Are you in the process of creating a logo for your business, or perhaps you’d like to redesign your current logo? Are you wondering what sort of style would work best for your logo?
In this podcast episode, Sam Carvalho speaks about letter logos, the different types, and how effective they can be.
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In This Podcast
- Letter logos
- Single letter logos
- Two letter logos
- Three letter logos
Letter logos, also called letter mark logos, are basically monograms, but they’re monograms with a purpose: they represent you to the world.
Alphabet letter logos are typically based on the name of the company, for example if your name starts with an S, your logo will more than likely incorporate an S. However, it doesn’t just have to be the letter S. Apart from choosing a typeface that fits your aesthetic and your message, there is a lot of room for creativity. The letter itself can easily become a logo image, with a little experimentation.
Single Letter Logos
Designer Michael Ian Kaye once said: What a graphic designer tries to do is make sure the typography is emotionally consistent with the brand.
One way to go about a single letter logo is to modify the letter to look like an image. This has to work on two levels, both as the letter itself and as a picture, without detracting from the letter. After all, you want to communicate clearly who you are. Another method is to look at the negative space within the logo. Creating a logo with negative space can allow you to use that space as an image in itself. Of course, if you wanted to go the more traditional route, single letter logos lend themselves very well to the monogram look. They look dignified and can stand alone, or be placed on top of a shape, or banner.
Two Letter Logos
Two letter logos lend themselves to more variations, simply because there is more space to work with. Merging the letters allows you to share strokes, keeping the size of the logo to a minimum. You can also adapt this method by interlocking letters, instead of overlapping them. This is easier to do with letters that have curves. Mirroring your letters also contributes to a unified look. This works either with letters that are already mirror images of each other, for example: D & B or W & M, or if you have the same letter multiple times. Negative space, once again, can be used to great effect.
Three Letter Logos
Three letter letter marks, although less common than the other two, look like more traditional monograms. This can include keeping the same font for each letter, but making the middle letter another third or so bigger than the other two. For these types of logos, choosing a basic, but bold sans serif font usually works best. Think about the HBO logo, for example, which is a very bold block font with a target or camera eye within the negative space of the O. Since three letters give you more opportunity for balance, a popular logo choice is to confirm the other edges of the letters to an overall shape, such as a circle. This gives your logo a sense of completeness. You could also opt for a different color of just one letter, or one portion of a letter to make each letter stand out.
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Meet Sam Carvalho
Sam Carvalho is a graphic designer living in Cape Town, South Africa, with over five years of experience in both design and marketing, with a special interest and experience in the start-up environment.
She has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016 and has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs take their practices to the next level by enhancing their visual branding. She loves working with a variety of clients on design-intensive tasks and is always up for a challenge!
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Welcome to the Marketing a Practice podcast with me, Sam Carvalho where you’ll discover everything you need to know about marketing and branding your business. To find out more about how I can help you brand new business visit www.practiceofthepractice.com/branding. And if you’d like to see some examples of my design work, be sure to follow me on Instagram at Samantha Carvalho Design. .
Hi there. Thanks so much for joining me today on the Marketing a Practice podcast. Today, we don’t have any guests. It’s just you and me and I wanted to circle back to logos and specifically letter logos. So you may not necessarily have heard of that term before, but letter logos, also called letter mark logos, are essentially monograms, but they are monograms with a purpose. They represent you to the world. And it’s something that I’ve been experimenting with personally in my own design projects is not always needing to include an illustration with the logo. And so I’m not sure about you or other designers, but I often feel the need to include an illustration in a logo to better represent the brand and all that it offers. We often think that you need an image to do that, and that you’re not effective. You’re going to be able to do that with just fonts.
But the further on I get in my design journey, I actually think that letter logos can be super impactful and can actually better represent a company in a more simplistic, impactful way than a logo including administration. And obviously it depends on your company, it depends on your preferences, it depends on the messaging that you’re going for, but I just wanted to highlight letter logos and speak a bit into how you can grow by creating a letter logo if it’s something that you would like to explore, if you are, if you have a creative side to you and you’re wanting to kind of play around with this option, or if it’s something that you want to explore together with your designer. And I also wanted to say that letter logos work well for counseling practices in particular, because what I’ve found with a lot of counseling practices is that they have long names and it can be very difficult to create a simple logo when your name includes four or five words.
So that’s a great way to create a concise logo by creating letter logos. So often letter logos are typically based on the name of the company. For example, if your name starts with an S your logo will more than likely incorporate an S and that S actually becomes the image or the illustration or the icon of your logo. However, it doesn’t just have to be the letter S. Apart from choosing a typeface that fits your aesthetic and your message, there is a lot of room for creativity. The letter itself can easily become a logo image with a little experimentation. So I’m not sure again how familiar you guys are with this, but there are a lot of instances of, for example, the S being transformed into a Swan. Specifically, there’s a lot of examples of combining letters with animals, where the letter exists as the letter but also as an illustration of an animal, for example. There are many ways to go about it and there are many options to be creative and that’s what I wanted to kind of get into today.
So I’m going to be speaking into the different types of letter logos that you get and those are single letter logos, two letter logos, and three letter logos. So again, this is for those of you who want to maybe explore things creatively, either if you’re needing a logo, this may be something, this may be an avenue that you want to go down, or if you’re wanting to maybe rebrand and play around with the new logo for your business. Again, if you’re wanting to do this by yourself or with a designer.
