What is a Logo?


The word logo (abbreviation of logotype) comes from Ancient Greek. λόγος (lógos) means ‘word, speech,’ and τύπος (túpos) means ‘mark, imprint.’ The typographic logo, which appeared at the beginning of the 19th century, was at first synonymous with a ligature, two or three characters combined. By the second half of the century, any textual cliche was called a logo, for example, the name of a newspaper, which did not have to be typed each time anew. And in the 20th century, a logo could be almost anything: a typeface, a sign, or a combination of both.

This article aims to explain the term more broadly and make the reader understand what the logo is, what it consists of, and why it is important.

Types and examples of logos

Broadly speaking, a logo is a symbol represented by an image, text, shape or a combination of these elements that identify a business.

Specific types of logos come in all different shapes and sizes. Usually, they’re devices in the following groups: emblems, letter marks (monograms), wordmarks, pictorial marks, abstract logos, mascot logos, and combination logos.

Best examples:

Emblem: Starbucks, NFL, Warner Brothers

Lettermark (monogram): HBO, CNN, Louis Vuitton

Wordmark: Disney, Coca-Cola, Netflix

Pictorial marks: Apple, Twitter, Instagram

Abstract logos: Airbnb, Pepsi, Chanel

Mascot: KFC, Michelin

Combination marks: Dropbox, Dove, Taco Bell

Purpose of Logos

It Identifies

Logos Identify your industry, the services you offer, your target audience, and even brand values. A logo may help people understand what your company is about and what it stands for.

It Makes the First Impression

As we said before, a logo is usually the first thing people see and interact with, so it’s an excellent way to make a good first impression and invite the audience to interact with your brand further.

It Helps You Stand Out

Logos help you stand out from the competition: a logo is a unique mark that differentiates you from other businesses. It allows customers and clients to quickly and easily identify your company.

It Helps Create a Powerful Brand Identity

The distinct logo you create can serve as a starting point to build upon and should be aligned with the overall vision of your branding. Logos help in building brand awareness and can make a lasting impression on customers. When customers see your logo, they should be able to immediately think of your company.

It Builds Recognition

An excellent logo not only helps the audience to understand your business, it also helps them to remember you creating a strong visual association.

Elements of a Logo

While all logos differ from each other, there are certain components that can be identified as primary for logo creation.


Logos can be black and white, monochrome, or multicolored. Colors go way beyond aesthetic appeal; they also help to communicate the message and feel of your brand. With colors, you can tell your audience if your company is serious and corporate or more innovative and fun.


Any logo will usually contain some kind of typographic element. It can be used alongside the imagery or be an independent element, like in Disney, Google, Coca-Cola, or Netflix.


It can be anything from a symbolic icon to an abstract geometric element representing something you sell or a value you stand for, or it can be very simple and complex. If your imagery is complex and has a lot of different elements, it’s essential to think of how it will be resized to fit smaller placements. Imagery is optional as well, since some of the logos consist only of typography parts, as mentioned before.


A tagline usually sits under or around a logo and is a simple sentence or collection of words. Not all logos require taglines, but they can definitely make an impact and help get your brand message across.

What makes a good logo?

There are many different criteria, but some of the main things that should be thought of to make a good logo include:


A simple design is easily understandable, so it’s essential to ensure that the core message is easily caught, so the logo should be concise and easily readable.


The logo should be appropriate to both your business, the industry, and the target audience.


It’s essential to think long-term and create a logo that remains fresh and relevant for years. Trends are great, but they come and go, and your logo is going to be there for a long time.


A logo can be used in a number of different situations and places; it’s crucial that the design keeps its quality regardless of the medium, platform, and size.

Where are Logos Used?

  • Websites
  • Business Cards
  • Packaging Materials
  • Social Media Pages or Websites
  • Email Campaigns
  • Advertisement
  • Presentations

Logo Vs. Branding: What’s the difference?

Broadly speaking, a logo is part of a bigger picture — branding.

Branding is a set of tools that create certain perceptions and feelings and communicate ideas to the company’s audience. It’s a complex identity based on the company’s strategy.

Logo design is one tool used to design a brand’s visual identity. A logo can be considered one of the main graphic elements that allow people to quickly identify a company and its products and on which the brand identity is built.


Creating a logo is just one of the many steps of building a brand but a first and one of the most important ones. A logo is usually something the whole branding is built upon; it’s the thing people see first and recognize about your company, so creating a powerful logo is essential for companies to think through.

Thinking of creating a logo for your website? Check out Sketchy Digital today and see if their services fit your needs.

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Alex Jakov
Chief Executive Officer
Former co-founder of Opendoor. Early staff at Spotify and Clearbit.

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