By Princess Jones

A logo is your small business’ calling card. It represents your brand. You can set the tone with your customers through your logo. You can telegraph your intentions and mark your territory with a good logo.

But all logos aren’t the same. Whether your business is still in the infant stages or you’re rebranding an established business, you should take into account all of your options for your small business logo. Here are the basics.


A wordmark is a logo that incorporates the name of the business or organization. Facebook, Google, and Yahoo all use wordmarks. Similarly, a lettermark is a logo that incorporates certain letters–usually the initials–of a business’ name. Chanel, HP, and CNN are all brands that use a lettermark logo.

In both cases, the letters are generally stylized in some way. It’s also common to create your own proprietary font for those logos to avoid possible copycats. Wordmarks are great for businesses with distinctive names. On the other hand, consider a lettermark if your business has a long name or one that’s hard to spell or pronounce.


Icon logos are ones where a symbol is used to represent the brand. Microsoft, Apple, Target, and Disney all have icons associated with their brands.

Although icons look great on product packaging and displays, keep in mind that icons work best for very well established brands. There aren’t any other elements to give the consumer clues about who you are. Very few businesses use a icon as their only logo.


When letters and symbols are positioned next to one another to represent a brand, that’s a combination logo. Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, and Adidas all have combination logos. These are a great compromise between a wordmark or lettermark and an icon. You also have the option to split the logo into either an icon or letters for additional branding purposes..

Combination logos tend to be more expensive to create because so much more work is involved. But they are easier to trademark because the combination of words and images makes them more distinctive.


Emblem logos combine symbols and words, too. However, the combination logo only has those elements side by side. The emblem incorporates them in a way that makes it difficult to separate. Burger King and Harley Davidson both have emblem logos.

If you ever wonder whether a logo is a combination or emblem, imagine separating the words from the images. If the elements could stand on their own, it’s combination logo. If they couldn’t, it’s an emblem.