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Smashing Logo Design: The Art of Creating Visual Identities by Gareth Hardy

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Chapter 2: Types of Logos

Logos can take on many different forms, from pictures to words to abstract symbols. Graphics allow designers to be expressive in a variety of ways. This freedom of expression translates into the logos that you see every day. Each different type of logo offers advantages and disadvantages to both the designer and the person, product, or organization that the logo identifies. In this chapter, I walk you through the main types of logos and what they’re most useful for.

Pictorial Marks

Pictorial marks are drawings—everything from simple line drawings to detailed illustrations—that use a form of literal imagery as the identifier. Pictorial marks make a quicker connection with the audience through already recognizable images. They often require no explanation, regardless of the language or culture.

The one downside to pictorial marks is that they often require assisting typography to get the message across. That said, some of the larger brands have dropped the typography from their logos altogether. This is becoming a popular trend and one that only helps to simplify the design, in addition to making it more memorable and iconic. As I was writing this book, the international coffeehouse chain Starbucks announced that its logo would be displayed free of type.

Perhaps the most popular and well-known logo that’s a pictorial mark is the logo for Apple. Believe it or not, Apple hasn’t always used such a clean and literal image to help translate the brand name. ...

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