Your logo icon is the central focus of your visual, and it conveys so much about your brand, specifically who you are and what you do. It’s almost effortless!
If you see a logo with a cupcake as an icon, you’d know right away that it belongs to a bakery business. That’s precisely what choosing the right logo icon does for your brand—it is the foundation of the associations people potentially make about your business.
Over time, these collective associations transition to a valuable business asset, one that most companies covet with a passion: brand recognition. There’s a lot on the line here, so where do you start? How do you choose the perfect logo icon for your brand?
First of all, it’s worth noting that logo icons are not mandatory. Maybe your logo is a wordmark or a lettermark, and that’s okay too. But logo icons (should you decide on having one) boast a powerful impact on the recognizability of your logo and your brand.
Some of the most famous logos in the world have chosen logo icons of different types and styles, but they each share one thing: a strong grasp of what the business represents. Before you start finding the perfect logo icon for you, take a deep dive into your brand and what it stands for. Once you do, everything else becomes a breeze!
Read below to learn about the ways you can use logo icons, and find out which one tickles your fancy the most.
7 Creative Ways To Use A Logo Icon
This is an outline of the seven ways you can take on your logo icon and have it express exactly who you are in no time. Regardless of your preferences, whether you’re going for literal or symbolic, you will surely find the perfect one that makes your logo shine the brightest.
1. Abstract icons
Abstract logo icons are one of the most common options as they leave much room for imagination and symbolic representations.
Ironically, abstract logo icons typically have the most meaning and significance among the rest of the types. These visuals are not merely swirls, curves, and lines on a logo—they are illustrations of something more profound.
A great example of an abstract logo icon is Airbnb.
The Airbnb logo comprises a collection of curves that almost make up the visual of a house, a graphic massively relevant to what they do as a business. However, that wasn’t the only inspiration behind the logo.
The Airbnb logo is actually comprised of three elements put together into a unified message.
A person’s head is in the center to represent people and community. A heart to represent love and satisfaction, which is the overall icon upside down. And lastly, an ‘A’ for Airbnb, which takes on the icon’s shape. All three elements come together in an abstract design that tells a meaningful story of belongingness.
Not only does the logo communicate what Airbnb offers, but it also represents a deeper scheme of their brand mission and goals. And that’s precisely what you want in an abstract logo icon.
2. Animal icons
Just like brand colors, animal logo icons represent various attributes, traits, and personalities. Do you sell winter apparel? If you do, a polar bear would be a great choice. Do you specialize in yoga and meditation? Why not try a dove to represent calmness and freedom? The possibilities are endless!
Animal visuals activate a certain instinctual command in consumers’ minds, inclining them to take action. Not to mention, these logo icons are also relatively easy to remember. People have to work to remember abstract icons, but everyone already knows what a particular animal looks like. Building the association is where the challenge lies.
Lacoste is a classic example of an animal logo icon to reach immense success.
Founder, Rene Lacoste, was once a very successful tennis player in the 1920s. He eventually earned the nickname “Crocodile” when he made a compromising bet with the opposing team. The reward? A suitcase made out of crocodile skin. Unfortunately, he lost the bet, but the nickname stuck around.
Imprinting himself and his identity into his new business, he chose the icon of a crocodile to complement his brand name. Today, it’s almost effortless to associate the sight of a green crocodile with the successful, world-renowned brand that is Lacoste.
Talk about losing the battle but winning the war!
3. Emblem icons
Did you know that logos originated from crests and emblems? Once upon a time, noble families needed to create symbols to represent the unity among their clans. This act paved the way for the existence of logos, and emblems remain to be just as relevant as ever.
Given the historical significance, emblem logo icons evoke a sense of prestige and nobility. They are also loaded with details and elements, making them the perfect choice for a brand that has much to say.
Take Stella Artois as an example. This business has been around since 1366, and its logo remains unchanged, making it one of the oldest active logos in the world.
With red, gold, and white brand colors, the Stella Artois logo evokes elegance at its finest. And with 600 years in the beer brewing industry, the emblem logo icon remains as refreshing and strong as a cool mug of beer.
