Icons are amazingly powerful branding tools. They are often the first thing that people think about when hearing the name of a company as they are often much easier to remember. Put simply, the icon is the ‘thing’ that often appears beside or in place of the text part of the logo.

Icon design varies in prominence a lot, depending on the brand. From something as simple as a dot to a full vista depicting something important about your brand.

In this post we cover some major themes that are explored when creating icons to inspire some of the many possibilities to strengthen a brand.

Typographic icons

This is a common icon and usually uses the initials from the company name. It is great route for modest B2B brands who want to appear elegant and be seen as a safe pair of hands. However, the styling of the typography can provide many different variations from conservative to very dynamic.

Icon for Peter Blincow subtly merges the initials of the company whilst the 3D effect reflects the real estate sector

Minimalist icons

These designs are often very subtle yet add an essential ingredient to a brand. A minimalist icon can be just a dot in a different colour or a very simple graphic shape. Minimalist icons are good for brands that want to appear calm and collected yet have something that creates distinction and recognition to help build brand awareness.

The circle is minimal but still essential for SW Circle, a crypto advisory business

Figurative icons

These icons are more representative of something unique. This can be a feature of the service or product or something tangible like a building. This category also includes characters that provide a lot of personality to a brand.

The icon for Z-RiskEngine® shows the credit cycles against the median line – a core message for this regtech brand

Symbolic icons

These types of icons are usually something that visually represents the values of the brand. A symbolic icon is an abstract marque that you can tell your story around.

The icon for PR firm The Hero Machine is the mathematical symbol for the absolute value of 'X' to reflect their mission to establish the greatest value for all their clients

During a brand development project we often work though many of the above categories to fully explore a brand’s potential and arrive at a creative solution that will be the most powerful.