If you want to create a recognizable and professional looking brand, you need to have consistency and flexibility. This is where your alternate logo comes in.
As beautiful as your main logo may be, it may not play well everywhere you want to use it. Your alternate logo is a variation made to compliment your main logo, but usually it uses a different and often simplified layout to make sure you always have options no matter where you want to use it.
Most social media profile pictures are either square or circular. Sometimes your main logo may look amazing on your website header, but when standing alone in a square on Facebook it looks awkward.
The designs for my business are a great example of this. My main logo is very horizontal. When you try to set this as the profile picture on Facebook, you have a lot of unnecessary white space. Even worse, if you try to set it as the picture for Instagram, the sides get cut off or you have to make it so small it’s not serving its purpose of standing out and making a statement.
Same concept here. Maybe your main logo is totally and completely amazing. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted… but doesn’t fit well on a mug.
Here’s an example from one of my projects. The main logo for this brand is a detailed badge logo. I’d be willing to bet if this company wanted some branded pens, the main logo isn’t gonna cut it. That’s why the alternate logo is designed to fit in places where the main logo would be bulky or ineffective.
I have one client whose main logo is GORGEOUS in color. It is fun, joyful, and perfectly represents her quirky brand identity. While this logo works okay in a solid color, some of the effect is lost. So, we specifically designed her alternate logo so that it would be very strong as a solid. This was especially important because this client intended to make branded stamps for her packaging.
You can see that the two logo variations are very similar and obviously belong to the same brand, but they are different enough to be are able to support each other in different situations. In this case, we intentionally created an alternate logo that was very strong as a solid color and we avoided the risk of little details being lost when translated as a stamp.
Creating a consistent brand requires more than just sticking one logo on top of your website and calling it a day.
It requires thought, options, and flexibility. Sometimes your main logo might leave something to be desired when placed on your Instagram. Or maybe you want to add your branding to blog post graphics, but your main logo looks busy and distracts from the message being delivered.
You’re going to run into some road blocks, and having a strong alternate logo will make sure you’re prepared for anything that comes your way.
Related Post: Does it Matter if You Like Your Brand Design?