Logo Styles: Wordmarks, Emblems, and Everything in Between

Your logo is the most important branding tool after your business’s name. In fact, 75% of people recognize a brand by its logo. It’s present on your products, website, business cards, advertisements, and, most importantly, your consumers’ minds. A logo is a point of identification that should trigger positive brand recall among consumers. 

A logo style that’s in sync with your brand personality and company values can create a timeless branding asset for your company. That’s why it’s important to keep logo design best practices in mind while finalizing your logo, such as choosing the right color and font proportions. 

This article breaks down some of the most popular logo styles and what different types of logo designs mean for your business. You can choose to create a logo by taking inspiration from these logo styles or create a combination mark that combines multiple styles to create a unique identity for your brand.

Wordmarks or logotypes

A wordmark logo is your company’s full name stylized in a specific font or typeface—in other words, it consists of only text. A wordmark should ideally use a distinct treatment of fonts to differentiate itself from commonly used typefaces. 

Memorable examples of wordmark logos are Disney, FedEx, and Coca-Cola. All three use stylized fonts, colors, and typesetting to create an unmistakable identity for their brands. 


An important aspect to consider before picking wordmark logos is your business’s name. Wordmarks don’t work well for long brand names, as the logo must fit in limited spaces like smartphone screens. 

Some pros of a wordmark logo include:

  • Ideal for new businesses that want to highlight their names. A wordmark highlights your brand name, leaving no room for confusion. A wordmark increases consumer recognition and retention, which can benefit new businesses. 
  • Easy exposure for the logo and company name. A wordmark gives your company quick and easy exposure since it’s visible on all products and marketing materials, further increasing brand retention and recognition. 

If you have a succinct brand name, a wordmark might be the way to go for your logo symbol. 


Letterform logos are acronyms or initials of your company name. Letterform logos are also known as lettermark logos or monogram logos. Some common letterform logos are the LV for Louis Vuitton and H&M for Hennes & Mauritz. HBO, CNN, McDonald’s, and IBM also use letterform logos. 

Letterform logos are a simple way to condense longer company names and are easily adaptable across materials. 


Typography plays an important role in letterform logos. Since they consist of only a few letters, choosing a font and typesetting that ensures legibility, definition, and prominence is crucial. 

Advantages of using a letterform logo are:

  • Helps simplify names. Longer brand names can be tricky to place in restricted spaces. A letterform logo simplifies a long name that can fit in various spaces. 
  • Differentiates yourself from the competition. Acronyms or monograms are powerful recognition tools consumers can easily remember. A letterform logo can help you stand out from the crowd and create a strong brand identity.

A business name in a font alone isn’t enough; your logo should have a stylized typeface. Consider hiring a professional logo designer with expertise and an eye for detail to create a strong letterform logo for your brand. 


An emblem logo uses a pictorial element and the company name. The two are never separated, creating an iconic logo lockup. The Harley-Davidson, BMW, and Warner Bros. logos are examples of emblem logos. 


Emblems are some of the oldest logotypes. They’ve been used for crests, seals, stamps, and government agency symbols. Emblem logos are often more detailed than simple wordmarks or letterforms. They’re associated with superior quality and reliability due to their long history and intricacy. 

Some advantages of emblems:

  • Provide more creative freedom for marketing or brand promotion. An emblem contains pictorial elements, so you have more than just a name to work with. This allows you to be more creative while designing a logo.
  • Give a more professional look to a company. An emblem elevates your brand’s overall look and feel. These types of logos exude power and professionalism. For example, most automobile company logos, such as the Volkswagen and Porsche emblems, are considered classic and have remained unchanged for decades. 

A drawback of an emblem logo is illegibility in smaller spaces, as it always needs to be represented using all elements. This makes scalability a challenge and makes emblem logos less versatile.


A mascot is an illustrated character used in a logo to create a strong visual aid for your brand. These mascots often become spokespersons for your brand and can add a unique touch to all marketing exercises. Some famous brands with mascots in their logos are KFC, Wendy’s, and Pringles. 


Mascot logos are most commonly used for service companies, sports teams, and food and beverage brands. By adding a face to your brand, even one that is a cartoon rather than human, you instantly make your business more approachable. 

