What is a Logo, Anyway?
While graphic designers can work in many visual areas, they can also focus their entire careers just on designing logos, or marks. These are small graphics or icons that represent a brand, or company. This is also called Identity Design. In a sense, a brand is what a company feels like. You have a feeling when you see a logo for McDonalds and a very different feeling when you see a logo for Disney. The feeling these brands give you are neither good nor bad, they are just different. Companies spend millions of dollars to create their branding. When we hear the word branding, we immediately thing of the logo, but branding also includes the website or digital media and if the company has a physical space, then the interior design of that space is important to the brand so that the customer gets a specific feeling when interacting with this company in person. But, branding is also how you are treated by people who work in a company, how the company responds to problems and their overall business practices. Eventually as a brand develops, the customer will feel those feelings by looking at the logo.
For us, as budding designers, we are going to focus on the logo piece of the branding world. So, where did logos and branding come from? Yep, you guessed it. Cattle.
Cattle ranchers burn a branding iron into their cattle to tell who they belong to if one goes astray. Each ranch has a distinct mark representing it.
If we translate this to business or personal branding, we look at an area of design that captures in a concise way a representation of that company’s brand.
Logos can come in many forms, as well, we just tend to call everything a logo in a generic way. The proper terms for the variations are: Abstract Mark, Mascot Logo, Combination Mark, Emblem Logo, Lettermark, Pictoral Mark and Wordmark (or logotype). Here are some examples of each kind.
Now that you understand what a brand/ identity and a logo are, let’s get your feet wet with your own logo design. Here is a terrific beginner logo design project for you! Happy designing!