To logotype or logomark, that is the question

12 May 2017

“We want you to come up with a new logo for us, you know, a fresh new look that makes us instantly recognisable” the client says breezily.

But before the designers rub their hands in glee at the opportunity to exercise their creative muscle and demonstrate those ‘finger on the pulse’ thinking credentials, it’s worth taking a bit of time out to establish precisely what the client’s expectations are.

Are we talking a new logotype here? Or a new logomark? Or both?

Many client prospects are blissfully unaware of the difference between a logotype and a logomark. Let alone understand the whys and wherefores as to when it is preferable to include both as a means of establishing a clear visual brand identity.

For the record, a logotype is essentially the name of the business or product, depicted in a definitive typography. So, in the simplest terms, it is a designer’s interpretation of how to present the actual letters which spell the company / product’s name.

A logomark however, is a memorable, identifying mark – which is instantly associated with the company or product without actually spelling it out using traditional letters.  Probably one of the most well-known logomark’s are Nike’s iconic swoosh and Apple’s infamous apple missing a ‘byte’.

A strong logotype can in itself be sufficient to instantly portray a powerful brand. Equally, a logomark, such as the legendary green and white siren associated with the renowned coffee shop brand Starbucks, can effectively communicate a brand identity without the use of any words.

Logotype Examples

If a brand relies purely on its logotype, you can guarantee that it will incorporate tactics that prevent anyone from simply ‘typing out’ the logo. Selecting a colour is a vital part of the decision-making process. According to a report ‘The Science Behind Colors’ by The Logo Company, red represents energetic, sexy, bold; orange is for creative, friendly youthful; yellow conveys sunny, inventive and optimism; green says growth, organic, instructional; blue indicates professional, medical, tranquil and trustworthy; purple suggests spiritual, wise, evocative; black for credible and powerful and of course white for simple, clean and pure.

Outside of colour, the choice, size, weight and slant of font will also be key. In addition, the logotype is likely to feature clever design techniques applied to the actual letters and the spacing between each letter to create stand-out. We could wax lyrical about terms such as ascenders, descenders, strokes, serif but really from a client perspective this can only be understood when a range of logotypes are presented.

Logomark Examples

Creating a powerful logomark can add to the brand development process so ultimately the decision to develop a design device that enhances brand identity can purely be governed by budgets. Generally, there should be a link between the pictorial representation and the business, think Shell’s, seashell, Penguin Books’ penguin and you’ll begin to notice a trend! To achieve a truly memorable logomark it is important to consider four key factors: it must be unique; it must have meaning and tell a story; it must be memorable and it must be flexible to accommodate the changing requirements of the broad media landscape.

And a word of advice. Once you’ve shed blood, sweat and tears and achieved everything you set out to in terms of establishing a clear visual brand identity, look after it! Always create a brand guidelines document to ensure consistency in the treatment of the logotype / logomark when it is applied to any marketing collateral or reproduced by any third parties.

Want to find out more? Get in touch with our team of brand design experts.

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