OK, so you’re probably just thinking “Huh? Are you trying to tell me that one logo isn’t good enough? Why the heck would I need more? And what about consistency and being recognisable all the time – Petchy must have lost her marbles, because this simply doesn’t make sense…”
Well, actually it does. Make sense, that is. If you can spare 5 minutes of your time, I’ll try to explain! If you’re gonna apply the visual elements of your brand identity in that all-important coherent manner, they have to be flexible enough to be used in a whole bunch of different settings. Here are some examples of logo variations you might need, and when they are typically used.
Your primary logo is just that: your main logo. This is often designed first, and it’s the one you’ll probably use the most.
This is a variation of your main logo, and how it looks will likely vary according to your brand’s specific needs. A secondary logo may include the same elements as the primary logo, but often with a different layout or a different way of combining the logo’s elements. Or, it might use just one or two of the elements from your primary logo. If your primary logo consists of an icon, together with a logotype and a tagline, these elements may also be used separately – depending on the specific circumstances.
There are several reasons why you might need a secondary logo. Some times you may have limited space available; if your primary logo is vertical you might need a horizontal version – or vice versa. If there’s a tagline beneath your logo, you may struggle with legibility if it’s to be printed at small sizes, so you’d probably want to use a variation without the tagline. You’re also likely to need different colour variations, such as a one-colour, a black and a white version – this can reduce production costs and give you more flexibility.
This is a very simplified version of your primary logo, and often consists of just a symbol or the brand’s initials. You want to peel away as much detail as possible, whilst still retaining brand recognition. This variation is commonly used as a favicon (the tiiiny logo on the tab of your browser) or as a profile pic for a brand’s social media accounts, but can also be used as a decorative element, as a stamp, a sticker, in your email signature, or as a watermark on your images.
Each logo variation has its own use. Exactly how they are used depends on your brand’s actual needs, and how and where you plan to use your logo. There are some brands that use their primary logo everywhere, but they’re kinda few and far between. And what about future use? When you create a brand it’s hard to say just how it’s going to pan out over time, and how the logo will need to adapt to keep up with changing circumstances. It’s much better to be prepared, and to have an adaptable brand identity from day one!
You need the right logo, used in the right way, in the right situation. Always. What that actually means is that no; just one logo isn’t enough. Sometimes you need to use your primary logo to introduce your brand and build brand recognition – and sometimes you just need to establish a connection to the primary logo; like placing a watermark on your images.
Always think of your brand as a whole. To appear consistently and build recognition over time, that overall look and feel is crucial. With several logo variations up your sleeve, you have the flexibility to always be “on brand”. It’s like having several garments in your wardrobe, so you can choose which is the best for each occasion – a woolly sweater for skiing, a mohair jumper for that fancy party, or just a regular ol’ cotton tee for everyday use – while always allowing your unique personality to shine through regardless.
This is also the main reason I never deliver “just a logo” to my clients. If you order a brand identity design from me, you will always receive both a primary logo, secondary logo(s) and icon(s) – all of them in colour(s) + black and white versions, and in all the file formats you could possibly need. You will also always receive a brand board (as a minimum) or detailed brand identity guidelines tailored to your needs. Get in touch for more information, or to book.