Logo Design Variations That Every Brands Should Have

Have you ever wondered how many logo variants you should provide for your clients?
And why do they need a specific version? Let’s find out more about it!

Logo variations are one thing that many companies often overlook or even come as second thoughts. Most brands, especially new ventures, choose to have only one or two logo variations for their packaging and other print media.

Of course, each company has its preferences on what to do. But it's best if they provide several logos available. It's the most effective and efficient advertisement. And having these variants can help the business force brand loyalty among their customers.

Many reasons why a venture needs to have at least three distinguished variants. Both large companies and start-up ventures from various business lines need these variants. They are there to help the business have a solid public presence.

All variants have a single theme representing the company's values and bringing together the elements for a single purpose. A solid presence is crucial when building a brand, especially in grabbing the public's attention and keeping them at hand.


Why a brand needs logo variations

Variations in a brand image are imperative on many levels. It's more than just ensuring the company's survival. And it can set them apart from other competitors.

The main criteria are iconic or memorable, even better when it's both. The brand image is the first thing the customers will see in the product or service. For short, it's what the customers see and remember.

Having multiple logos means the company is capable of expanding its products. They also have fewer difficulties in finding the best media for advertisement. They can connect and collaborate with other companies and reach an extensive customer base.

Ventures have a large budget for branding, and one of them is to create variations. These are to present the complete image and reach more customers. They also can cement their status and presence to the public. 


The Benefits of Having Variations

A company receives numerous benefits when providing various sizes and variants of its logo. The main virtue is by having more product variants without worrying about label placements. Working on a collaboration or sponsoring an event will be easier because they have multiple image sizes to print. Customers also will recognize their icons right away.

Another benefit is they can enhance their values and be more versatile. Providing multiple logo variations will help the company adapt to any new challenge. They won't have any difficulties when they have to transition from virtual or digital media to print or vice versa. It will save them a lot of money and time getting new images.

Variations also mean the company has more options for expanding its businesses. They can go to digital media and still retain their identity. Having alternative images can bring awareness without forcing the information on the public. Even when the venture has a large primary logo, they can have several variations and only use the favicon on the digital correspondence.


What Are The Logo Variations?

On average, a brand tends to use only three of the variations. It depends on the products and services they offer and how often they want to instill their brands' image. Many companies also include an optional logo with different colors or a unique celebratory event. Whichever that is, the other logo is another variation of the primary logo that is more familiar to the public.

Each business venture needs to build a story around its logo and its images in due course. Therefore, they need to provide several variations on the image. These alternative logos are necessary for all types of advertising. Many of these ventures forget that exploring the digital world requires alternative images to represent the business.

Some of the variants are interchangeable, and some are not. The brand must identify its needs and both past and future customers. The variations they have will reach different types of customers.

Below are the types of icons that a business must-have. Each venture needs to have at least two to use in multiple situations. They need to have a persistent presence in both print and digital platforms. 


1. Primary logo

The primary image is the one that is synonymous with the brand. This is the one picture that will be available in various items, including stationery letterheads and everything else. 

The primary image is the basis for all other variants. The company usually takes either the most striking part of the image or scales back the size of the variants. However, it's also a common practice to use one logo for the other variants without removing anything. But it can be complicated for the customers unless they provide a simple image.

A primary has to be complex in terms of typography and colors. Being complex doesn't necessarily mean complicated or difficult to understand. A primary can be a simple image as it acts as the anchor to other variants together and link them to the company. Still, any variant can't be too far from the primary or only take a minimum aspect and be another logo altogether. 

Take Starbucks and The Body Shop as examples. Even though they are from different continents, they employ the same structure for their logo and branding strategies.

Both companies have a similar color scheme, green and brown, to show their sustainability values. They also choose a circle or round image as the base icon. As the primary icon, they use the image with their company name. And as the variants, they removed the company name and only put the image. 

They use the same approach for all of the logo variants, including those on their websites. Both Starbucks and The Body Shop established their presence through a single icon. Therefore, they can do this strategy. A start-up company can do the same and earn a more impressive result.  


2. One Color Logo

Many people confuse a one-color logo with a watermark. It's a common misunderstanding since this variant only uses one color. However, the main difference lies in the usage.

A watermark is for the company the image they use to have in either a physical or digital print that won't intrude on the general design. At the same time, the one-color image is a print variant of a primary or favicon. Most commonly in a black and white version, but other colors such as navy or red and white are also popular.

Both new and old companies can use this variant for the stationaries such as memo pads, letterheads, and even business cards. This one-color variant can help the company on reducing its printing cost. And it's also more versatile to use in numerous situations.

This variant also can boost the company's professional image. They will have less resistance when expanding their business. They also won't have any issues adapting their logo to multiple media.

The one-color approach as the primary logo is popular among law firms, watchmakers, and charity foundations. This approach often sets them apart from similar companies as their icon is very catchy and thus memorable.

One of the leading law firms in the UK, Harbottle & Lewis, only uses their company name in white on a blue background. This simplicity gives their future clients the impression that they are professionals and have a no-nonsense approach to any cases that come to their hands. Their client list includes prominent members of the British royal family, such as the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge.

Similar examples are visible in numerous other law firms like Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Latham & Watkins LLP. Both are two of the top highest-grossing law firms in the United States per the 2019 record. Both law firms choose to have a one-color variant as their primary picture. 

