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One logo is better than no logo. But ideally, your brand has up to four logo variations, each of which are suitable for different use cases in print and digital media. One of them is your primary logo, and the other three are complementary. Taken together, these four logos form a major component of your brand identity that helps your brand 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 are, 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 brand’s visual identity.

1. Primary logo

Your primary logo is your most complete and complex logo variation. Typically, it contains a combination of text and a unique illustration or icon. It may also display a tagline and year of establishment. Often, the primary logo is well balanced horizontally and vertically.

The primary logo is best used for large displays, such as website headers, brochures, and flyers.

Heidi Garcia Photography primary logo
Primary logo example

2. Wide or horizontal logo

The wide version of the primary logo is often referred to as the alternate 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.

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

Heidi Garcia secondary logo variation
Alternate logo variation

3. Submark

A submark is a small and simplified logo variation. Typically, it contains just the brand 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 favicons.

Submark design

4. Icon or initials only

If your primary logo contains an icon or illustration, consider having a logo variation that is just your icon. These icons are totally unique to your brand and will help create recognition. If your logo doesn’t include an icon, you can use your brand name initials instead. In the example below, we combined Heidi’s icon with her initials.

Favicon for Heidi Garcia Photography

Icons have similar use cases as submarks, but are especially ideal for a website favicon.

How many logo variations does your brand have?

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. If you’re in the market for a suite of professional new logos, or a complete brand identity package, let’s chat.

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