Just when you thought a logo was just a logo, the new trend—or rather necessity—in logo design is shape-shifting (also called responsive) logos that change in size, color or complexity depending on where they are used.
While you can certainly live without shape-shifting logos, they make good business sense. After all, your logo could be viewed in all different mediums, ranging from business cards to billboards, and on several different screen sizes, from a smartwatch to a big screen in a theater. You want to be sure people can actually see and recognize them, regardless the format.
In a nutshell, switching to a shapeshifting logo just means that your logo designer will create several different versions of the same logo and optimize it to fit the context. For example, as the logo scales down, say to fit a mobile device, some elements may change. The design may become simpler or words will be eliminated to leave one bold graphical element. For print purposes, logos can become more intricate the larger they become, or colors can be removed so that they still look good in black and white.
In other words, it means you always have a logo to fit your needs, so we highly suggest you work with your designer to create a shapeshifting logo. Here are some best practices to keep in mind:
Maintain consistency across all the logos
You are not creating completely different logos, but rather, different versions of the same logo. Elements such as the main icon, color scheme and effects will remain the same. People should recognize it as your logo, whether they see it on their smartwatch or on a billboard on the interstate.
Start by finalizing a “master logo”
Work with your designer to create the perfect logo that encompasses everything, including complex design, multiple colors and text you want. Once you have something you love, you can create subsequent logos with decreasing levels of detail and design.
Just be sure to think about more basic logos as you design your master logo. For example, ensure you can pull a bare-bones logo that will be displayed in digital formats from the master logo.
Make several versions
If you know exactly where you plan to use each version, great. You can create logos that are ideal for that medium. However, if you aren’t sure yet—and most business owners aren’t—you can simply create several versions with varying levels of detail and size.
You’ll start with your master logo and remove details as you scale down to smaller versions.
For example, one version may include an icon of sorts, your business name, and a slogan, with multiple colors. A second version would be the same but in black and white. A third might include the icon and business name. The fourth would just include the icon.
Reduce detail as needed
While sometimes you can get away with just eliminating or adding elements as you scale up or down, sometimes you must change design features altogether. For example, some elements will be lost or look blurry when they are viewed on the smallest screens. You may need to modify the typography or color usage, or replace your full business name with initials, for example.
When you scale up, too-simple logos can look plain or boring, so you may need to add more color and detail.
Your main goal, regardless of what you change, is to ensure that you keep the overall look consistent and familiar.