A lot of thought goes into making a great logo but beyond brand messaging and the obvious design rules, there are a few things you might want to consider in relation to versatility, including:
There are many styles of logo but here are a couple of the most recognisable categories.
Word mark (text)
A word mark is a type of text-only logo that often uses a very stylised and unique typography. If you’ve got a short, distinct name, this is a good option.
The word mark’s “simplicity” means the business name doesn’t get lost in other design elements. Many major brands have used word marks quite successfully. Examples include Coca-Cola, Google and FedEx.
Letter mark (initials)
Like word marks, Letter marks (aka monogram logos) are based on text but typically only use initials or an abbreviation. This is a great alternative when your business name is long. Well-known examples of letter marks include IBM, NASA and HBO.
Tip: If you’re a new business you may want to add your full business name below a letter mark logo so people can learn who you are, right from the start.
An emblem logo consists of text inside a symbol or an icon; like a badge, crest or seal. Since these types of logos tend to have a traditional appearance about them that can make a striking impact, they are often chosen by schools, organisations or government agencies. However, other well-known examples include Starbucks Coffee, Harley Davidson Motor Cycles and Warner Brothers Studios.
Just try to keep it neat and legible and don’t overcrowd it. You want it to be replicable across different marketing materials.
How many versions should you have?
For marketing purposes, having a range of logo variations makes a lot of sense as it allows you to have options for different applications. For example, you might need a more simplified version that is easier to read if it is on a smaller format e.g. your business card. Or you may want a black & white version for your letterhead.
Ideally you will have a style guide or brand book where you set out the rules for each of the variations depending on the situation. The style guide should include information about typeface and specific colour values like hexadecimal or pantone numbers.
93 of the top 100 brands use logos designed to be recognizable in small sizes.(Source: Zuza)
How best to protect your logo
When it comes to protecting your logo, having multiple versions can be tricky. When the time comes to lodge your trade mark application we’d usually say ‘pick the one you’ll use the most’ for filing, otherwise it can become cost prohibitive (unless you have the budget of McDonald’s or the like).
An Australian trade mark registration only secures your rights within Australia. When you decide to trade mark your brand, one of the first questions we’ll ask is if you think you might want to export your goods or services overseas. And if so, in which countries? Then we will need to determine whether you should file trade mark applications in those countries.
What about the colour?
Did you know that in Australia, a trade mark filed in colour is protected for all colour variants, unless particular colours are listed separately in the application? While this applies to many other countries this isn’t the case everywhere so it is best to double check.
File your trade mark application with the logo you intend to use the most or your primary logo. Bearing in mind you will need to keep using that version to maintain registration. If your brand consists of a distinctive word or words, you might also choose to file a plain word trade mark, which will provide some flexibility in terms of font and colour usage into the future. Our Trade Marks Attorneys can provide further advice on the best trade mark filing strategy based on your specific circumstances.
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