create a successful logo that establishes a strong visual identity for their brand.