So single letter logos. Designer Michael Ian Kaye once said, what a graphic designer tries to do is make sure the typography is emotionally consistent with the brand. And this is what I was saying early on in the episode is that it is possible to convey emotion through a font. So one way to go about a single letter logo is to modify the letter to look like an image. And that’s what we mentioned just now with portraying an S as a swan, for example. This has to work on two levels, both as the letter itself, and as a picture, without detracting from the letter. After all, you want to communicate clearly who you are. And again, that needs to be the foundation of all of this; is that you want to end up with a logo that is legible and that clearly communicates your business’s mission. So take care not to distract too much from the letter to the point that it gets lost in translation.
Another method, and this is a popular one is to look at the negative space within the logo. So you’ll see some of the most famous logos have done this. Creating a logo with negative space can allow you to use that space as an image in itself. It can be kept simple, for example, using a star shaped icon in the middle of an egg, or it can be more complicated. So again, you can have fun with this and you can make it as simple, as complex as you’d like. Ultimately as states in the quote above, your mission statement and the tone of your business should inform the design for your logo. Think about how you can represent the services you offer within the logo. For example, for a tech company, you could create a letter out of a series of lines connected by dots. That’s usually that pattern that represents technology.
Of course, if you wanted to go the more traditional routes, single ads or logos lend themselves very well to the traditional monogram look. They look dignified and can stand alone or be placed on top of the shape or banner and several fonts work really well for this. So if you’re wanting to simply, if your counseling practice is called Lavender Counseling, and you want your own to be a standalone icon, or you want to place it on a circle, you want to place on a banner, that in itself can be really impactful and can be really well done. And again, several fonts work well for that. So that’s single letter logos.
Then moving on to two letter logos. So two letter logos lend themselves to more variations simply because there is more space to work with. Merging the letters allows you to share strokes, keeping the size of the logo to a minimum. But with those, remember that simpler is better. You could also adapt this method by interlocking letters instead of overlapping them. This is easier to do with letters that have curves. So again, it comes down to kind of what the initials of your business are going to be. What letters you have to work with is going to determine whether you combine the letters by sharing a stroke, or you interlock them. Marrying your letters also contributes to a unified look. This works either with letters that are already mirror images of each other, for example, D or B or W and M, or if you have the same letter multiple times. Negative space, once again, can be used to great effect. So those are some options when it comes to two letter logos.
I’m going to include an image in the show notes that illustrates 31 techniques for creative two letter logos. And that is created by companyfolders.com. It’s a really awesome infographic that represents a number of different ways that you can creatively illustrate two letter logos. So be sure to check that out, if your company name consists of two letters or two words that you can then use the first two letters of.
And then lastly, three letter logos. So three letter logo marks, although less common than the other two look more like traditional monograms. So this can include keeping the same font for each letter but making the middle letter another third or so bigger than the other two, or it can even include making one of the letters a different color or apportion one of the letters or different color to make each letter stand up. Monograms are also often enclosed in a border, which you can do, but remember to keep it simple. For these types of logos, choosing a basic, but bold censor font usually works best.
Think about the HBO logo, for example, which is a very bold, block font with a target or camera eye within the negative space of the O. Since three letters gives you more opportunity for balance, a popular logo choice is to conform the other edges of the letters to an overall shape, such as a circle. This gives you a sense of completeness. As with all design, legibility remains important, especially with letter logos. So be sure to keep that in mind. Though letter mark logos may seem simple, there is a lot of room for creativity and unique logo design, and you may actually end up with a logo that is unique, and that stands out far more than any other logo. That includes an illustration.
So if you are looking for a new logo or you need a logo design for your business, be sure to consider letter logos as an option. Again, you’ll usually have, the result will be an icon in the form of a letter or two letters or three letters that can be a standalone on social media posts, for example, but then you can also have your full logo, which will obviously have the two letters at the top and your full name underneath. Really can be super effective, or you could go the route of not even having letters, but just having your name in a unique font. And that’s maybe been adjusted in some way. Again, that can be super impactful.
So I hope this has been helpful or interesting, and that you’ve learned a bit more and I will see you in the next episode.
Once again, thank you so much to Therapy Notes for sponsoring this show. It makes notes, billing, scheduling, and tele-health a whole lot easier. And if you’re coming from another EHR, they make the transition really easy. Therapy Notes will input your client’s demographic data free of charge during your trial so you can get going right away. Use the promo code, [JOE], that’s [J O E] to get two free months to try out Therapy Notes for free.
Thanks for listening to the Marketing a Practice podcast. If you need help with branding your business, whether it be a new logo, rebrand, or you simply want some print flyer designed head on over to www.practiceofthepractice.com/branding. And if you’d like to see some examples of my design work, be sure to follow me on Instagram at Samantha Carvalho Design. Finally, please subscribe, rate, and review this podcast on iTunes if you like what you’ve heard. Talk to you soon.
Marketing a Practice podcast is part of the Practice of the Practice podcast network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you market and grow your business and yourself. To hear other podcasts like Beta Male Revolution, Empowered and Unapologetic, Imperfect Thriving, or Faith in Practice, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.
This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regards to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or any other professional information. If you want a to professional, you should find one.