A logotype, commonly known as a logo, is a graphic element which uniquely identifies corporations, products, services, institutions, agencies, associations, events, or any kind of organizations in order to differentiate publicly the owner of the logotype from other entities. A logotype is really a brandname set in a special typeface/font arranged in a particular, but legible, way. In later years however, it has come to describe signs, emblems, trademarks, coats of arms, symbols and even flags. At the end of this article there are true logotypes, whereas the others including non-letter graphics of some kind usually can be described as emblems, brandmarks, trademark or company-mark, which all can include text. Emblems with non-textual content could never correctly be described as a logotype.
The uniqueness of a logotype is of utmost importance to avoid confusion in the marketplace, among clients, suppliers, users, affiliates and the general public. Therefore, once designed, a logotype should be registered as a graphic trademark, so that no other can use it, and no other can try to stop its use by the owner. Duly protected, a logotype can become an asset of great value.
Many people believe that a logotype is just a graphic symbol or sign. This is, however, not the way it is defined by graphic designers and by advertising professionals. A logotype consists of either a name or a sign and name. The images at right show examples of two kinds of logotypes, and an emblem.
Sometimes a slogan is included in the logotype. If the slogan appears always in the logotype, and in the same graphic shape, it can be considered as part of the logotype. Otherwise, it should be seen as a different element, used to reinforce the identity of the owner, together with the logotype.
Often the word logo is used instead of logotype. In practice, both terms are synonyms, but the meaning of "logotype" is specifically what is defined in this article, while logo has other meanings.