Design can be very subjective. It can be tricky — sometimes even scary. Often, designers must make decisions based on what they feel is the best direction to go, not one which they know is the best direction. The ubiquity of the Nike “swish” logo, for example. It wasn’t the result of an objective formula that existed before the earth was formed. It was born in the mind of a designer one morning.
Design isn’t math. Math is easier. 2 + 2 = 4. There is no arguing that. It’s a fact.
Design isn’t like that. It’s interpretable. It’s feelings and emotions and sensations. You know … the whole “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” thing.
As a result, there’s nothing more nerve racking than hitting the send button on an email to your client that contains design concepts. What will the beholder’s eye think of these designs? You think it looks stunning. The client might think you’re crazy.
Logo design is particularly difficult. It’s very subjective. It’s also very high stakes. It’ll likely be the first and last thing about your brand that a customer will experience.
Ask this question early
There are a number of questions you can ask yourself to make sure that you’re close to what your client wants before you lay the designs out to review.
Do you have a color scheme you’d like to use? Do you have examples of logos you like? Inspiration? Are you looking for something playful or professional? Simple or complex? The possibilities are literally endless.
But there is no question more important than this one:
“What type of logo are you looking for?”
We’ll be covering six different logo types and providing examples for each in this post. I would recommend that you pose this question to your logo design clients and provide examples to ensure that your initial concepts are at least in the ballpark of what they want.
6 Logo Types
The following are broad logo categories. They’re different logo types that your client can choose from. They may choose from more than one but getting them pinned down to a couple of these categories will make your life (and the life of your client) a lot easier.
A “text” logo is the simplest form of logo. You just take the name of the company and stylize it a bit. With a “text” logo, there’s no icon or “mark” in the logo. It’s just, well, text.
Here are some popular examples of text logos:
Pictoral Icon Logos
Here are some great examples of pictorial icon logos including our own Crazy Egg logo:
Abstract Icon Logos
This is a popular logo type. It can incorporate the business name in a font. The icon is abstract and not easily recognized by itself as a standalone “mark.” Adidas and Toyota are good examples of these.
These are some example abstract icon logos:
Letter Icon Logos
Here are some great examples of letter icon logos:
Here are some classic examples of emblem logos:
Mascot or Character
With a “mascot” logo, a character (usually a person or animal) is used to represent the business in the logo. Who doesn’t love Freddie the cute chimp of MailChimp fame? And, how can there be a Panda Express without a cuddly panda as part of your brand?
Remember, the easiest way to sink hours of work into a logo only to get raised eyebrows from your client is to fail to ask this question:
What type of logo are you looking for?
Imagine designing six Abstract Icon Logo concepts and then finding out your client is looking for a Mascot or Character Logo.
Ask this question early on in your logo design process. You’ll be glad you did.