Emblem Logos: The Most Trustworthy Brand Design

You love your idea. Your friends love your idea. You’ve even created a new business around your idea, and it has boundless potential.

However, your competitor has been around for ages (or so it seems), and your potential customers are still flocking to the sure thing. When all is said and done, how do you establish that initial sense of trust in a target audience and make them come to you? How does any new business assure customers it’s reliable?

By using an emblem logo!

The purpose of a logo is to tell the initial story of your business – the story you want to be telling.

Over time, your branding efforts will help you cultivate a nuanced perception of your business, but you only have one chance to make a first impression, which is why you should carefully consider the type of logo you create to represent your brand.

Meet the emblem.

Emblems have been around since the earliest known civilizations. They’ve been used for everything from tax collection to marking the official letterheads of bishops and kings.  

In fact, emblems once served as the ultimate proof that an institution could be trusted. And, while many of the worlds’ emblems are no longer associated with monarchies, our associations with the seal has remained the same: It represents a trustworthy and reliable source.  

What is an Emblem?

You may have heard of the combination mark, which refers to a logo made up of both text and an image. Emblems take this idea one step further, by incorporating text within a border or frame – ultimately fusing a typeface and image together. 

The end result? A badge, seal, or crest-like logo, usually round in shape and heavily detailed.

One of the main advantages of using an emblem is that it gives your brand a traditional feel and symbolizes longevity. And, if we look back at the definition of a logo, it becomes pretty clear why emblems can make for such effective logos; their design is almost always unique, which makes them stand out, while the badge tells consumers that the brand it represents is timeless.

Who Uses Emblem Logos?

Emblems can be found across industries, from sports teams to the military to universities around the globe. This type of logo looks particularly good when engraved on a uniform, which makes it an easy choice for organizations that want to appear well-established and prestigious.

Let’s take a look at some of the world’s most prominent emblem logos:

Harley Davidson

Although this world-famous motorcycle manufacturer has a logo that evolved over time, the design has remained an emblem throughout its century of existence.


While the coffee corporation underwent a logo rebrand in 2011, their emblem logo, which they featured for decades, is still among their audience’s favorite.


The superhero’s iconic logo first appeared long after the creation of the character in DC Comics, but it has remained a widely-recognized symbol until today.


Nothing screams “prestige” like the Harvard emblem, which features the once well-known Latin word for “truth.”

Emblem Logo Design Tips

It’s not as easy to create a strong emblem as it seems. Here are a few design tips to keep in mind before you start designing. 

  • Colors: Stick with 2 colors (or 3, tops,) and aim for only one “brighter” color if you’re going to have one at all. Because emblems give off a timeless feel, you’ll want a lasting color palette. Think whites, greys, blacks, maroons, blues, etc. but remember to take the meaning of logo colors into account before you decide on the right palette. 
  • Fonts: If you’re going for an old-school feel, serifs are your move. But, if you want something that speaks to a more modern crowd, consider a sans serif typeface with thick weights (like you see in the Starbucks logo). Try to go for a simple font, so as not to overwhelm the otherwise-busy design. And, make sure that the typeface you choose looks good no matter the size. 
  • Icons. Remember, in an emblem logo, your emblem is the icon. However, you may want to consider taking it a step further by incorporating an image or shape within the frame, so as to say something about your brand. For instance, the Harvard logo above incorporates little books within the shield to symbolize its scholarly achievements.   

Remember, when designing an emblem, you’ll want to use elements that support what it stands for – longevity, traditionalism, uniqueness, timelessness, etc. 

What to Consider Before Creating an Emblem Logo

The biggest roadblock you may run into with an emblem logo is scalability.

Logos are about getting your business’s name out into the world, and giving your audience a positive, visual image to associate with your brand. As such, you’ll want to put your logo everywhere for it to be effective, whether that’s in the corner of your website or printed on a bumper sticker.

However, because of the detailed design that is often typical of an emblem, the logo can become illegible when resized. And, while there are some tools to help you work around this – like a Vector file for offline printing – preserving the design can prove challenging.

Think about your overall brand strategy and where you intend on showing off your logo. As a general rule, emblems tend to look best on:

  • Merchandise, like apparel, coffee mugs (again, think Starbucks) or product packaging
  • Ads, especially billboards and signage
  • The front of a building
  • Desktop computers, whether on websites or social media ads

Over to You

Like any logo you choose, the emblem is supposed to tell the story of your brand. If you’re still unsure whether an emblem logo is the way to go, try browsing through logo design inspiration sites to see how others have used it and if it coincides with your overall brand message. Happy branding!