Whether you’re just starting out or revamping your brand, it’s easy to want a lot out of a logo design. It needs to be trendy, convey your values, be memorable. The list goes on and on. But when it comes to such an integral element of your business identity, the one trait you must consider every step of the design process is versatility.
The Truth? Hindsight Is 20/20
Clients usually know where they will be using the logo initially. A sign on the building, their website, business cards, a crisp piece of stationary. Many mockups focus around these ordinary usage scenarios. It’s often not until further down the road when a unique application is needed that issues are exposed.
Cue the Spiral
The logo looks great on print collateral. You swoon over your new website. Then you realize you need some embroidered polo shirts. Oh no. The logo is too complex. It has too many colors to be embroidered the way it was initially designed.
You try to pivot. You think, “Ink pens maybe?” But you quickly realize that your logo doesn’t reproduce well at such a small size. Maybe it looks great, but it has many colors and it becomes cost prohibitive to have them printed in color. More colors sometimes means more money.
What to Do?
The keys to a versatile logo are simple, but they do require a little planning ahead. Consider:
- Size. Make sure the logo is legible and no detail is lost in sizes as small as your fingernail. Print it out and tape it to the wall. Stand back 10 feet. Does it still look good?
- Orientation. Avoid a logo that is extremely vertical or horizontal. You will eventually encounter a situation where the scale is off.
- Reversibility. Your eyes perceive reversed images differently. Simply changing your logo to a light color for a dark background won’t always work. Make sure to consider what your logo will look like on both light and dark backgrounds.
Reversed logo example
At the very least, a designer should provide you with single and full color options as well as a primer on how the logo is to be used on light and dark backgrounds. A brand manual or style guide will help strengthen your overall appearance and eliminate usage questions. And there you have it! A little forward-thinking will ensure you are set up for a stable and stress-free brand identity.