Creating a Logo: Print and Digital Versioning

Picture your logo on different print products, such as brochures, fliers, banners, and postcards; promotional items, such as pens, T-shirts, and hats; and finally in digital channels, such as on the top corner of your website, in an email header, or on a social media profile or cover image [1]. On these items, will your logo be illegible? Will your logo standout against the background? Will your logo be too long or too wide for certain surfaces? These are all questions to ask yourself to make sure your logo is flexible enough to be used everywhere. To combat this, you can use versioning.

In our last two blogs, we discussed color and font as design aspects of a logo. The last important design aspect we will discuss here is versioning. Versioning means different types of your logo created for different uses. Variations of your logo can be based on design and/or color.

Think of the Nike logo. You may be picturing the word “Nike” above a check mark, both in black with a white background. You may be picturing just an orange check mark. Since width can be an issue in certain contexts, you may consider having two versions of your logo – one with your full company name and one with just your initials, the first letter, or even a symbol. Nike uses the check mark in their logos, and sometimes the text “Nike” is included. However, both the word “Nike” and the check mark alone are recognizable to the audience. Facebook uses its full name “facebook” in some logos, but also uses just the lowercase “f” in a blue square. Johnson & Johnson sometimes uses its full name or just “J+J” in their logo.

If your business has a longer name, you may rely more heavily on initials. Are you familiar with the International Business Machines Corporation and the United Parcel Service? Or are the names IBM and UPS from their logos more recognizable to you? IBM and UPS are likely more familiar because those businesses focus on their initials, which are easier to read and remember than their full names. When creating your logo, consider creating multiple designs that are consistent with one another. Perhaps one wide version for horizonal contexts, and one tall version for vertical contexts. Or maybe you can create one full version with your name and design element and then one shortened version with just your first letter, design element, or initials.

Color variations can be another way to keep your logo visually appealing despite varying contexts. Let’s use the Coca-Cola logo as an example. The Coca-Cola logo often appears as white writing in front of a red background. However, sometimes the brand uses the inverse – red writing on a white background. Fortunately for Coca-Cola, they do not have to change their writing too frequently because white usually stands out against most other colors, for example, their black Coca-Cola Zero, green Coca-Cola Life, and even their maroon Coca-Cola Cherry. Customers can safely assume anytime they see the logo, it will be in white or red, maybe black on rare occasions. Even though there is some variation, it is good because there is still consistency and reliability of the brand. For your business’ logo, consider using a few different colors in different versions. Perhaps your primary company color is a shade of navy blue. You may create a navy blue, white, and silver version of your logo to stand out against different backgrounds.

With color and design, the most important aspect to keep in mind is consistency. If you change too much between your logo versions, your different logos will look like they are from different brands. You can combat this by keeping some aspects the same between logos. Pinterest uses the full word and a shortened P, but the logos keep the same colors (red and white) and fonts for consistency. Think of your different logos as siblings, not twins; the logos should not be identical, but should look like they are in the same family.

That completes our three-part blog on logo design! Remember, the three major design aspects to consider when creating a logo are: 1) color, 2) font, and 3) versioning. Happy logo-creating!


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