The creative business of advertising and marketing need more people like Carl Johnson of Anomaly. They speak cold, hard truths instead of all the usual waffle.
Sooner or later I was going to blog about branding, I love it! And sooner or later I was going to blog about jargon, I dislike it. In the 30 years I’ve worked in design and advertising mostly in London I’ve frequently heard ‘laugh out loud’ jargon you simply wouldn’t believe was genuinely spoken. Some words and phrases however are more useful such as word mark, letter mark, symbol, iconic logo. But what do they really mean? In the first instance above I used the word ‘branding’ as it’s the most all encompassing and covers more that simple logos, this could include collateral, interior design and so on but that’s another topic almost.
‘Word mark’ is a specific term meaning a series of letters or numbers, often with unique typographic elements, examples of this are Coca-cola Subway and Google. Of all logo types this is the most widely used.
When to opt for a word mark.
• Funds are limited so focus on name recognition.
• The name is distinctive but still not a household name.
A ‘letter mark’ is similar to a ‘word mark’ and is a wholly typographic, often involving initials or abbreviations. Monograms and anagrams are ‘letter marks’. essentially the representation of the letter(s) become a symbol.
When to opt for a letter mark.
• Your initials translate graphically better than your actual name.
• You can afford to teach the public what the letter mark means.
‘symbol’ is strong, graphic and often abstract, it complements an aspect of a business or service and represents a company by association. For example Nike or Apple.
When to opt for a symbol.
• You need an emblem on a product.
• Your name is too long or generic, doesn’t translate well, or is bland.
• You can afford to teach the public what the symbol means.
‘Iconic logotypes’ are also referred to as ‘combination marks’. An iconic logotype usually combines a brand mark symbol with a word mark, this can be loose or integral. With a loose combination, the elements can be used together or separately. A well designed iconic logotype can effectively communicate what a company does as well as reflect the company personality.
When to opt for an iconic logotype.
• You’re a startup enterprise or small business with a small budget.
• Your name is distinctive but not yet a household name.
• You need an emblem on a product, but want more than just a symbol.
As Iconic Logotypes communicate more than the other options, less marketing is needed for the logo to be effective. So iconic logotypes are the best value option, they’re perfect for new ventures or small businesses with limited budgets.