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What’s the difference between a logotype and a logomark?

When clients ask me to design a logo for their business I always start with this discussion of what kind of “logo” they need. A “logo” is often made of a logotype and a logomark. But not every business needs both.

A logotype stands for words or the name of a business that is designed in a customized way.

A logomark is an identifying mark or symbol that doesn’t contain the business name, like a drawing or image that represents the business.

 

Logotype

The letter “IBM” written in a certain number of blue stripes is a logo. The blue is very specific and there are a different number of stripes depending on the size of the logo.

Usually when using the word “logo” people are thinking of logotype. A logotype is the name of a company that is designed in a visually unique way for use by that company. It may be displayed in a preexisting font that is customized to some degree or another.  Or it may be built from geometric shapes that abstract letters for a specific effect. There can be other specifications associated with the design of a logotype that are referred to more broadly as corporate identity elements. These include PMS colors and how much empty space is required around a logo.

It’s not necessarily needed to use a symbol or icon to effectively create a good logo, and that is the idea behind logotypes. When it is done correctly, using only typography to create a logo can be an extremely effective branding weapon. What normally happens is that this form of logo uses a special typeface and letter styling, which becomes associated with a brand.

logotypes

Famous examples of logotypes

 

Logomark

An apple with a missing “byte” out of it is the logomark of Apple Inc.

A logomark  or “symbol” does not generally contain the name of the company — it more abstractly represents that company. It may or may not always sit next to the logotype and there may be a few types of marks in the corporate identity system that get used in different contexts. These rules will be spelled out in a brand usage document.

Logomarks can be very useful, because they can enhance brand identity. It can help consumers identify what your business is about, especially if your logomark is a pictorial representation, such as a having camera for a photographer. They can be used as consistent graphic elements on marketing materials, wearables, and signage. A logomark can sometimes be more identifiable than a logotype, such as the apple symbol for Apple Inc.

 

Do I need a  logomark?

How to decide if you need both a logotype and a logomark? It depends on how you will use your logo and what business sector you are in. Designing a logomark can add a significant cost to your brand development process so budget can be a factor too. Some new businesses will start simple and add a mark after the business grows and perhaps gains more (or sometimes less – meaning broader)  focus.

It’s important for all logos to remain equally readable  at each zoom/ scale level. You may not be buying a giant billboard but printing a logo a few inches across on a brochure is a much higher resolution environment than on a website.

logomarks

Famous examples of logomarks

To see some logos I’ve design head on over to my logo design portfolio or just download my updated identity design portfolio PDF.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted August 22, 2013 at 12:14 am | Permalink

    As a logo designer i get more than 80% logo marks to get designed and rest asks for logo types. Now a days it’s difficult to explain your customer that what will suite him because they have already made their mind after watching some examples.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

      Because everyone, EVERYONE, wants to be Nike.

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