By Aschalew Tamiru
On the weekly Capital newspaper, I have been writing various branding articles; Misconception about Branding, Basics to Successful Branding, Why Do Brands Matter and Can anything be Branded are among others.
In those articles, I was trying to discuss and show basic and practical facts of branding, how brands benefit customers and companies/firms, important elements of branding and so forth. Now, it’s vital to pick one of the most important elements and “face of a company” called logo in brief. Some branding scholars acclaim that in the anatomy of a brand, the logo is representing the face of a brand.
As I have also attempted to mention in my previous articles, a logo might be a name, term, symbol, mark, sign, etc. that represents a company, a product, or an idea. Once a company has identified its brand’s values and characteristics, the company needs to decide on elements of the brand including the logo that will fit its business better.
Most branding scholars agree that more than other elements of a brand, a logo has the power to be impressed in a person’s mind. They also advise logos shall be developed in such a way that it is unique and memorable with colour and font.
There are various types of logos companies can choose from. Whichever the company chooses, we should make sure that the logo has an emotional appeal that connects with the customers and the public at large. Some world’s renowned brands have done this successfully and harvest what branding pays for their efforts.
Companies should always put in mind that logos are a part of people’s everyday life. People see various types of logos in every walk of their life such as on their way to office, in the supermarket, in business and recreation centres, in the hospital, etc. To get visible among the public and get the best benefits out of a good brand or logo, the types of logo with the accompanied unique nature shall be best understood by the company.
Various Branding scholars classify logo types differently. I choose to focus on the six common types of logo categories with the accompanied examples that are used widely among firms with their unique advantages to help determine what logo is the best fit for the brand.
Letter Marks or Monogram Logos
Letter marks or monogram logos are logos that consist of letters, usually brand name initials. IBM, CNN, HP, EBC… logo are best examples of letter mark logos. They are the initials of a few famous businesses with rather lengthy names. With two or three words to remember, they have each turned to using their initials for brand-identification purposes. So it makes perfect sense for them to use monograms or letter mark logos to represent their organizations. A letter mark is a typography-based logo that’s comprised of a few letters, usually a company’s name initials. By utilizing just a few letters, lettermark logos are effective at streamlining any company brand if they have a long name. For example, how much easier is it to say and remember NASA versus the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, IBM versus International Business Machines, CNN versus Cable News Network and EBC versus Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporate?
Because the focusesare on initials, here the font a company chooses and creates is very important to make sure the letter mark logo is not only on-themeor writing with what a company does, but also readable when it is printing on various promotional materials such as banners, stickers, business cards and the likes. Also, if a company is not an established business it may add its full business name below the letter mark logo so people can begin to learn who the company is right away.
Wordmarks or Logotypes Logo
Similar to a lettermark logo, a wordmark logo is a font-based logo that focuses on a business’ name alone. Wordmark logos work well when a company has a concise and distinct name.
Wordmarklogos are built entirely of the word or words that make up the company’s name. The main focus here is typography, obviously. This style of logo strongly ties a brand’s visual identity to the name of the company. Because of this, companies have to choose and create, the font carefully. The shape, style and colour of the words convey almost as much meaning as the words themselves.
We may think of Visa, Coca-Cola and Google logos as examples of Wordmarks logo. The name itself is catchy and memorable so, when combined with strong design and typography, the logos helpto create strong brand recognition.
When to use letter mark and wordmark logos:
Branding scholars recommend companies toconsider a letter mark logo if the business happens to have a long name. Condensing the business name into initials will help simplify the design and likewise customers will have an easier time recalling the business and the logo as well.If companies want the tie between their name and visual identity, but have a really long name they might go for Letter mark logo.If a business works in an industry where shortening a name to initials is common.
A wordmark logo is a good decision if the company enters in a new business and needs to get its name out there, it is important to make sure that the name is short enough to take advantage of the design. Word mark logo may not go with a company that have too long names.
A wordmark logo is a good idea if the company has a distinct business name that will stick in customers’ minds. Having its name in a great, designed font will make the brand appealing and distinctive.
