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Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Logos serve to represent a given organization or company through a visual image that can be easily understood and recognized. A logo generally involves symbols, stylized text or both. Logos are often created by a graphic artist in consultation with a company and marketing experts.

Three categories of logos exist and are often used in combination. These three categories are:

  • Ideographs - freeform images that can be entirely abstract.
  • Pictographs - symbolic, representational images.
  • Logotypes - simple, textual representations, like a company’s initials.

As a key part of an organization’s identity, a logo must try to communicate the brand essence of a company or what the organization represents. This makes designing logos a critical job for a graphic designer and is often a creative process that is heavy in research and consultation. For international organizations, cultural differences in symbolism or the associations of colors must be considered.

A logo isn't intended to explain or directly sell a company. Instead, its sole purpose is to identify the company in a way that is memorable and familiar. For example, Apple uses a bitten apple as its logo. The bitten apple does not explain what the company does or sells in any way, but it is distinctive and recognizable.

A logo is meant to be long-term as it is intended to become familiar to customers and promote brand loyalty. As a result, logos are generally not redesigned very often.

This was last updated in July 2017

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