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Responsive Logos & Why Your Business Needs One

There’s been a lot of buzz about the need for a website that’s responsive, but there doesn’t seem to be enough chatter regarding what happens to one’s logo design when placed on various screen sizes. Joe Harrison, a digital marketing and graphic design agency based in the UK, was the first to experiment with the new concept of responsive logo design.

What is a responsive logo?

A responsive logo is a logo whose design elements vary slightly depending on the device or screen size they are displayed on without sacrificing brand identity. The design elements in question could be icons or symbols, business names and slogans, colors, backgrounds, outlines, and other details.

Joe Harrison published a project they had worked on that took globally-recognized logos and changed their appearance based on screen size. The goal was to address the need for brands to adapt to today’s multiple devices and endless screen sizes and resolutions. Basic logo design principles (color, shape, font, space, etc) were used to create multiple variations of the same logo that looked great across a variety of devices.

Globally recognized brands such as Guinness, Coka-Cola, and Kodak have these iconic and often complex logo designs that were difficult to use on social media profiles, mobile phones, and even site icons. As a result, the logos looked warped, unprofessional, and busy. Joe Harrison stripped these complex logos down without sacrificing the company’s brand identities.

“The concept aims to move branding away from fixed, rigid guidelines into a more flexible and contextual system,” they explain on their website.

Details to keep in mind

Whenever you are creating a responsive logo, think about changing these four elements:

  • Details such as slogans, Inc., Corp. or LLC details, or other descriptive text
  • Removing color in favor of a single color that is most identifiable with your brand
  • Simplify shapes by removing border lines, decorations, and frills
  • Stacking elements to reduce the amount of space your logo takes up

Example of a responsive logo design

Not all responsive logo designs will be the same. Companies with a wordmark logo will have a different responsive design than a company with a combination mark logo (icon and text), badge logo, or image-only logo. Below is how Walmart utilized the idea of a responsive logo design for their combination-style logo.

Full company logo:

Walmart Logo Example for responsive logo design with text on the right of the icon with tagline

Your full company logo is perfect to place on business letterheads and your website. It’s also ideal to use this logo variation if you are collaborating with another business so that people who haven’t yet been exposed to your brand can help identify your business later.

Company logo without tagline:

Walmart Logo Example for responsive logo design with Icon only

This is the ideal version for promotional products such as banners, t-shirts, pens, and mugs. The logo is simple enough to be recognizable yet detailed enough to ensure brand recognition. This version is also ideal to include on social media profile cover photos.

Company logo stacked:

Walmart Logo Example for responsive logo design with Icon central on top of text

A stacked logo is best used for social media profile pictures, mobile devices, shirt pocket insignias, and smaller promotional products. The stacked logo is best used if you have a combination-style logo design.

Icon only:

Walmart Logo Example for responsive logo design with Icon only

If your original logo design is complex but includes a memorable icon, consider isolating your icon to use for a favicon on your website, on your social media profiles, on the mobile version of your website, and on your products. A logo icon such as this one is versatile and scalable.

Company logo with a country name:

Walmart Logo Example for responsive logo design with Icon on the right with Walmart name on the left and Country Location of Argentina centered under Walmart NameWalmart Logo Example for responsive logo design with Icon centered with Walmart name on the left and Country Location of Argentina on the right

While most businesses will not need to scale their logo this far, here is a great example of a global corporation successfully incorporating geographical regions into their logo design. Walmart has made an effort to create multiple responsive logo designs for their country locations. For small business franchises or for those opening a second or third location, adding the town, city, or street name should be considered.

Alternative backgrounds:

Walmart Logo Example for responsive logo design with Logo on the left of Text Walmart Logo Example for responsive logo design with Logo on the left of Text

If your logo has white text or a white background, you may want to use an alternate background color in the event that your promotional products, letterheads and other materials are white. The goal is to always make sure that your logo stands out on a piece of marketing material, whether that be online or offline.

Black and white:

Walmart Logo Example for responsive logo design black and white version Walmart Logo Example for responsive logo design all white version

Black and white logo variations are essential to have if you plan on running a print marketing campaign such as fliers, insert mailers, coupons, and newspaper ads. Black and white logos will save your business hundreds of dollars on printing costs.