The clear typography helps them to have other variants such as watermarking and creating the favicon using the initials. Similar usage of the simplistic approach is visible on Rolex, Seiko, WordPress, and Google logos.


3. Watermark logo

The easiest explanation of this version is the image that the company can use in any of its advertising to claim ownership. Watermark acts to state the image and idea ownership. Some companies put the watermark as apparent as possible.

Some of the easiest examples of having a watermark logo are the photo stock companies such as Alamy, Getty Images, and Shutterstock. Almost all pictures that those companies host have the watermark in a way that makes cropping impossible to do.

Users can remove the watermark by purchasing a membership to the website or buying each image. Some of those websites put a subtle watermark. Alamy and Shutterstock choose to have their name across the image diagonally and also on the bottom border. At the same time, Getty images choose to put their watermark by having the brand name and other detail such as the photographer's or agency's name right in the middle of the image.

Even companies that are not in the media business need a watermark variant to put in their documents. They also can put it on their stamps or for similar usage. The watermark can be very subtle, but they are there.

Each company has different policies on instilling the watermark. But it's a method to protect the document and claim ownership. Providing the public with information they need to know.


4. Favicon

Favicon is one of the logo variations many companies choose to disregard, except when they are on the web or in digital business. In short, the favicon refers to the icon-sized version of their image.

On average, an icon is either an 80x80 or 100x100 pixel size, But this measurement only acts as the reference point as the definition shifts to a larger usage. Again, the favicon can be a stripped-down version of the main image or a new image altogether with a clear link to the company.

This variant is prominent in digital media usage. Mostly it's on the website and numerous social media presences. The favicon is the marker that tells users or website visitors the page's identity when they open several tabs.

The icon needs to be small enough but memorable and can tell what the company is about. It's common to have the 

Many digital-oriented companies choose to focus on building their media presence by having a catchy favicon. Take Instagram, for example. Even though they are many other websites and companies that use a cartoon-like camera image as their logo, Instagram's presence and user activity override the competitors'.

The streaming giant Youtube also uses favicon as their primary icon. All internet users recognize the red and white play button that the website uses. The company also uses the one-color variants in print when they are sending the silver and gold buttons as an appreciative reward to Youtubers with subscribers' milestones.

Only creators with at least a million subscribers and up can have these buttons. And even though they are in complete silver or gold. Youtube choose to emboss their play button as an icon and make the reward recognizable.


5. Stacked logo

The stacked or vertical logo is the variation where the image and text are on top of each other. It can be a variation of the primary icon or the same as the primary one. This image set is perfect for vertical packaging. Or when the company only has limited vertical space for advertising. It's also a common choice for a business card or as a letterhead logo. 

Most companies choose either the stacked or submarket image in their stationaries. Therefore, typography plays a huge part in this image. Clear typography to show the brand and company's name is essential for this variant.

Many companies have difficulties in designing vertical logos. Most of them think that it needs to be a vertical setting. However, it doesn't mean that they need to take the name literally. The company can take the slimmed-down version of the primary image to be this logo.


6. Another option is to have the initials as the main object

Hilton Hotels, Cisco, Nike, Adidas, and John Deere are several popular brands that have stacked variants. Some of these names, such as Hilton, Cisco, and Nike, have stacked as their main brand. But even when they remove the text, their customers will still recognize the icons and link them to the company and its services.


When and where to use the variants

A company needs to think through where they place the logo. A business card and letterhead count as stationary where the company can use its icon variants. The same icon also can be visible in the email headline and other digital versions.

Keep in mind that these variants are available to help companies build and expand their presence. A plain box can be the perfect advertisement media when the company uses the right image.

Any variants will be the first impression of the brand. Customers will notice the logo in any situation. Therefore, there must be cohesion between the variants. It means more than just using the same color scheme or resizing the primary image. But it also means being memorable enough that only a snippet can lead the customers to think of the larger icon.

The key is understanding to use the right image for the right moment and media. For example, using the favicon as the letterhead on official paperwork or memo pads can cause backlash to the company. They will appear unprofessional and not understand the assignment. 

The logo is the best and easiest method for the company to advertise its service and product. Therefore, designing a catchy and versatile image to represent the company is a crucial step in building a brand.


How many variations should a company have

On average, a company should own at least three of these variations. It can be a combination of primary, stacked, and icon or primary, watermark, and icon. At least it has the primary logo for the main company image.

The primary is the cardinal variation for the company to put in numerous media. This image is also apparent in other official correspondence, such as in stationaries in print and digital correspondence.

Many companies also provide logo variations in different colors. This is not an attempt to maximize their budget. It's more to be ready for various design challenges they may have later. 


Final Words

Having multiple logo variations can be very beneficial. But it doesn't mean that the company needs to have all variations, especially for a new company; the logo design can cost them a lot. At most, the company will only need to use three or four variants, depending on their service.

The digital world already sets the restrictions on what the company can have in its icon. And with the most recent use of social media, they need to comply with those rules. The icons a company use need to be catchy and visually attractive. They also need to represent their values and be non-offensive to the public. 

A designer will suggest to the client to have a powerful image as the primary logo to work around. A powerful primary image means the variants can come effortlessly both in colors and designs.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published