Logo (sign)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A logo is a graphic sign ( signet ) that represents a certain subject, this can be a company , an organization , a private person or a product . It can be designed as a purely figurative mark , word mark or word-picture mark and is the essential component of the visual appearance ( corporate design ) as well as the carrier of the identity ( corporate identity ) of the rights holder.


The word logo is indirectly derived from the ambiguous Greek term lógos ( λόγος ) , which u. A. Word means: In traditional typesetting there were types for individual letters as well as types for whole syllables or words, which were called logotypes accordingly . The current meaning developed from the short form of logo .


A logo can consist of one or more letters or a combination of letters. According to another opinion, a logo always consists of a word mark and a figurative mark , otherwise it is just a signet or a pure word mark (see logography ).

A logo should be concise and recognizable and stand as an identification feature for the entire company.

IBM logo.svg
IBM logo ( Paul Rand ) I nternational B usiness M achines Corporation
3M wordmark.svg
3M M innesota M ining and M anufacturing
AEG Logo Red CMYK.svg
AEG A eneral E lektrizitäts- G ompany

Corporate Design

Organizations such as museums or trade fairs also mainly use their own corporate design (CD). In it, they lay down rules as to how and which visual elements are used to make the appearance unmistakable. Use your own logo, for example: CeBIT and Museum of Modern Art . The same now applies to many public institutions, authorities and municipalities as well as private institutions and associations. In addition to the logo, typography (fonts and the font styles used), company colors and the basic design of all advertising material are also specified in the corporate design .

A corporate group such as the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe can also appear with a uniform logo, whereby a company must own the collective brand as the rights holder :

Sparkassen Finanzgruppe Logo.svg
The Sparkassen Finanzgruppe logo is a figurative and word mark.

Legal background

There is also the trademark designation trademark .

In connection with a logo, the brand is specified as a word mark. A word-figurative mark is a combination of figurative and written characters; if there is only one symbol, it is a figurative mark. A logo only becomes a trademark when it is filed and registered with the Patent and Trademark Office .

Adidas Logo.svg
The Adidas logo is a word and image trademark.

Design rules

Usually, companies or advertising agencies commission trained graphic artists or a design agency to design such a sign. Typically, the following five principles are considered.


The logo can underline the meaning of the name or indicate the company's activities. This can be done with a graphic symbol or the selection of a suitable font. If a company name or a brand name is combined with a graphic symbol ( icon ), it is a word-image brand.

Royal Dutch Shell.svg
The Shell - Shell emphasizes the company name ( Raymond Loewy )
Lufthansa Logo 2018.svg
The Lufthansa crane highlights flying ( Otto Firle )


A logo conveys the corporate image . If it is already occupied by other associations, it becomes more difficult to establish your own identity or the company profile. This creates the risk of being overlooked or mixed up. Inadequate distinctiveness can also lead to legal problems.

Telekom Logo 2013.svg
The magenta logo of Deutsche Telekom


Here, the formula should KISS apply: " K eep I t S hort (and) S imple" (something like: "Keep it short and simple") - which is simple, easy to remember. Successful corporate logos such as those of Audi , Opel , VW , Nike or Apple are so simple that many consumers can copy them by heart.

Volkswagen Logo till 1995.svg
The logo of the car brand VW is designed quite simply, but it is difficult to reproduce in a small size.
Adobe Systems logo and wordmark.svg
The Adobe logo is still recognizable even very small.


Brightly colored logos are technically not a problem, but there are exceptions and a good logo must be suitable for them. Above all, it has to be clearly recognizable on products, but also as a fax , a stamp , from a distance, embroidered on a T-shirt or still look good on a promotional pen. The logo is the information sign for a company and not a colorful illustration .

Good logos meet the highest requirements and are clearly legible and legible at a width of 20 millimeters or less. In order for a logo to meet all these requirements, many compromises are required, such as abbreviations and reduction to an optimum. The saying “less is more”, which is often quoted by creative people, applies here very precisely.

Apple logo black.svg
The Apple logo is very easy to draw.
This logo of a small publisher is difficult to reproduce in a small representation due to the very small letters S and K in relation to the V. The recognition value of such logos is particularly questionable for smaller companies.


A logo contains main elements and minor elements. The main elements are the company name and the service or product offered. If necessary, secondary elements that can be dispensed with are graphic elements, a slogan or an identity statement.

Deutsche Bank logo without wordmark.svg
A well-known company, such as Deutsche Bank , is well-known enough to advertise with a purely pictorial symbol (logo). Design by Anton Stankowski .

A company that first wants to become known will also have to at least refer to the company name and the product or service offered in the logo.


Visualization of the protection zone on the former Compaq logo

Many logos have a defined protection zone, i.e. a border around the logo elements, which must not be left out when the logo is placed and into which no other elements may protrude.


Web links

Wiktionary: Logo  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Logos  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Ralf Herrmann: Why not put fonts behind all letters , section Logos and newspaper heads, 2017-09-27, accessed on 2018-11-27
  2. Logo design PDF by Gernot Hoffmann
  3. Joachim Böhringer, Peter Bühler, Patrick Schlaich: Compendium of media design: Production and technology for digital and print media. 2008, ISBN 978-3-540-78525-5 . ( limited preview in Google Book search)
  4. Perdita Habeck, Kundri Böhmer-Bauer: Company design with a small budget: Step by step to your own corporate identity - the perfect appearance with logo, business card and letterhead - with checklists and color examples. 2006, ISBN 3-636-01354-8 . ( limited preview in Google Book search)
  5. See also this experiment by the Monochrome group .
  6. Leave for Change: Design Standards Guide (PDF; 3153 kB)
  7. Compaq logo - protection zone ( Memento of the original from April 15, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 654 kB) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.designerstalk.com