"We need a new logo," declared my client. "Our old one is outdated and needs to be refreshed." After analyzing their current logo and website carefully, I suggested that they adopt a typographical logo treatment instead of using a simple logomark to build their brand.

This was met with a cocked head of confusion. In fact, many business owners don't realize that a logo can be differentiated as a logomark, a logotype, or a combination of both. 

A logomark is a graphic element by which the public can identify a brand. Examples include McDonald's Golden Arches, Nike's "Swoosh" or the iconic Apple Computer icon.

On the other hand, a logotype is a word or group of separate letters designed in a particular fashion. Examples include the famous Google typographical logo. There is no accompanying image, but the unique treatment of the word itself makes it memorable to the world.

Which type of logo (or combination of both) is right for your business? In choosing your ideal logo type, consider the following: 

1. Determine your budget.

Hiring a professional to design a logo for your business can be an expensive endeavor. It can cost anywhere between $3,000 to $30,000, depending on the type and complexity of your logo.

In general, logomarks are more expensive to create. Of course, you always have the cheaper option of hiring a freelancer online on freelance platforms, such as Fiverr. 

Although there are many great logo designers out there offering their services for a wide range of prices, it's a case of buyer beware. Be sure to check out the designer's ratings and reviews in advance.

If you're on a strict budget, try out a free site like BrandCrowd, where you can get an assortment of possible logos for your company at no charge. While these logos may not always be the quality needed for a final design, they can be a great source of inspiration as a place to start. 

2. Consider the competitions.

One of my clients was in the pharmacy business and needed a new logo. In researching online, I saw that almost every other apothecary logo I came across was a variation of the traditional mortar and pestle.

Although this "on the nose" image is a clear indicator of what the company does, it was so overused it offered no visual brand differentiation. I encouraged the company to create a logomark (instead of just a logotype) that was more in line with their brand. 

By spending a little time to research what your competitors's logos look like, you can gain insight into how you can distinguish yourself with your own logo design. 

3. Choose your color with care. 

From websites and social media to hard copy collateral, your logo colors will be a driving factor in the visual message that you send across the board.

Clients often tell me, "I love the color X," Going back to the article I wrote last month, it should be emphasized that loving your logo doesn't mean it's on brand.

It is essential to consider the psychological message conveyed by the colors you choose, their congruence with your brand and the way they will resonate with your market.

One warning: there are times when your logo will be shown in black-and-white, so a logo that only shines bright in color isn't a good choice. Test any potential logo to make sure that it looks good, whether it is in black-and-white or full color. 

Keep in mind that logotypes are generally (but not always) comprised of a single color, where logomarks frequenty feature two or three colors. 

4. Articulate your message and mood.  

I'm surprised at how many people tell me they are looking to revise their brand, but fail to articulate its intended mood or message clearly. It's essential to articulate the tone of your brand before you build a logo.

Don't be fooled into thinking that this matters more with a logomark than it does with a logotype. It doesn't. Reflecting your message and mood is equally important with both types of logos. 

5. Stay current. 

Designs go in and out of fashion, and logos are no exception. Take the time to consider how you might utilize at least one of these hot logo design trends for 2020.   

  • Inventive Geometry. Arranging basic shapes in creative ways. Think triangles playing Twister with one another. 
  • Color gradation. Taking one color from light to dark in the same logo. Think an ombre scarf, but in typographical form. 
  • Unusual arrangements. From breaking up your text in an unexpected way to moving letters around in a non-linear fashion. Think a word spelled out in a box, rather than a straight line. 

Whether you end up going with a logomark, logotype, or a combination of both, considering your logo design thoroughly can bring you a logo that lasts a lifetime.