Since the dawn of marketing, logos were defined as being a stable and fixed brand mark that was the representation of a brand. To alter your logo in any way, shape or form was to change the way customers viewed your business. The old-fashioned way of looking at a company’s brand identity was that change was heresy and would almost certainly spell doom for your organisation. Fast forward to 2015 and things are very different. Most brands (the successful ones that is) have accepted the fact that change is constant and that they must adapt in order to succeed. The need for adaptability has spread to the field of logo design. No longer can you design a logo, sit back and admire your work safe in the knowledge that your job is done for the next couple of generations.
Adapt or Falter
It is now a fact that the best logos are ones with a set idea at the heart of them and while they retain consistency, which is essential to brand identity, these logos can also evolve over time to meet a company’s changing needs. Adaptability is also necessary to cope with the changing technology we encounter on a seemingly daily basis. While you may argue that brands such as McDonald’s, MTV and others have retained their logo for decades, it is worth noting that these logos have actually had subtle changes made throughout the years.
In other words, McDonald’s has retained the famous ‘golden arches’ but compare the original logo to the modern one and you will see some alterations. Take a look at this website to see how the logos of world famous brands have changed over the years. There are companies like Shell that have had almost the same logo since 1948 with fairly minor alterations but other global giants such as Mercedes and Pepsi have logos that are almost unrecognisable from when they first created a logo. Oddly enough, these changes have not exactly damaged the brand identity of these companies which flies in the face of the notion that a logo must be a ‘fixed’ design.
Examples of Adaptability
The Whitney Museum in New York is a bastion of modern and contemporary art and as such, it is an institution that understands the necessity of change. In May 2013, it announced that it changed its original logo to a design that looked exceedingly dull on first glance. However, it is actually a brilliant idea because this seemingly ‘plain’ looking logo design can be stretched and extended to the point where it accommodates various types of text and it can also be used on a host of different branding materials.
At a stroke, the bland logo design can be filled with colour and used for almost any branding purpose. It doesn’t matter if the Whitney Museum wants the logo on a small badge or a giant billboard, the logo can adapt while crucially maintaining the organisation’s brand identity.
It could be argued that the MIT Media Lab Logo is one of the best initial examples of adaptable logo design.
This particular logo is comprised of a trio of spotlights in red, blue and yellow that can be algorithmically arranged into approximately 40,000 different patterns that all manage to look different while still being unmistakably the same logo.
Still Not Convinced?
As the whole point of having a logo is to create a brand that resonates with consumers, you will need to place it on every piece of marketing material, invoices, faxes, letterheads and merchandise. Your logo needs to be adaptable enough to look great on all of the above. Don’t fall for the various logo design gimmicks doing the rounds; while they may look great on paper, it may not appear on faxes or else it might not fit on the stationery design.
It is also essential that your logo looks good in black and white. Black and white greyscale logos, also known as halftones, are comprised of black dots of different sizes. You could create an awesome looking logo in colour but when it is automatically converted to black and white, the colours may lose their contrast and tonal range and suddenly, the logo looks terrible. Click here for some great examples of black and white logos.
Ultimately, great brand identity needs a logo that is timeless, well-made and suitable for any occasion. While creating an adaptable logo can seem to be a challenging process, it is actually relatively easy as long as it is considered during the design stage. In the current age, things move so quickly that adaptation is vital just to keep on even terms let alone get ahead. Thanks to innovation in social media, screen based media and technology, we can now create logos that move and interact in an entirely new dimension.