There are three major schools of approaching logo icons: representational, abstract and cartoons. In the next handful of posts, I’ll discuss each of these.
This is the term for art that actually looks like something. This can be a person, thing, or animal.
Representational art is often used for consumer services – the dog walker who puts a puppy on their logo, the divorce lawyer who uses a wedding ring cracked in half, the house painter who uses a paintbrush for a logo. Or, the yoga studio who uses a person in a particular pose as their logo.
Representational art can be executed in different levels of realism – they can be drawn in a highly detailed manner, a simplified, streamlined manner or even somewhat abstract.
Representational logos have pros and cons:
Pro: It’s usually obvious what the object that you’re using is supposed to be, so people can identify the object.
Pro: Some representational icons already have a lot of built-in meaning. For example, using a butterfly to mean metamorphosis or transformation.
Con: Sometimes, the observer will already have an association with that object – a bad experience with that type of puppy.
Con: Some other business will already be using your logo, so your customers will know another painter who uses a paintbrush as their logo, which could get your customers confused.
Con: Representational logos are often associated with less-expensive services, so if you’re billing your services at a high rate, you might want to consider an abstract logo instead.