Join Sean Adams for an in-depth discussion in this video Wordmarks, part of Branding for Designers.
- There are many words used to describe a logo - wordmark, icon, symbol, signature, ID, brandmark, trademark, and probably more that I haven't heard. I can't keep track of all the new ways to call it, so I stay with the basics - wordmark, monogram, icon, and logo. Let's begin with a wordmark. A wordmark is just that, a word that is a mark. It's the company name typeset in a proprietary way and used consistently.
Some of the most successful brands in history use a wordmark, such as Ford, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Facebook. The upside of a wordmark is that it is easy to identify. I can read the name and know who the company is. I don't need to decipher a symbol or remember a special icon. The downside is that it relies on reading. It may not be easily understood in other languages, like Chinese or Arabic. Some wordmarks, like Coca-Cola, transcend this problem, but that's taken over a hundred years and billions of dollars to be recognized globally simply by the shape of the letter forms and the color.
Another issue with a wordmark is the tendency for people to try to make it on their own. A non-designer might say, "I can make that logo on my memo form. "I have a font like that." That's not good. It creates confusion for the audience and diminishes the equity of the mark. A wordmark must be unique enough to discourage civilians from trying to make it alone. A good wordmark isn't simply typeset. It should be a proprietary set of letter forms easy to read and memorable.
The wordmark is not a typeset word. It's an icon of a name. The letter forms in a successful wordmark have been modified to read faster. The Mobil wordmark has an incredibly low cap height and simplified forms. It has perfect circles and straight lines that all match. This is impossible with Futura out of the box. It isn't a typeface. It's customized and refined. Don't get trapped in the world of hard line sans serif letter forms.
Some of the most interesting wordmarks are scripts or feel handwritten. The point is to create an iconic representation of the name that expresses the brand attributes.
- The history of branding (pre- and post-1950)
- The elements of branding
- Conducting research
- Solving problems and presenting solutions
- Creating logos and identity systems
- Building a visual system with color, typography, and more
- Communicating branding with manuals and vision books