What is a logo?

This seems like an easy question. Unfortunately is not that simple. The word “logo” has multiple meanings, and to make the issue more complex, different words are used to describe the thing we call a logo.

Arek Dvornechuck
3 min readFeb 7, 2017
  • Signs
  • Symbols
  • Marks
  • Word marks
  • Logotypes
  • Logo marks
  • Trademarks

They are all logos. However you call them, they belong to the same category They are all identifiers yet they differ from one another.

100 Best brands and their logos.


Most people think of logos as symbols containing some kind of abstract form like Nike, or pictorial element like Apple, it can also be just a name like Kellogg’s or acronym such as IBM set in a chosen typeface.

Logos are ubiquitous and present great power to unlock memories, feelings and associations.

Logos have the most exposure — that’s why designing logos is generally seen as the quintessential graphic designer’s art. It is the compression of meaning into just a few memorable marks. It’s the distillation of something big and complex into something simple and unique.

We can basically divide logos in two categories: Wordmarks and Logomark.

Wordmark vs. Logomark

Most of the time logos operate on a sliding scale between the purely verbal and the purely visual: a word with a letter that makes a visual pun (Mobil), a symbol that stands alone (Mercedes), or a combination of both (UPS).

Mobile, Mercedes, Ups


A wordmark (or logotype) is a company’s name set in a chosen typeface. In fact, a logotype, the word from which we get ‘logo’, is exactly that: a single piece of type. An example: Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s or Gillette.

Coca-Cola, FedEx, Disney


At times the logo mark may become so recognizable that they are used without the word mark, examples being the Nike swoosh, Apple’s apple, and the Time Warner Cable eye/ear symbol.

Nike, Target, Time Warner Cable

Logo is a distinctive symbol of a company, object, publication, person, service or idea. Logo is something that can hold everything about them.

A logoless company is a faceless man.

If you do not have a custom logo design yet, or people see right through the one you have, it is time for a real change. It’s time to create something special that connects with your customer’s, now and forever.