Logo Parts

Written on the 8 February 2014 by Kellie Williams

Logos are generally made up of two parts. There is the logotype which is a uniquely set and arranged typeface, and the logo which is a picture or symbol that doesn’t rely on text to be recognizable. All logos have one or both of these parts. A good example of the difference would be the Apple logo (logo) verses the Google logo (logotype).

It is also important to know that logos or icons fall into four specific categories - similar, example, symbolic and arbitrary - and to understand the difference.

Similar icons are usually very literal and simple objects, actions or concepts. Many road signs fall into this category.

Example icons usually convey a complex action in a single image. They use an image that we readily associate with a larger range of activity than the image itself, like a plane for an airport.

Symbolic icons are used when an action or concept can be conveyed with a recognizable shape and are more conceptual as the image often doesn’t literally do what it is explaining, like a padlock for security.

Arbitrary icons use imagery that must be learned to understand the meaning and they bear little immediate connection to the concept that they convey. An obvious example is the icon for radioactive materials.

It is not necessary for your logo to explain everything about your organisation. This can get too confusing. Good logos simply identify an organisation and are able to exist in a variety of contexts, from print to online, billboards to embroidery.


This article was published in Zoom in Business magazine Issue 11.

Kellie WilliamsAuthor: Kellie Williams
About: Kellie studied Commercial Art over 25 years ago at James Cook University and has been working in the Printing and Media industries ever since. She has worked for screenprinters, printing companies and newspapers in North Queensland and now runs her own business, Jasper Design, servicing Qld and interstate clients.
Connect via: LinkedIn


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