There are many different types of logos and choosing a suitable logo design for your business can be a tough decision. Would you use a word or a symbol to make up your logo? Which type of logo is beneficial for your business? A logo which uses a word to represent the brand is known as a wordmark. A logo which uses a symbol to represent the brand is known as an iconic or illustrative symbol. Let’s compare the differences and appreciate which is superior.
The Word vs The Symbol
THE ICONIC/ILLUSTRATIVE SYMBOL
|Able to communicate the brand name by itself||Does not communicate the brand name
(it makes association to the brand name)
|Ideal for brands with a short name||Ideal for brands with a long name|
|Suitable for a young brand||Suitable for an established brand|
|Well suited for brands which have limited communication funds||Well suited for brands which can afford ample media for brand exposure, to teach the audience what the symbol means|
|Low memorability||High memorability|
The Word and The Symbol
Still can’t decide on a wordmark or iconic symbol? You can have the best of both worlds! When we merge the word with the symbol, we get a combination mark. A combination mark inherits both the strengths of the wordmark and the iconic symbol. This is the reason why most businesses favour using a combination mark as their logo. Having said that, the iconic symbol still has a higher memorability compared to the combination mark.
Consider Brand Succession
Because a brand is a living entity which is enriched or undermined cumulatively over time, there is no cookie cutter approach to branding. The successful brands you see today have undergone constant brand evaluation, repositioning or even rebranding. Consider big brands like Royal Dutch Shell (commonly known as Shell) and Apple Inc. The powerful and memorable iconic symbols you see now, are the fruits of their branding efforts. They did not use iconic symbols as logos to represent their brands since day one of their businesses. If you had followed their brand evolutions, you would have seen these mega brands use combination marks as logos at some point of time in the brand’s journey! This is brand succession where a better type of logo is identified and developed to assume the role of the brandmark for a company.
The decisions that brand stewards make today impact tomorrow’s success. Know your business! Understand the brand model!