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A good logo design can enable clients to quickly identify what your company does, create a brand identity, provide the professional look of an established enterprise and build customer loyalty. When thinking about your logo, the most important thing is to keep your customers and the nature of your business in mind. At Gorilla we like to start every project by first understanding which type of logo the client needs, we can classify most logos into 3 basic groups:

No.1_ Logotypes

Logo design IBM

Also known as a ‘wordmark’. Put simply this is a company’s name written in a particular style. Some of the biggest brands use this type of logo design including Coca-Cola, Google and Sony.

Logotypes are often favoured by large corporations because they put the actual name of the company in center stage. This is useful if you are stuck with an otherwise forgettable set of initials (think CNN, IBM, NASA). A logotype has to sit alone without an icon so it’s particularly important that is has a unique element to it. This will ensure it is identifiable to customers and not confused with other brands. It is important to realise that the unique aspect of the design does not even have to directly relate to what the business does, in fact it can be completely random. For example the stripes in the IBM logo are meaningless at face value. Without them though, the logo would be just another set of generic corporate initials. The stripes are what the eye latches onto- over time they have become completely synonymous with the company in the mind of the consumer.

It’s also worth noting that it takes considerable skill to create a great logotype. An experienced designer will know that you can’t interfere with the letter forms too much or you risk creating an awkward or illegible design. It’s tempting to experiment with negative space between the letters but again this has to done carefully so that the flow of the word is not disturbed- a well executed negative space logotype is a very rare thing indeed (the hidden arrow in FedEx is perhaps the most famous example).

Logo Design, Fed Ex

No.2_ Icon based Logo Design

Logo Design, nike swoosh

An icon based logo is based on a symbol alone. The benefits of this type of logo design are numerous. A good icon will be simplified to make it more memorable, it will also work well in one colour and scale without loss of legibility which makes it more flexible. An added bonus is that unlike a logotype an icon is able to transcend language barriers.

It is worth noting that achieving brand recognition using a symbol alone does not happen overnight. First the logo design must be carefully crafted to be unique, simple and appropriate. It must then be applied with absolute uniformity over time to earn a place in the consciousness of the consumer. For this reason most Startups opt for a combined icon and type based logo until they achieve enough brand recognition to drop the type altogether. Achieving this is effectively the holy grail of logo design and is normally reserved for long established companies such as Nike, Apple, and Shell.

No.3_ Illustrative Logo Design

Logo Design, Uncle Ben's

Illustrative logos tend to be more embellished than an icon design. They are often used when the company has a ‘spokes person’ or mascot. They are much less flexible than an icon or logo type because they are usually very intricate but they are often favoured by food brands to give their company a friendly face (Think Aunt Jemima’s pancakes, Mr Clean or Uncle Ben’s rice). While we highly recommend mascot based logos, it is much better to refine your mascot into a simplified icon than to go with a full blown illustration. This will make it more flexible and cost effective to print and ultimately easier to apply consistently across all mediums. This is why many of the brands we know and love have gradually refined their illustrative logos in to icons over time. Shell is a great example, they have gradually removed all the unnecessary noise from their identity overtime and are now left with a beautifully simple icon- of course a skilled designer will be able to achieve this first time without need for evolution.

Logo Design, Shell logo evolution

Whichever type of logo design you decide is right for your business, there are some important things to bear in mind. You should articulate the message that you want to convey and stick to this throughout the logo design process. Focus on your message and decide what you want to communicate about your company. In general a good logo should be simple, scalable, memorable and distinctive.

At Gorilla we help companies with logo design and the branding process. If you would like advice on how to get a logo that’s going to work for your business in the longterm then simply get in touch here.