It goes without saying that your logo is an important piece of your visual brand identity. But did you know that most businesses actually have multiple logo variations? In fact, it’s common for brands to have up to four logo variations, each of which is suitable for different print and digital use cases. One of the variations is your primary logo, and the other three are complementary. Taken together, these logo variations create versatility your brand and help it look cohesive across different platforms.

What are logo variations?

Logo variations are simply alternate versions of your logo. They are not very different from each other in terms of style. In fact, the more cohesive they look, the better. The major difference between them is their shape. Each variation is applicable for specific use cases, which we’ll take a look at below.

Four common logo variations

Of course, it’s not necessary to have four logo variations. Some brands have more and some have less. The number really depends on what type of business you have and where you display your logos.

The following are the four most common logo variations that contribute to a cohesive visual brand identity.

1. Primary logo

Your primary logo is your most complete and complex logo variation. Often, it contains a combination of text (your brand name) and a unique illustration or icon. It may also display a tagline and year of establishment. Primary logos are typically well balanced horizontally and vertically.

The primary logo is the most commonly used logo variation and is best used for large displays, such as website headers, brochures, and signage.

Heidi Garcia Photography primary logo

2. Wide or horizontal logo

The wide version of the primary logo is often referred to as the horizontal or secondary logo. In order to create a horizontal version of your primary logo, some re-structuring or simplification may be required, for instance removal of the tagline. In some cases, the horizontal logo is simply a typographic logo with the name of the brand and no other elements.

Wide logos are perfect for letterheads, email signatures, and social media banners.

Heidi Garcia secondary logo variation

3. Submark

A submark is a condensed and simplified logo variation. Typically, it contains just the brand icon or initials, but there are exceptions. Submarks are generally circular or square shaped.

Submarks are great for small displays where the primary and secondary logos become illegible, such as social media profile pictures, footers, and watermarks.

4. Favicon

A favicon is the tiny icon that sits in the browser tab next to the title of your website. Since it’s so small, it typically contains just the icon from the primary logo. If the logo system doesn’t include an icon, the favicon may instead consist of the brand name initials. In the example below, we combined Heidi’s icon with her initials.

How many logo variations does your brand have?

In addition to these design variations, it’s important to also have different color variations of your logos. For different applications, you may need a full color, black, or white version of your logo.

I hope this post helped you understand the benefits of having up to four logo variations for your brand. In sum, logo variations give your brand versatility and help you present your brand in its best light in different settings, both print and digital.

As a brand designer, I always work with my clients to develop one strong primary logo, and then create additional variations depending on the clients’ needs. Click here to learn more about how I help visionary entrepreneurs bring their dream brands to life with ease through intentional design.

Related post: What’s a brand board and why does your business need one?


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