If you’re looking for an air of sophistication that stands the test of time, you can’t go wrong with the emblem.
4. Geometric icons
Whether it’s circles, squares, even hexagons—geometric logo icons are a versatile and popular option among many businesses with differing industries. Geometric designs provide a sense of precision, stability, and accuracy, and let’s be honest, those are definitely qualities you want to be associated with your business.
Additionally, shapes can be as symbolic as colors and animals. Take a circle, for example. A simple circle can take on an everlasting and timeless feel to it. A triangle can represent a trifecta of attributes that come together in a unified message.
Curious about the business that exemplifies this well? It’s Toyota!
In 1990, Toyota released its new logo depicting the overlapping of three ovals. Sounds pretty simple, right? However, these ovals each represent the core mission of the business.
The overlapping of ovals symbolizes the coming together of the hearts of their customers and the impact of Toyota products. The space in the background represents technological advancement and the growth and opportunities ahead of the business.
Not just pretty shapes on a page, huh?
5. Interactive icons
How does a logo icon actually interact with consumers? It’s more doable than you think! Interactive logo icons get great results as they have the potential to engage and affect customers by eliciting a thought or an emotion.
The challenge here is the construction of these icons. They require immense planning and cohesiveness. After all, you’re coming up with a logo icon that evokes a subconscious response. Who could have managed to achieve this? Amazon did.
The Amazon logo icon looks like an unassuming yellow arrow, but there’s a hint of depth between the curves. The arrow also looks like a friendly smile, which inspires positivity and optimism among customers. Wait, there’s more!
The arrow further represents the brand’s promise: to provide customers with everything from A to Z, which evokes professionalism and trust. Amazon’s logo is a clear example of what interactive icons can do, and it works on so many levels.
6. Mascot icons
If you’re looking for a sentimental and unique way to express your brand story, mascot logo icons do this perfectly. A mascot is a spokesperson for the business, whether it’s an actual person or an animated silhouette that signifies the brand’s personality.
Mascot logo icons have the potential to build meaningful bonds with your target audience, giving them the feeling of an actual connection with this brand entity. Your business movements are no longer theoretical in people’s minds. With mascots, they subconsciously envision this entity as the stronghold of the company.
In other words, mascot logo icons humanize your business, giving life to an enterprise.
Take Mr. Clean, for example.
Mr. Clean is a business that offers all-purpose cleaning materials. The brand’s mascot was created by Procter & Gamble, a company specializing in hygiene and cleanliness products since the 1950s. The man is most known for his bald and shiny head, a tight and clean white shirt, and the folding of his arms to represent confidence.
This mascot logo icon became the face of Mr. Clean. It was no longer just a business with a clever name— he was the Mr. Clean!
Today, the mascot has an undeniable association with the business, its customers, and even general cleanliness as a concept—quite a feat.
7. Pictorial icons
Pictorial logo icons are basically illustrations of a real-life object. Most of the time, it comes straight to mind when you think of a logo. McDonald’s golden arches, Burger King’s juicy buns, and Apple’s apple are typical examples of pictorial icons.
These logo icons are the easiest and straightforward to remember as they don’t entail much imagination with customers. These are everyday life images. But it’s up to you to give them a unique spin! And truth be told, it doesn’t have to be complicated.
Have you ever wondered by Apple chose an image of an apple with a bite taken out of it? Given the company’s global fame and impact, you’d think this reason to be significant and purposeful.
Steve Jobs chose the icon of an apple because he was in the middle of an all-fruit diet when he came up with the idea for the business. And the bite? It’s there, so people don’t end up confusing it with a cherry.
Pictorial logo icons don’t need to be out of this world. Incorporate a simple and unique take to an ordinary object, and you are golden.
Choosing The Best Logo Icon
It can be tough to find the best logo icon amidst such a wide selection of choices, but fingers crossed, this article helped you find the most suitable element for your visual.
Remember that you may not get it right on the first try, and that’s okay; it’s an ongoing journey. Even the biggest have names have dabbled in multiple redesigns and concept changes.
As long as you continue to strive for the branding successes of your business, no matter how long or strenuous the process gets, you inch your way closer to greatness.