Icon Vs Logo : Understanding the Difference

Sometimes there’s a bit of confusion about the difference between an icon, emblem, wordmark, and logo, and why it’s so important you not use them interchangeably. Each serve a specific purpose, and while they may sometimes look alike, the intention behind each is very different….so today we’re breaking it down for you!

This blog post, one of our most popular, was updated on March 29th, 2019 to include even more info and examples of icons, logos, and wordmarks (oh my!)


Logos establish relations, and help viewers create a connection between a company and its product- it is essentially a simplified ad! Logos are the symbol, or face, of the organization. They should inspire an immediate recognition of the company’s brand, core values, products and services. They can even provoke emotions regarding the quality of customer service, the cultural significance of the brand, etc. A logo is a powerful representation of your business. It conveys a much larger message than you may have thought!

A logo can be just an emblem, just a wordmark, or it can encompass both – often the formula for a strong visual brand identity is emblem + wordmark = logo. When both a wordmark and emblem are used to create a logo either element can be used individually, but are not the brand’s logo (unless great success has happened and the brand can drop the wordmark, like Starbucks).

Here are some examples:




For many brands, Rock Paper Simple included, an emblem is created to further identify the company and it becomes the mark of that organization. For us, it’s our “pointer” which appears in our full logo or stands alone in usage on social media, stickers, and collateral. The emblem signifies a specific characteristic or quality about the company and can be used to identify the company on its own.

Emblems are more significant of brand identity, so they tend to have more detail in them than icons in order to distinguish branded content from action buttons in an app or on a website. Since most profile photos on platforms like Facebook are square or circular, it is common practice for emblems to be designed for use on social media.

Here are some examples:



A wordmark is exactly what it sounds like – the brand’s words, usually the company name, in an immediately-recognizable, distinct typeface that, even without images can be used to identify the brand. The wordmark tells directly what the related content is associated with, in case visual familiarity with the emblem fails.

Here are some examples:


Icons are meant to convey abstract thought and they artistically summarize an action or operation-  they represent what is being offered. When people see it, the icon should create an immediate understanding of what the creator/business/website means to express. It helps the viewer to simplify thought and make fast connections.

In the instance of mobile apps, most organizations choose the emblem part of their logo, or often a defining feature of their brand or service they provide, to be the icon. This way they remain instantly recognizable. However, they are made based on the branding and should not stand on their own to identify the brand itself, with exceptions from massively popular products and services like the Facebook “Like” icon.

Icons are almost always designed quadratically and are designed to scale within specific dimensions. This way they fit square App icon dimensions, and/ or help provide consistency when designing actions on a website. They generally remain very small.

For example:


On our website, our menu for internal pages has identifying icons, to help better direct visitors to the information they need. On our services hub page there are even more icons next to our offerings. These can help a client further differentiate what they want to know more about. Here are examples of other icon we see every day:

Facebook’s “Like” icon                  Star Wars Rebel Alliance Icon                iPhone FaceTime Icon


The one thing all brand elements have in common — they should always be designed as vectors, so that they never lose quality when resized for various needs!

Still confused? Need help designing a true brand identity package? We’ve got your back.
Call us or send a quick message!


RPS Open House

RPS is getting bigger! Last year was a great one for us as a team, full of change and growth. Altogether, we hired 6 new team members in 2018, and each one has already become a big part of our family! As a result, space has been getting a little tight. Don’t get us wrong, we love working with each other, but we also don’t mind a little room to stretch from time to time.

Seeing this growth, and planning on a few more additions still before 2019 is over, our leadership team realized the apparent need for more room. So we kicked down a wall and moved into the suite next door! We’re very excited about the new expansion, and each team member is all settled in.

Our content department, marketing department, Operations Director and Head Dealmaster have moved over to what we like to call the “east wing,” and they are loving it! Now, it’s time for you to see our new digs!

On March 14 at 5pm, we will be hosting an Open House to showcase our newly expanded office space. The event will feature catering by Bearded Chef, complimentary drinks, and giveaway raffles. This is also a great chance to meet our wonderful team and check out our creative space. So invite your friends and join us in celebrating a new chapter in our story!

See the Facebook Event here!

RPS at the ADDYs

We love what we do. Digital marketing, web design, and branding get us out of bed in the morning. Our team is excited about our projects and we genuinely enjoy working with our clients. Seeing a finished website or successful marketing campaign is truly its own reward for our hard work.

That said, there’s nothing wrong with being recognized for the effort and talent of our team, and this recognition came at the recent Addy Awards Ceremony for the Space Coast Chapter of the American Advertising Federation. Altogether, we were awarded four Gold, four Silver, and two of the three Judges Choice Awards.

This is a huge honor, and we couldn’t be more grateful! But, we couldn’t have made this achievement without some great clients, so we’d like to take this opportunity to showcase some of our the award-winning projects for the awesome businesses and nonprofits with whom we are so privileged to partner.

At the Silver level:

Advantage Technologies Sales Materials
Advantage Technologies provides creative, effective, and efficient managed IT solutions to small businesses.


The Airboat Rides at Midway Video
We had a blast collaborating with Mendx studios on this project! Midway does Florida wildlife like no one else.

The Brevard Humane Society Website
The Brevard  Humane Society has been helping homeless animals find a safe place since 1952, providing shelter, food, veterinary care, and plenty of TLC.

Brevard Humane Society

The National Space Club Website
National Space Club Florida Committee (NSCFL) is a non-profit corporation composed of passionate individuals representing industry, government, the Department of Defense, regional educational institutions, and the public.

NSC Website

At the Gold level:

The Rock Paper Simple Brand Book
We love going through the branding process with our clients so much that we did it for ourselves. Our brand book contextualizes who we are as company in terms of message, values, and tone. It also serves as a guide for proper use of the RPS colors, logo, and fonts.

RPS Brand Book


Our New Website Promo Video
We may have gotten a little carried away, but who doesn’t love a good party? Especially over a brand new website!

The Rock Paper Simple Website
The source of our celebration. We take pride in our work, and we want our own site to reflect what we can bring to each and every client.

RPS Website

The Bearded Chef Logo
Have you ever seen a logo speak for itself better? And the food is pretty good too!

The Bearded Chef Logo

Of the three available Judges Choice Awards, we managed to collect one for our new website promo video and one for the Bearded Chef Logo.

We are grateful to the American Advertising Federation and judges for the recognition, and we look forward to crafting even more awesome work for our clients in the future!