When we talk about logo design you might think one a single visual expression of your brand that encapsulates your message and values, but a brand logo can take different forms and variations, these alternative forms are known as logo variations and are used by brands to create a cohesive, recognizable and consistent logo design across different environments and surfaces.
Having a responsive logo design can help your brand be more flexible and fit your logo in every environment without losing your identity, that is why I made this guide to show you what are logo variations, why they are important for every brand, and different types of variations you can use.
If we talk about logo variation, this doesn’t mean a bunch of logos with different visual styles, instead, a logo variation refers to a rearranged version of your primary logo to give your brand more flexibility, maintaining its core elements of it to help the viewer recognize your brand in different environments and placements.
To better understand what a logo variation is, think about a horizontal combination mark (symbol + your brand name), and now imagine how this logo will work as a profile photo for any social media, this logo will look bad and small as a profile picture, that is why is better to have a circular version of it using only the symbol as it will work better on this placement.
Now that we know what a logo variation is, let’s talk about why there are important for any brand, as mentioned in the early example, having different versions of your primary logo will help your brand to look well in different arrangements maintaining consistency and recognizability, it’s important that all versions of your logo follow your brand identity guidelines.
Certain brands take additional steps by transforming their logos into QR codes, allowing customers to easily access their online platforms. Moreover, QR codes offer the advantage of being easily customizable, enabling swift changes to the landing page through a few simple clicks.
Every brand will need different types of logo variations depending on their brand guidelines, their products, and their marketing strategies, so let’s see what are the most common logo variations on how to use them correctly.
The primary logo refers to your main logo design that represents your brand values and message, this logo will be the one you most use to represent your brand, and the other different logo variations will be rearrangements from this one.
Usually, the primary logo is the most complete and complex logo depending on the style chosen, primary logo can contain the symbol, brand name, tagline, and date of establishment.
Placement: Most applications will use the primary logo like website, print files, and stationery as it’s your brand’s main logo.
A secondary logo refers to a rearranged version of your primary logo to make your brand more responsive, for example, if your primary logo is horizontal, your secondary logo should be a vertical or stacked version of the first one.
To better understand the purpose of a secondary logo think of it as a reflection of your main logo using the same symbol, fonts, line weights, and aesthetic but in different placement, allowing you to use the secondary logo in spaces that don’t fit your primary logo and help you maintain cohesion and recognizability in all spaces
Placement: Spaces that don’t fit your primary logo
The Submark logo is a variable that refers to a more simplified and condensed version of the main logo design having the most important elements of your logo and it’s really useful to use in small spaces where your primary and secondary logo won’t work.
Usually, submark logos can have a circular shape containing the text and symbol of your brand or can be just the symbol of your brand. Having a submark logo will highly depend on the size and layout of your primary and secondary logos, as some logos can be scaled down and don’t lose recognizability, but if you have doubts, having a submark variation will be very useful.
Placement: Small areas where your primary and secondary logos don’t fit.
Favicon refers to a tiny icon placed on the top of your internet browser and it’s used to give your website your brand identity, as you have noticed favicon variations are the tiniest and simplified version of your primary logo as you have a really reduced space, that is why favicon is a symbol or few letters.
Usually, the main purpose of a favicon logo variation is to use in your website to help visitors locate your brand, but it also comes in handy if you have an app, so you can use your favicon as an app icon.
Placement: In website and app icon
One-Color logo or reverse variation refers to your primary logo design with only one color to maintain your brand recognizable and readable in every background giving your brand more depth and versatility.
You can use any color for this logo variation, but keep in mind your brand color palette to maintain cohesion with your brand identity, and usually, most brands have a black and white version of their logo allowing them to use it in every type of background.
Placement: Advertising, Monochrome designs, b/w designs, and more
We already have seen the most important logo variations every brand needs to have, but there are some brands that will need other variations, like the wordmark variation that consists of a logo made only with your brand name.
Wordmark variations are used by brands whose main logo is a combination mark composed of a symbol and text, this variation can be handy for small areas where the symbol won’t look good.
Placement: Website, advertising material, and small areas
A logo design is the most recognizable element of a brand identity design, as it will be a visual representation of your brand, but if you want to create a memorable and recognizable logo you should think about where it will be placed and how it will be used.
If you have read my post about what makes a good logo design, one of the qualities to create a memorable and recognizable logo is to create a responsive logo design with different logo variations allowing you that your logo will look great in every size and placement.
Hope you find this post useful and if you want to learn more about logo design you can read these other posts and guides about logo design.
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