Some pros of creating a mascot logo for your business are:

  • Great way to establish your brand’s image. A mascot mirrors your brand’s image. The character becomes a vehicle for communicating the traits of your brand, simplifying the task of establishing your brand’s values and personality. 
  • Recommended for family-friendly companies. A friendly face is appreciated across all age groups. Mascots connect you with family members and help them form a long-term connection with your brand. 
  • Creates interaction with the audience through a character. Consumers can’t interact with a wordmark or an emblem. However, a mascot lets you create an entity that can communicate and interact on behalf of your brand. 

Introducing a mascot can be a simple way to make your brand more appealing to your target audience. 


A pictorial logo is a graphic or image-based mark. These kinds of brand logos often use recognizable images that are stylized to create unique visual brand recognition. Some iconic brands that use pictorial marks as their logos are Apple, Twitter, and Target. 


Pictorial logos are often inspired by the brand name or are pictorial representations of what the company does. As the pictorial is only a visual, wordless element representing the brand, it needs to be extremely simple and easy to understand.

While this option can be hard to implement for new businesses, established brands with high recognition can benefit by opting for pictorial logos. While considering a pictorial logo, some features to keep in mind are:

  • Minimalist approach. Since pictorial logos use only a visual aid, choosing this kind of logo can help you take a minimalist approach to branding. A representative image sends a quick and clear message of recognition to your consumers.
  • Memorable and easy to promote. Pictorial logos are easy to remember due to their simple design. Additionally, since it’s a singular visual element, space is never an issue while promoting your brand. 

A pictorial logo based on your offerings may not be the best option if you intend to diversify your services and offerings in the future, as the logo might then seem irrelevant or dated. 

Abstract logos

Abstract logos are abstract representations of an idea usually conveyed through interesting shapes. Instead of a direct message, abstract logo marks convey brand values or ideas through highly conceptual design.

Companies with popular abstract logos include Mastercard, Pepsi, and Adidas. You’ll need to use these logos repetitively to cultivate the emotion you want to evoke among consumers. 

abstract logos

Moreover, abstract logos provide freedom to create abstract brand marks that aren’t restricted by brand name or emblems. However, companies can choose to combine abstract logo marks with the company name and create combination logos that they use for social media branding and marketing. 

Some benefits of opting for an abstract logo are: 

  • Intriguing to consumers. In today’s visually stimulating world, a mnemonic that communicates indirectly is intriguing and will hold consumers’ attention for a longer time. Your mark has the potential to be unique and instantly recognizable. 
  • Provides freedom for a multi-focus company. Companies with a presence across sectors can benefit from having an abstract logo; it doesn’t need to conform to a certain industry’s aesthetic.

If your company name doesn’t directly translate to visual cues that you can use to build a logo, an abstract mark might be a good choice for your brand. 

Dynamic logos

As opposed to static logos, dynamic logos adapt to the context in which they’re used. Ever seen Google adjust its logo for Mother’s Day or Independence Day? That’s a classic example of a dynamic logo. 

dynamic logos

Dynamic logos can use different colors, fonts, and shapes than those used for the official logo. The designer has complete creative freedom to make a dynamic logo.

These logos are mostly used by companies that are already well-established with a solid customer base. Ideally, to use a dynamic logo, you need to have strong brand recognition.

Some benefits of using a dynamic logo are:

  • Open to change. Since a dynamic logo is adaptable to specific contexts and situations, it shows that your business is adaptable and open to change.
  • Virality. If you design a good dynamic logo, you have a higher chance of going viral because people are likely to talk about your new logo.

Get the right logo for your company

Logos play an important role in strengthening consumers’ ability to identify and distinguish your brand. A logo is a vital element of your branding, as it forms the basis of your company’s identity. Finalizing one image to represent your entire business can seem daunting, but creating a logo can be fun and insightful. 

Now that you understand the importance of good branding, you might be wondering how to design a good logo. Start by defining your company’s core values and beliefs. These can help you define the emotions you want to convey with your logo. You can use logo design software to create a logo or hire a professional graphic designer and let their expertise guide the rest of your branding. 

If you want to create a distinctive identity for your brand or freshen up an existing one, consider hiring an independent graphic designer through Upwork to do the job for you.

And if you’re an independent professional, consider signing up for Upwork today. We have plenty of companies worldwide that need graphic designers to help them make a logo.

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Logo Styles: Wordmarks, Emblems, and Everything in Between
The Upwork Team

Upwork is the world’s work marketplace that connects businesses with independent talent from across the globe. We serve everyone from one-person startups to large, Fortune 100 enterprises with a powerful, trust-driven platform that enables companies and talent to work together in new ways that unlock their potential.

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