Simplicity is key when creating a logo, and lettermarks are about as simple as it gets. They’re similar to wordmarks in that they’re comprised of text, but highlight the company’s initials rather than their full name. From a cognitive standpoint, using two or three letters makes it easier for customers to internalize and recall your company’s name and brand. That brand awareness and identification are foundational to generating interest in and recognition of your company.
56% of the top brands’ logos incorporate both text and a symbol. Combination marks are the best of both worlds, so it makes sense that they’d be so popular; they spell out the name of a company while simultaneously associating it with a visual icon.
Because combination marks are more complex, they require more time and thought to design effectively. But that extra work gives you a logo design that’s more versatile than most. These logo types can often be split apart, giving you the ability to use the text or the symbol independently if the situation calls for it.
Unlike combination marks, which position text and symbols side-by-side, emblems involve placing text inside of a symbol so that the two are practically inseparable. Emblems are a bit on the inflexible side, since they can’t be separated into individual elements the way that a combination mark can. In exchange, you get a more compact logo design that can more easily fit both your graphical symbol and company name into tighter spaces.
Wordmarks work best when the name of the company is very distinctive. Google has a simple, minimalist logo design, but it works for them in part because their name is so quirky and memorable (not to mention short). Text-only logo styles are an excellent choice for smaller companies who are just getting their feet off the ground. When getting the word out about your business is crucial, it’s not a bad idea to have a logo that very clearly communicates the name of your company.
There’s one primary advantage of brand mark logos, because they use a single graphic or symbol and don’t incorporate the company’s name, they transcend language barriers. For this reason, many global companies use the brand mark style. Small and medium-sized companies that have yet to establish themselves as a national brand or have no plans to expand internationally should shy away from brand mark logos, because they don’t include the company name. Note that in that same study of the world’s top 100 brands, only 6% of them consisted solely of a symbol.