As you can see above, Walmart’s graphic designers went above and beyond to create dozens of variations of the Fortune 500 company’s original logo. Each variation is meant to meet a very specific expectation and should be used under very specific circumstances. Walmart even goes so far as to explicitly state on their website that no one is allowed to reproduce the logo smaller than 1-1/4″ wide.

Source and additional logo variations: https://www.walmartbrandcenter.com/downloads.aspx

How to make a responsive logo

So now that you’ve seen a real-life example of a responsive logo design, let’s work to create one.

First, you will need to create a logo and make sure that you have either a PNG or Vector (EPS) file. The PNG file will ensure that your business logo has a clear background, which will make it easy to edit in a photo editor tool. Vector files are great if you have Photoshop or Indesign as these are high-resolution files that can be easily edited and scaled to fit any screen. We highly recommend you use a Vector file for this project if you have access to Photoshop or Indesign.

However, since the majority of us don’t have Photoshop or Indesign, this How-To will be done using a PNG image file and a free image editor called Pixlr. GIMP, Pixlr, and Fotor are a few of the most popular image editing tools available at the moment.

Creating a responsive logo using a free image editing tool

  1.  Save your logo design in a PNG file format, open Pixlr, and select “CREATE A NEW IMAGE”
  2. Name the new image file after the type of logo style you are about to create (i.e. ‘Horizontalwithicon’ or ‘Blackwhitestacked’). Set the pixel width to be twice as long as the pixel height (this will accommodate for your horizontal logo styles). Finally, click the “Transparent” box so that the background of the image is transparent.
  3. A blank, gray and white gridded box should appear. Next, go to “Layer” > “Open image as layer” > select your PNG logo image file.
  4. The image that appears will have a white background. In order to remove the white background, click the magic wand icon in your left-side toolbar. Using the magic wand, click anywhere on the white background of your logo. This will highlight everything except your icon, business name, and slogan.
  5. Press the “Delete” key on your keyboard and the white background should disappear. If you still have white spaces (such as in your letters or icon), simply continue to click inside these spaces and hit the “Delete” key.
  6. To create a black and white version of your logo, select the paint bucket icon. The default color will already be set to black (#000000). Click on your logo icon and letters of your business name and slogan to change the colors to black.
  7. Save your black and white logo version and make sure the Format is a PNG.
  8. Once saved, hit Ctrl Z on your keyboard in order to revert back to the original logo file so that you can begin to create the next variation of your responsive logo.
  9. To make a horizontal logo variation, select the dotted square on your toolbar to the left (the selector).
  10. Select the entire business name and company slogan.
  11. Next, click on the cursor/mouse icon on your toolbar. This is the “move” icon. This allows you to click and drag your recently selected business name and slogan to wherever you want on the canvas. Move your selection either to the left or right of your business icon.
  12. Save the image the same way you did the black and white version. Press Ctrl Z until you revert back to the original.
  13. To create an icon-only variation of your business logo, use the selector tool again and capture your business name and slogan within the square.
  14. Hit the “Delete” button on your keyboard and you will be left with just the icon. Save your icon and revert back to the original design.
  15. You can also repeat steps 13 and 14 to remove just your business slogan.

This whole process should take you about 10-15 minutes – and you will have half a dozen different versions of your business logo! Below are the results of using Pixlr to create a responsive logo design:

Original logo:

Sample Logo Design with Icon positioned centrally above text in grey scale

Logo without slogan:

Sample Logo Design with Icon positioned centrally above text  with no tagline

Horizontal logo:

Sample Logo Design with Icon positioned centrally above text  with no tagline

Horizontal logo without slogan:

Sample Logo Design with Icon on the left side of text and no tagline

Icon only:

Sample Logo Design with Icon Only

Black and white:

Sample Logo Design with Icon positioned centrally above text


Sample Logo Design with Icon positioned centrally above text in grey scale

Can someone create a responsive logo for me?

Why, yes! We’re glad you asked. At LogoMaker, our professional logo designers will not only make you a logo, but they will also create multiple variations of your logo. Our goal is to ensure that marketing your business is scalable, professional, and able to keep up with current trends – which is why we create responsive logos for those who need them. Request to work with a logo designer and one of our qualified individuals will walk you through the entire process.

Amber Ooley
Amber Ooley
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