What Is a Logotype vs Logomark vs Logo? (Plus, Where to Get One)

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Logotype vs logomark – which one do you need, and what’s the difference in the first place?

Whenever designers ask me this question, I always freeze. I need a few seconds to consider the differences. They say there’s nothing wrong with that. After all, when it comes to branding your business, you really need the right answer.

Because the right answer gives you the centerpiece of your brand’s visual identity. It tells people who you are and what you offer. It guarantees that customers recognize, remember, and return to you.

So, we’re going to look at the differences between a logotype vs logomark vs logo. We’ll even consider their strengths and weaknesses before sharing our recommendations for getting a professional business logo of your own.

If someone yelled “Logo!” you can bet we’d all think of something different.

For me, it’s always the Coca-Cola text, but you might be an Apple person. And who can resist the Netflix ‘N’? Now, these might look very different but all qualify as great logos.

If that’s true, then what is a logo exactly? Is it letters? Words? Could it be a peanut?

Yep. Strange as it sounds, a logo can be all of these things. In fact, any visual representation of an organization, product, or service qualifies as a logo. This includes everything from mascots through emblems to combination marks.

But logos can also be simple names or initials. We call those text logotypes.

Then, any logo with pictures or symbols is a logomark.

Any text-based logo, whether it is full words or initials, is called a logotype. In contrast, logos that rely on pictures are known as logomarks.

Here’s a more in-depth look at the differences to consider before leaping in to make your logo:

What is a logotype?

We already know that a logotype is any logo that uses text. But they come in two forms: a wordmark using something like a company name, or a monogram using individual letters or initials.

Here are two famous examples:

While these examples became memorable over time, using a logotype can pay dividends for growing businesses too.

If you have a short, catchy name, then a well-designed logotype can enhance it further. A clever name written in a unique font and presented in a dazzling color scheme can help establish your business in a competitive market.

A logotype is appealing partly because it can be a budget-friendly option. But, I’d still suggest putting a professionally designed logotype on your roadmap.

First, each font has a different personality that impacts how customers perceive your business. Values, culture, and personality can be assumed just from the font choice alone. For example, would you use a bank that had a font like Lego’s?

Second, logotypes can be difficult to scale across multiple marketing channels. In particular, it can be challenging to make them legible on business cards.

Third, most commercially available fonts are too widely used to communicate your distinctiveness and personality. How’d you like to compete against these two logos, for example?

👉 Need help creating a catchy business name? Try one of these business name generators.

What is a logomark?

Any logo which uses an image or symbol is a logomark. You can use any real-world symbol, like a tweeting blue bird, or something abstract, like a swoosh, in a logomark.

You could even use an icon if you had to. Although, we wouldn’t recommend it. Because icons became generic from everyday use, you’d have limited opportunity to carve out your own identity.

How can you acquire an abstract symbol? For this, we recommend using a professional designer.

Not because they’re guaranteed to deliver the perfect logo, but they know how to use color psychology effectively and evoke the appropriate emotions in your customers.

A professional designer can take advantage of the creative freedom to deliver a logo that captures your value proposition and unique selling point.

If you have an established business with a history of recognition and generated associations, you’ll find it easier to develop an abstract logo.

On the other hand, a logo with a real-world symbol is probably best for a new or emerging business. They can benefit from the associations and recognition that exist in the minds of potential partners and customers.

What if you got all this way and you still don’t know which logo is for you? You’re not alone. If you look around, you will see that many organizations are going for a combination of logotype and logomark.

Indonesian gas compoany PGN has a combination logo

The PGN logo does a great job of communicating the business values and role with a combination of logotype vs logomark.

Not only that, but any of the elements would be recognized if they were used separately.

When you’re just getting started, a combination strategy can help you build recognition for your logomark. It can also be useful if you decide to change your logo. If you want to introduce a new logomark or logotype, then a combination can ease the way.

Now that you’ve decided on the best logo for your organization, you need to consider how you’re going to get one. Fortunately, you have three equally strong options depending on your budget and needs:

  • You can use one of the best logo makers and create your own logo.
  • If you have the budget, then a freelancer can help you design something.
  • You can approach a design agency to design your new logo.

Which is the best option? Well, that depends:

If you make your own logo, there’s the potential to make a lot of mistakes. But then again, you can experiment with a number of different ideas before making a commitment.

When you have a strong vision, you should try designing the logo yourself. Start with our free logo maker and see how different colors, texts, and fonts work together.

Even if you’re not happy with it, you’ll have a mockup to share with a designer.

💡 Tip: Try following our comprehensive guide to making a free professional logo.

Why you should hire a freelancer

Working with freelancers will introduce unexpected challenges to running a business, but with the right approach you can make it successful.

For starters, we recommend 99designs for budgets greater than $300. For the price, you will get around 30 designs to choose from.

Once initiated, your job becomes a ‘contest’ where you describe what you’d like to commission. You wait for submissions to arrive and pick your favorite. The winner gets the money, and you get the design.

If your budget is around $100, Fiverr or Upwork are reasonable places to find freelance help. Each platform offers an international talent pool for reasonable rates. You will need to do some digging to find the right designer, but they are there.

Once you find a few good ones, you can get some exceptional results. We’d recommend you follow these tips to succeed with freelancers:

  • Once you have researched a few sellers, talk to them about your project and expectations.
  • Check the full details of their offer including any extras, like extra revisions, and delivery times.
  • Start off with a small project that you offer to a few different sellers.

Why you should hire a design agency

Hiring a design agency is the most expensive option on this list, so it will require a tremendous commitment. But there’s a good reason for this.

The result is a world-class design created by a team of designers with A-list clients. It’s not just about the result. Design agencies bring entire discovery phases, they hold meetings, and they handle you with care all the way.

You’ll find branding design agencies to help you with the entire process, from creating a logo to making strategies for using it. You can even find full-service WordPress development agencies who can help you build a website and create a visual identity for it.

Conclusion

Now that you know the difference between a logotype vs logomark vs logo, you’re ready to go out and get a professional logo for your business or organization.

We covered a lot of ground today, so to recap:

A logotype is any logo that uses text. They are the ideal choice when trying to get your name out there and build recognition. You should also consider using them if you have a catchy and memorable name that is famous or reveals something about your business.

A logomark is a picture-based logo best suited for any organization with a name that translates to symbols easily. If you have an object or animal in your name, then a logomark could be an elegant solution.

Finally, when you have all the elements together you can create a combination mark by…well, combining them. While the above tips still apply, a combination mark offers more flexibility for multi-channel marketing.

Have any questions about logotypes? Ask away in the comments section!

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