Why Should You Have Different Types of Logos

Summary: Creating different types of logos – from the initial design – will greatly expand your ability to put your mark nearly everywhere it could go – offline and online. I understand the goal of consistency, but there are far too many places and spaces to rely on one. Choosing a few types of logos (or variations) will set you up for success to fit your mark beautifully everywhere.

You may be saying, “I’ll never want my logo on that one thing!” You’ll probably change your mind someday. At which point, you’ll scramble to hack apart your logo because you were rigid with the initial design. Up front diligence will save you from headaches.

Where Can You Put Your Logo?

The combination of physical (offline) places and web (online) spaces creates millions of opportunities to get your logo into commerce and establish a brand identity. Each opportunity has its own strategy and benefits, but they all strive to point people in the direction of your company.

Offline spaces

  • Business cards
  • Letterhead, invoices, forms, envelopes, in-house documents
  • Marketing collateral (PDF handouts, flyers, slicks, tri-folds…)
  • Product packaging (may fit into any of these categories)
  • Signage and banners
  • Car decals
  • Stickers, labels
  • Shirts and uniforms
  • Logo apparel (t-shirts, hats, totes…)
  • Promotional products (notebooks, pens, glasses, mugs, magnets…)

Online spaces

  • Your website
  • On other websites that link to yours
  • Email signature
  • Social media profiles
  • Directories
  • Online ads

These lists could go on!

What Are the Different Types of Logos?

Primary Logo

As you’d expect, this is the main logo used to represent your brand. All other brand logos should be based on your primary logo design.

Secondary Logos

Alternate design(s), which can be vertical or horizontal. Alternate secondary logos tend to be stripped down, stacked, or unstacked versions of your primary logo.

Submark Logo or Icon

A simple, mini-me version of your primary logo, which may include a limited abbreviation of your business name or a small illustration such as your symbol or mark. These are usually used as favicons to identify your website’s internet browser tab. They’re also great in social media profiles where the profile already displays your company name next to the image.

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Wordmark Logo

Also known as logotype or lettermarks, these focus solely on the business name, customized by a font. Great examples of effective wordmark logos are often very large, household-name companies. Examples include Google, FedEx, Coca-Cola, eBay, Facebook, Disney, and many more.

While Wordmark Logos are popular for large companies, they commonly use icons in their brand strategies to fit the various spaces.

color coordinate topic cluster in search engine marketing

How Many Types of Logos Should You Have?

Honestly, it’s often dependent on the final primary logo. To cover most spaces, you want a logo that fits into a few core shapes.

  • Landscape (wide)
  • Portrait (tall)
  • Thin (super wide)
  • Circle or Square

With one of these four types of logos, you’ll have an easier time fitting your logo in most places.

Logo Formats

When done properly, your logo should be created in Adobe Illustrator (.ai or .eps). This helps ensure that your logo is produced in high resolution, vector art, with fonts outlined.

Designers will usually create your logo in Adobe Illustrator, and from there may save it in various formats for each variation including Adobe Photoshop (.psd), Adobe PDF (.pdf), JPG (.jpg), and PNG (.png). This will give you and your outside vendors options.

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Vector Art

The reason we use Adobe Illustrator is that it’s a tool that creates vector graphics. Vector art is made up of points, lines, curves, and shapes that are based on mathematical formulas. This means that you can scale the artwork from ½-inch to 100-feet tall without losing any resolution quality. We all know what happens when you expand and contract a picture. Adobe has a very good resource for understanding What is vector art.

Vendors Outside Your Company Will Eventually Work with Your Logo

Most of the people, machines, tools, and software that creates the list of products and web graphics discussed earlier in this article are often unique to the industry. A machine that prints your logo onto the barrel of a pen at a one-half-inch scale is different than the sewing machine that embroiders your logo onto a shirt.

By having quality vector artwork, you’re setting all your future vendors up for success, and potentially saving you money by doing it right the first time. Vendors usually charge a fee to fix bad or low-quality files given to them.

It’s really helpful if a style guide for logo usage is supplied with artwork to the company. A style guide usually also includes those different types of logos and how the elements of the logos should interact. That way, vendors can advise you what size or artwork file is needed for the specific application.

Promotional Advertising & Marketing Materials

  • Hardline items (pens, mugs, keychains, etc.) can be imprinted using silkscreen or pad printing machines. Both required printing plates and a digital setup.
  • Softline products (apparel, uniforms, bags, hats, etc.) that are embroidered required digitizing the artwork to program the machine stitches. Products that utilize a sublimation method of decorating have digital design set-up requirements.
  • Paper products (handouts, banners, decals, etc.) may involve mass printing, press, bindery, and/or large-scale machines.

All these printing methods require high-resolution, quality logo artwork to successfully process your branded products.

different types of logos using in a promotional collage

Choose Someone Experienced in Logo Design

A designer is creating your company logos as your brand’s identity for visual usage in all future commerce. Your logo will be linked to your products, services, and social capital.

An experienced designer will work with you to match a mark, including typography and symbol that best relates your products and services to the image you intend to achieve.

The willingness to pay the cost of a great design is usually subjective to the company size and personality. The price of different types of logos is often dependent on how many versions it takes to get to the final product. Speculative work often includes variations before landing on a final product.

No matter your choices – consider getting a few variations to fit into different spaces. In time, your logo will spread to online and offline marketing assets and will be used by outside vendors. You can always come back to the foundational Adobe Illustrator file and choose which type of logo is most appropriate for the job.

If none of the core variations fit your specific project, that’s when you invite your graphic designer or your outside vendor’s designers to custom fit your logo to the specs of the project.