Types of logo design with city branding examples



share
6 min read

Brands spend thousands (often millions) of dollars and countless hours developing and marketing their products. However, success often hinges on simple impressions, gut feelings, or the customer’s memory. Even when the memory and feeling about a product, a place, or service is experiential and comes from multiple positive brand experiences, the logo becomes the visual symbol that represents and reminds people of those experiences.

Sophisticated marketers know that a logo alone isn’t a brand, but it is a central element in your brand strategy. The goal of your logo shouldn’t be to communicate every essence of your brand but rather serve as a reminder of your brand and those positive experiences. This is best achieved through association. A logo that can easily and consistently be used across numerous channels has a better chance of developing meaning over time because it is always present during those positive experiences with your brand.

To help develop a logo, it’s important to consider the different types of logo approaches and formats that are commonly used to determine which approach would work best for your brand.

 

What are the different types of logo design?

▪ Iconic / Symbolic – An iconic or symbolic logo uses imagery to relate to your product, company name, or even communicate the intangible such as positioning, mission, or ethics. Often, these are the most recognizable brands in the world because a symbol can stand on its own, even without the brand name, which emphasizes the role of association. The simpler it is to use across diverse channels, the more likely it is to develop a stronger connection with your brand. The same mark can be used really small (on a pen, website favicon, or social media profile) or really big (like on the side of your corporate jet!) without changing. It also works across all languages because it doesn’t rely on the name of your brand.

Corporate examples of icon / symbolic marks…

 

City / destination examples of icon / symbolic marks…

 

▪ Logotype / Wordmark – This type of logo uses the details of typography to communicate the essence of your brand. The subtle personality differences of typography should never be underestimated. Not all brands are big enough to achieve brand recognition without including their name in their logo. Because of that, we really love a good wordmark. It includes the brand name but is still really simple and is still a single element rather than a combination of multiple elements like the combination mark. In our opinion, a good wordmark can come off as a little more sophisticated than a combination mark because of its simplicity and directness and I think you’ll find that is true of most brands that employ a simple yet unique wordmark.

Corporate examples of logotype / wordmarks…

City / destination examples of logotype / wordmarks…

 

▪ Combination Marks – As the name suggests, combination marks are a blend of symbolic and wordmark logos. This is the most common type of logo because it combines the power and recognition of a symbolic logo with the awareness gained from being able to read the company name. Something to consider is how you use the different elements of the logo at different times. For example, Puma sometimes uses just the wordmark element and other times just the puma icon, and at times they use them both together. This versatility can greatly enhance the brand’s flexibility.

Corporate examples of combination marks…

City / destination examples of combination marks…

▪ Dynamic Logos – A dynamic logo is a logo design that can change or adapt based on various factors such as context, user interaction, or time. Unlike static logos, which remain fixed, dynamic logos offer versatility and adaptability across different mediums and platforms. They may feature elements such as animation or responsive design to enhance engagement and relevance. Dynamic logos represent a modern approach to branding, aiming to create more memorable and engaging experiences for audiences by evolving with changing circumstances.

Here are a few corporate examples of dynamic logos…

City / destination examples of dynamic logos…

 

Responsive logos & brand systems

At CivicBrand, we rarely create a one-off logo. Instead, we develop comprehensive brand systems that will be used across a variety of channels, from digital to the built environment and everything in between. A responsive logo is a design that adjusts its size or shape based on where it’s displayed, ensuring it looks good and remains recognizable across different devices and platforms. Unlike static logos, which stay the same regardless of screen size, responsive logos adapt dynamically for optimal visibility and impact. This adaptability is crucial in today’s digital world, where logos appear on various devices, from large desktops to small mobile screens. Responsive logos help maintain brand consistency and recognition, enhancing the brand’s presence and effectiveness across different touchpoints. A brand system, like our city and county example below, also considers different levels of brand architecture and purpose, so it’s not always just about a primary mark being used at different sizes like a responsive logo.

Corporate examples of responsive logos…

 

City / destination examples of dynamic logos…

 

 

▪ Seals & Mascots – Because we work frequently with cities and universities, we mustn’t overlook seals and mascots. Official city seals often serve as the original city logo. In most cases, we recommend retaining the original seal as part of the brand system and utilizing it for official documents; however, there are instances where a refresh may be necessary. Additionally, mascots are always a fun and integral aspect of rounding out a brand system. It’s common to see universities with an athletic logo in addition to their seal and primary logo.

A full brand system extends even further beyond just logos and encompasses a range of visual language elements like patterns, textures, and icons. These elements work in concert to establish a cohesive and memorable brand framework, fostering deeper connections with audiences and enhancing brand recognition and loyalty in an ever-evolving marketplace. The work we did in High Point, NC, is an example of a brand system that includes numerous marks and levels of brand architecture, as well as those visual language elements.

At CivicBrand, logos are a big part of what we do, but we rarely just create a logo. For the brands we work with, we have to do a much deeper dive into the values, positioning, and overall brand strategy before we can determine the best approach to developing the visual identity, of which the logo is just one part. That said, we love a great logo and are big believers that simpler is always better!

 

 

share

share this page