We live in an age where smartphones are now as commonplace as televisions and toasters, and where practically everyone who owns a smartphone uses at least one form of social media. Even my grandmother who is almost 90 years old, uses Facebook on her phone and iPad to keep in touch with friends and relatives. Social media has revolutionized the way we interact with each other and how we absorb news and information. This paradigm shift has also affected the ways in which graphic artists tackle logo design.
Designing for Micro-Sized Displays
Given its infinitely vast and ever-expanding user base, as well as its free-to-join nature, social media is an ideal platform for brands to engage with consumers. This also means that company logos need to be perfectly legible at small scales, such as on all modern phone displays. Now, although it has always been an important consideration in the past for logos to appear clear and distinct at a reduced scale, it was never an essential requirement.
Before the advent of social media and widespread smartphone usage, smaller logos were most commonly visible on branded print materials, such as business cards, letterheads and so on, as well as digital formats including website banners and email footers.
An example of a company logo that has been simplified in recent years, is the Starbucks Coffee logo.
The iconic Starbucks emblem was refined in 2011 to simply feature the image of the mermaid without the accompanying ‘Starbucks Coffee’ text. The simplification ensures that the logo is equally prominent at all scales including social media, and the absence of the brand name does not in any way harm the brand; the famous Starbucks emblem is instantly recognizable among consumers.
Adaptable Logo Design
Due to the high interactivity of consumers and visitors with brands online via social media, we now see companies altering their logos to suit a particular theme or honor a particular event or person. There is no greater example of this than Google, whose ‘Google Doodles’ are famous for celebrating such occasions through the use of clever creative visuals and interactive presentations. Such logos are often referred to as liquid brand identities or logo systems.
So why are these dynamic logos gaining in popularity? A logo embodies the soul and spirit of a given brand and this always remains constant, but by making slight adjustments to the design that coincide with a current event, convey a particular mood or simply enforce a certain opinion, the brand can in turn enhance their engagement levels with consumers and influence their impression of the brand.