Fundamentals of Logo Design Part 2: Typographic Logos

By Jennifer Farley

Last week, in the first part of this series on the fundamentals of logo design, we looked at some of the qualities that a good logo should have. When you’re getting started with logo design it can be helpful to think about the categories that logos fall into. These are:

  • Typographic
  • Type & Symbols
  • Symbol Only

Today, we’ll take a look at the first category, typographic logos.

Typographic logos or wordmarks are logos made entirely from type. They suffer from the misconception that they are very quick to throw together and that their design doesn’t require any skill. This is absolutely not the case. A logo designer needs to address questions such as “who is the client” and “who is the target audience.”

While it can seem straightforward to simply use a company or individual’s name on the logo, the typography must be of a high standard or it will look amateurish. Good typography means choosing a suitable typeface (or making a bespoke or proprietary typeface), looking after word spacing and letter spacing. The letterforms should be considered for their shape and legibility. Remember also that a font that may be trendy now can look dated very quickly. Classic typefaces are “classic” for a reason.

An advantage of typographic logos is that the mark is recognizable. There must be hundreds of logos featuring symbols of globes, swooshes and other meaningless shapes but there can be no mistake made when the logo consists of a type treatment of the company name. A disadvantage is that type only logos can look generic if not handled professionally.

Famous Typographic Logos

Here are a few examples of some well-known typographic logos.

Below you can see two logos created using a stylized script typeface. They clearly are two very different types of company with two very different target audiences.

Stussy-StockLogo1_1 harrods-logo

Marks and Spencer and Calvin Klein both use a clean sans-serif typeface.

mands CalvinKlein

White text on a red background, anyone ever had a pair of jeans made by either of these companies?

levisLogo diesel_logo

What are your favorite typographic logos?

  • TomBradshaw

    Typographic logos look like the easiest to do but when your there with a blank piece of paper the idea becomes a lot more difficult. Thinking about it, a lot of large companies have logos like this Coca Cola, Twitter, Facebook, BBC, RTE – they all work for their target audience and are instantly recognisable – these must have taken a lot of time and effort (I on the other do logos in minutes and for free lol)

  • Jennifer Farley

    Tom why are you doing logos for free? It’s a skill that deserves payment.

  • kooldesigning

    Hi Tom –
    I have seen many logos with very interesting typographs like 3d text style, rock text style… and these typographs indeed tell what the business field is.
    I was wondering if there is any source where i can find very interesting text styles ?
    for example:
    modboard (43) on this page
    Galeria291 (4)
    Water flow logo example on this page

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