How flexible is your logo? I’m not talking about can you stretch it and squash it physically, so please stop doing that. I’m talking about the concept of your logo, and the execution of the design. Design flexibility is the single-most important factor to the life cycle of your logo.
Your business is going to grow, and your logo needs to grow with it. Logo marks that build off of abstract ideals will give your brand room to branch out, whereas concrete representations of your products or services will hinder your efforts to expand your offerings in the future. For instance, Zappos has a shoe represented by it’s logo mark which is exactly where the company started. Now they sell a lot more than just shoes, and anyone not familiar with the company may not look beyond the footwear options on their site based off the shoe mark.
Think about your company in terms of personality traits, because these are the characteristics that are much more permanent. My personality has been roughly the same my whole life, whereas, at various points I might have had long hair, piercings or other temporary identifiers of who I was. Locking your logo into your product that you offer now is equivalent to friends identifying me as a blonde-haired dude who listens to a lot of Metallica despite the fact that my hair is short, grey and I listen to a lot of April Smith & The Great Picture Show. Think beyond you immediate brand.
The two oldest rules of logo design — black only and size of a spitwad — still hold true to this day, because they allow the greatest ease of implementation across your brand portfolio. Follow these two rules and unusual implementations like neon, embroidery and engraving won’t give you any problems. Smooth color blends and glossy 3D effects don’t translate well to engraving which will limit how you can apply a logo to your product. Just because you can apply an effect doesn’t mean that you should. Limit your logo to one or two colors for the best results, but ideally make sure that it works in black only.
When it comes to size, small is better for logos. Yes, your logo should work well large, but it has to maintain its integrity for the smaller, everyday uses like your business cards or your web site. Your logo should never be the hero of any piece of marketing communication including your web site. It’s an identifier or stamp of approval that this is “company x.” Visitors don’t come to your web site to discover the intricacies of your logo, they come to discover the intricacies of your company, product or service.
The secret to a successful logo that works small and large is balancing the amount of necessary detail. I often start each logo with a lot of detail, but it’s the whittling down that changes it from an illustration to a logo. Any element that doesn’t add to the concept of execution is unnecessary and should be removed. Simplicity isn’t just a modern aesthetic. It’s a memory enhancer, and you want your logo to be remembered.
Your logo deserves a long, healthy life and you have the tools to keep it performing at the top of its game. Build your logo the right way, and you’ll be visiting the infirmary less trying to patch up the injuries and tears from everyday wear.
For more ways to build a logo that can flex it’s muscle with tearing a hammie, be sure to check out “Eight Reasons Why Your Logo Hates You.”