Some logos use words—like a brand name or initials. Others use images. Emblem logos use both to create an instantly classic feel. So why use an emblem instead of another type of logo?
Well, here’s what an emblem logo can do for your brand:
- Give you a distinguished, prestigious and even scholarly feel
- Juxtapose youthfulness or a modern direction with traditional values
- Create a connection to your company’s or industry’s history
- Tie consumers to a community (like a sports teams uses an emblem to create a “tribe”)
Emblem logos have a very specific look. Many are round and this isn’t a coincidence. Historically, round rubber stamps and wax seals were used to make personal marks, and the shape stuck. Emblem logos also don’t use images quite like other types of logos. They rarely use mascots, and when they do, they use simplified or stylized mascots, rather than relatable characters.
Now, let’s take a look at 45 stunning examples of emblem logos in action.
Vintage emblem logos
Emblem logos are a popular choice for companies that want to evoke a vintage feel that communicates its values, process or ingredients. They can also be a whimsical way to play on consumers’ sense of nostalgia.
Companies that have been around a long time—and new companies that want to distance themselves from the connotations of being a new player in their fields—can also use emblem logos to communicate this aspect of their brands. Having a long history (or even just looking the part) makes a brand appear to be a trustworthy provider of quality products and service.
Traditional emblem logos
You might be thinking, aren’t traditional emblems the same thing as vintage emblems? They’re similar, but they’re not the same. Both can be used to make a brand feel established and trustworthy. The difference is how that’s communicated.
Vintage logos often reimagine older styles and conventions; traditional logos are just that: traditional. They make the conscious decision not to step outside the box. That doesn’t mean traditional emblem logos can’t be creative, but their creativity plays by the rules and uses a limited toolbox.
If your company’s been around a long time, traditional emblem logos could be the way to go because they don’t rock the boat. A logo update doesn’t have to mean an entirely new logo. Maybe your brand just needs a bit more contour or a bit more shading.
Take a look at how General Electric has updated its logo since it was established in 1891:
Traditional emblem logos use standard design elements in all sorts of different ways:
Modern emblem logos
With a modern-looking emblem logo, you can communicate similar values to a vintage or traditional mark, but without the connotations that can come with looking too old school. If you’re in an industry known for erring on the conservative side (like financial services, for example), a modern emblem logo can be a powerful way to differentiate yourself and show that you’re inclusive and progressive.
Here are a few modern takes on emblem logos:
Bold emblem logos
Whether you’re using a wide palette or just two colors, you’ve got to make your colors pop. Contrast is key in emblem logos because your logo will appear in all sorts of places. It’ll be on black and white documents and on backgrounds that’ll change the tones of your colors.
Use contrast to design an emblem logo that your audience will instantly recognize anywhere.
Scholarly emblem logos
Emblem logos convey authority. And if you’re a school, company or nonprofit in the educational sector, this is a great way to show that you’re a master on your subject.
Even if you’re not in the educational sphere, using a college emblem is a way to communicate that you know your stuff and can impart this knowledge effectively. Bookstores, medical groups and law firms are primary examples of the kinds of companies that can benefit from using scholarly emblem logos.
Medieval emblem logos
Every emblem tells a story. But some tell more detailed stories than others. Think of the banners medieval knights would ride beneath with the stitched-on images of castles and stylized animals. Those are heraldic badges (also known as coats of arms), and they’re a type of emblem that’s been used to represent notable families and nations for centuries.
A heraldic badge isn’t just a collection of images. It tells an intricate story through color and imagery choices. For a regal feel, tell your story in pictures with this type of emblem logo.
Make your mark with an emblem logo
Emblem logos share many of the same elements, but each is a timeless image that symbolizes a brand’s personality. This type of logo captures your values, your history and your product in an instantly recognizable mark.