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

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

round Spruce for Men logo
A round emblem logo for Spruce by Agi Amri.

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.

Old ford logo
Many vintage emblems contained more text than you’d find in a modern emblem and only two colors, relying on contrast to make the words and images pop. Via Ford.

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.

apple shape and text
Vintage-inspired emblems are often round, imitating stamped seals. coin!
man’s face with text, an old house and a bird image
Another take on the vintage emblem look for a craft brewer. Via Widakk
a wolf and an elk in profile bisected by a mountain
With vintage logos, simple is often the key. Via Neatlines
handshake Brine Brothers logo
Modern logos that aim to capture that vintage feeling can take their cues from old emblems like Ford’s. Via green in blue
Webster Brewing Co emblem
If you want to communicate that your product’s handcrafted or made using old fashioned techniques, a vintage logo could be the right choice for you. Via austinminded
cow in a pasture
Whether it’s craft beer or craft beef, a vintage look is a solid choice. Via Neatlines
cubs logo
For an established brand, using an older iteration of the logo from time to time can be a fun way to connect with fans. Via Chicago Cubs.

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:

 

general electric logo iterations
In 127 years, all GE’s logo got was a circle, some crisper lines, shadows and then, color. Via General Electric.

Traditional emblem logos use standard design elements in all sorts of different ways:

circle logo with wheat and a B initial
Traditional emblems keep it simple: few colors, little text, and basic images. Via Neatlines
stars and stripes on a shield
Tie your logo to specific traditions by using images from flags and other cultural assets. Via Angstrom Alliance
stella artois logo
When you’ve been around since 1366, a new logo isn’t the way to go. Via Stella Artois.
farmhouse and trees on an emblem
There’s a reason why simple is traditional: it’s easy to replicate over and over through the years. Via Project 4
T initial with complex multicolored border
Even when traditional emblems get complex, they still play by the rules. Via Dusan Klepic DK™
tree and text for landscaping company logo
Choose a timeless image for your traditional emblem: trees have been on Earth longer than we have; they’ll never be obsolete and they’ll never not be a symbol of nature. Via Leukothea
fleur de lis logo for NOLA First
Use a traditional image that means something important to your target audience. The Fleur de Lis is a symbol of New Orleans, making it a great choice for any traditional emblem that has to do with the city or its people. Via hildixx27

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:

tattooed man looking to the right with arms crossed
Twisting traditional art styles or imagery can be a bold way to create a modern emblem. Via Demonic™
Starbuck logo iterations
Often, modernizing an established emblem involves stripping it to its core and letting that core stand on its own. Via Starbucks.
coffee and a sandwich on a logo
Use lots of color. Don’t feel constricted to a small color palate; we’re living in a full color, modern world. Via Arthean
anthropomorphic bunch of grapes
Use bold colors to create a modern emblem. Via Neatlines
monk with beer
Sometimes, something as simple as a smirk and direct eye contact with the viewer make an otherwise traditional logo feel modern. Via Widakk
octopus with orchids and an anchor in round logo
Or choosing animals and images that aren’t usually present in emblems, like an octopus and orchids. Via Zarkum

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.

New Orleans Pelicans logo
Choose colors that contrast with each other so none get overlooked. Via KVA
an avocado, grapes, and a lemon beside each other with text
Where you place each color in your logo can dial back or ramp up your contrast. Create a visual pattern that catches the eye and brings it through to logo in a logical way. Via Virtuoso”
tent and full moon against woods background
Where does your eye go first with this emblem? Use contrast to bring the viewer’s eye to the exact spot where you want them to focus. Via Virtuoso”
green three-pointed logo
Black and white are always good choices for contrast. Via J_Ivan
Superman logo
High contrast, recognizable anywhere: the Superman logo. Via DC Comics.

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.

Ivy league school logos
When people think of the Ivy League, they think of prestigious institutions that provide quality education and research opportunities. Think of how differently Princeton would be perceived if its logo looked less like a shield and more like Tony the Tiger. Via Wikipedia.
Hogwarts emblem
Great emblems can be found in fiction, too. Hogwarts emblem via Pottermore, emblem designed by Miraphora Mina & Eduardo Lima – © WBEI.
School desk against a mountain backdrop
More traditional takes on the scholarly emblem can give companies in other industries an authoritative feel. Via Monkeii
schoolhouse with a flag and children
School emblems don’t have to be as regal as Ivy League emblems, though. Preschools and elementary schools can use primary colors and basic imagery to communicate their messages. Via chaloa
lion on heraldic shield
Many scholarly emblems take their cues from heraldic badges. Via patrimonio

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.

Welsh flag
Animals, real and imagined, are a key part of a heraldic badge. Flag of Wales via Historic UK.
manticore on solid background
Simple, clean, basic and effective at telling a company’s story through symbolism. Via nikunikudes
heraldic badge logo with initials and scrolls
With this type of emblem, lots of details flesh out the story. Via mr.giraffe.design
heraldic image with a dog, a boat and a rudder
Don’t feel like you have to stick to traditional images on your coat of arms, either: you don’t! Choose images that tell your story, whatever they may be. Via agnesema

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. 

Want an emblem logo for your brand?
Our designers can create the perfect one for you.