Small screen branding

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Buried at the end of this article about Cisco’s new rebranding campaign was a quote that’s pretty important (emphasis mine).

"The old logo was difficult to see," Bostrom said. "The new logo is simpler and takes up a lot fewer pixels, so it’s more visible on end-user devices, whether it’s a unified communications screen or a handheld wireless device."

More and more, we’ll see companies thinking about how their logos will work in small screens, on low-resolution devices, and in other non-traditional locations. Companies do this now, but it’s often an afterthought.

A web shop I used to work with did a fair amount of logo and branding work. One thing designers always thought about when designing a logo was how well it would reduce and what it would look like in monochrome. Logos get used on everything from signs on the sides of buildings to business cards and they need to be easily recognizable at at any size. And if someone prints your logo on a black and white printer or they fax your letterhead somewhere it better work well without any color.

One of the interesting projects we had was for HP. A big agency had designed a new brand identity for them and it was being applied to everything from packaging to web sites.


Our task was to create the materials that would be used for every web site that HP built. The logo had a small rounded rectangle below it with their tagline—"Expanding Possibilities." HP had particular sizes for their logos on their web sites. To swap out the old logo for the new one, we had to match the size.

The HP portion of the logo reduced in size just fine, but rounded rectangle and the small letters of the tagline didn’t fare so well. So to create the logo file for everyone else to use, I and another guy recreated the tagline pixel by pixel to emulate their typeface.

John Engler and UnsubCentral.
October 11, 2006 8:17 PM

totally agreed Adam. My company's current logo is just the company name. It's long horizontally, and not very pretty. We're in the middle of redesigning the brand, and we've come up with a better logo I think... Still very much a work in progress, but we are now planning on using an icon as our logo, with, or without the name. Eventually, we think people will get it. Either way, the new logo fits small spaces a lot better.

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