Both letter mark and wordmark logos are easy to replicate across marketing material and branding thus making them highly adaptable options for a new, and developing, business.
Brand Mark or Logo Symbol Logo
It is a pictorial logo. It’s probably the image that comes to mind when most people think of “logo” the iconic Apple logo, Nike and Pepsi. Each of these companies’ logos is so symbolic, and each brand so established and well-known among the public, that the mark alone is instantly recognizable. A true brand mark is only an image. Because of this, it can be a
tricky logo type for new companies, or those without strong brand recognition, to use.
The biggest thing to consider when deciding to go with a Brand mark logo is what image to choose. This is something that will stick with the company and its entire existence. The company needs to think about the broader implications of the image it chooses.
Mascot logos are logos that involve an illustrated character. Often colourful, sometimes cartoonish, and most always fun, the mascot logo is a great way to create the business’s own brand spokesperson, spokes-character. Ethiopian children’s Tv and Eveready battery are a good examples of Mascot logo.
When to use Brand mark and Mascot logos:
A Brand mark logo alone can be tricky. It’s effective if the company already have an established brand but that’s not a hard and strict rule. We can use brand marks to the company’s advantage to convey what the business does graphically if the company name is too long, and they can also be used effectively to convey a desired idea or emotion.
A Brand mark logo however may not be the best idea if companies have a plan to make changes to their business model in the future. We may start off selling pizzas and use a pizza in the logo but what happens when we start to selling burgers, or Ethiopian traditional foods?
A Business can think about creating a mascot logo if it’s trying to appeal to young children or families. Branding scholars acclaim that one big benefit of a mascot is it can encourage customer interaction so it’s a great tool for social media marketing as well as real world marketing events such as exhibitions and carnivals.
It is important to remember that a mascot is only one part of a successful logo and brand, and companies may not be able to use it across all their marketing material. For example, a highly detailed illustration may not print well on some promotional material such as on a business card.
If companies want their brand to give off a serious vibe, brand scholars advise that mascot logos are not commendable.
The Combination Mark Logo
A combination mark is a logo comprised of a combined word mark or letter mark and a brand mark log, or mascot. The picture and text can be laid out side-by-side, stacked on top of each other, or integrated together to create an image. Most logos of commercial banks in Ethiopia have the combination mark type of logo Bank of Abyssinia and Awash Banks are among others.
Because a name is associated with the image, a combination mark is a versatile choice, with both the text and icon or mascot working together to reinforce the brand. With a combination mark, people will also begin to associate the name of the company with Brand mark or mascot right away. In the future companies may be able to rely exclusively on a logo symbol, and not have to always include their names. Also, because the combination of a symbol and text create a distinct image together, these logos are usually easier to legally register (trademark) than a Brand mark alone.
The Emblem Logo
An emblem logo consists of font inside a symbol or an icon. Similar to combination mark logos, emblem logos combine images with text. The difference is that Emblem logos encapsulate these design features within a frame or border, whereas combination logos do not. Emblem logos are often more detailed than other types of logos, and include fine line work and small, detailed imagery. Emblem logos also rarely use a mascot. Dashen Bank, Starbucks and Addis Ababa University have Emblem type of logos.
When to use a combination mark and Emblem logos:
A combination mark logo is a great choice for pretty much any business out there. It’s versatile, usually highly unique, and the most popular choice of logo among prominent companies.
Branding scholars advice that when brands want to convey a sense of tradition, history and/or longevity, they shall use emblem type of logo.
An emblem’s traditional look might be favoured by lots of public agencies, universities and schools but it can also serve any prevailing private business quite well, especially those in the food and beverage industry, we might think of beer labels and coffee cups of Kaldis and Starbucks.
Various articles and books published on branding are used as references.
Aschalew Tamiru was a full time lecturer at various universities, currently he is working with Dashen Bank, as Marketing and Customer Experience Director.
Aschalew holds MA in Marketing Management from Addis Ababa University and certified for Management Consultancy from Ethiopian Management Institute. He is a writer of Make a Difference with Customer Service book. He can be reached by firstname.lastname@example.org.