Responsive logos – Designing a logo for a digital world

The elements of branding design will change as time passes. In recent years, a type of brand logo, the responsive logo, has become increasingly necessary for brands to remain relevant. Our previous articles covered fundamental aspects of designing a logo (see: 5 key considerations when designing a logo, How to select a good logo designer to design your brand logo). Today, we will introduce the responsive logo and share tips on how to make an effective, responsive brand logo. 

I. What is a responsive logo?

A responsive logo is one that adapts or “responds” to different platforms. In our current world, we have large computer screens, laptop screens, small mobile phone screens, smartwatches and even smart bracelets. These screens are all of varying sizes. Thus, a responsive logo adapts to these different screens to appear attractive, eye-catching and memorable in all circumstances.

Fig 1: Example of Kodak logo being adapted to screens of varying sizes. Via Fabrik (https://fabrikbrands.com/introducing-responsive-logos/)

II. Why do you need a responsive logo?

You may be wondering – why don’t we just reduce the size of our existing logos? The reason is simple. Simply reducing the size of a logo will cause essential details to be minimised. Furthermore, a brand logo that looks clear on a large screen may look cluttered and unattractive on a smaller screen. A responsive logo overcomes this problem by having multiple versions of the logo specifically designed for screens of different sizes. This allows the responsive logo to meet a brand’s needs flexibly, as the logo can be used on various surfaces of varying scales, sizes, and textures while maintaining visual consistency. 

III. How do you make a responsive logo?

Fig 2: Types of responsive logos. Via Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/566257353142511553/)

i. Different logo versions

Typically, the responsive logo has four different sizes: Very big, big, regular and small. These versions will be used on different platforms. For instance, on a large billboard, the very big brand logo can be used, while on a small app interface, the small brand logo will be used.

ii. Design for each size

Each size should be specifically designed – a small version is not created by shrinking the big version. As a rule of thumb, the smaller the logo, the less details should be included in the logo. Therefore, intricate designs should be subtracted as the brand logo becomes smaller. 

Fig 3: Example of a logo design specifically designed for each size. Via Fabrik (https://fabrikbrands.com/introducing-responsive-logos/)

As illustrated in the above example, the biggest logo size has intricate details that look aesthetically delightful on a big screen. The next size, the big logo, has some details removed, namely the words and the floral pattern. This reduces clutter and allows attention to be focused on the red star and black banner. In the regular logo size, the black banner is removed. On a smaller screen, the black banner would have made the logo look too busy, and taken attention away from the word “Heineken”. In the smallest logo size, only the star remains. Consumers recognise the star as representative of Heineken due to the consistent colours – red with a white outline. This leads us to the importance of the next point, consistent visual elements. 

iii. Consistent visual elements

Although the brand logo is specifically designed for each size, common visual elements should remain to tie the brand’s identity together. These elements include font type, colour, shapes and lines.

Fig 4: Consistent visual element in the Google logo. Via 99 designs (https://99designs.com.sg/blog/trends/responsive-logos/#:~:text=Responsive%20logos%20are%20shape%2Dshifting,more%20like%20a%20practical%20necessity.)

The Google logo works in both versions because the font and colours have been kept consistent. Only “G” is kept in the small logo size, keeping the logo simple and easy to read on a small screen. The same colours – red, yellow, green and blue – colour the letter “G”, allowing consumers to recognise “G” as representative of Google. The exact same font keeps the shape and lines of the letter “G” consistent.

IV. Summary

Brands need a logo that can be adapted to different platforms clearly and eye-catching while still retaining valuable visual cues that allow consumers to identify the brand quickly. Thus, a responsive logo has become necessary in our digital age. A responsive logo typically has four different sizes: very big, big, regular and small. Each size is specifically designed, and the design is substracted as the brand logo size is reduced. Even though some details of the brand logo are removed as the logo size decreases, consumers will be able to identify the brand using the logo because critical visual elements, such as font and colour, are kept consistent. A brand identity continues to be built effectively across various platforms.

 

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