For decades it’s been ingrained in your mind: bigger is better.
Take a look around and you’ll see the evidence of this assumption almost everywhere. The most popular cars on the market today are about 14 inches longer on average than their 1980s counterparts. And single-family homes built in 2017 offer an average of about 60% more square footage than homes built in 1973, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Even portion sizes have grown, with U.S. adults now averaging a 20-25% higher daily calorie intake than in the 1970s.
It’s no surprise, then, that of all of the websites we’ve built and launched for our clients, the most commonly requested design change is to make the logo bigger. In fact, this is such a common request that it’s even sparked its fair share of internet memes:
The problem is that the “bigger is better” mentality doesn’t work when it comes to website logos. Clients who request this change almost always do so because they want their brand to stand out and be memorable to their website visitors.
But there’s a huge difference between having a large logo and having a brand that your audience connects with. How your logo looks is just one of the many things that factor into how your audience perceives your brand. In many cases, making the logo bigger can negatively affect how well your site performs with your customers and clients.
In this blog post, we’re taking a deep dive into logo strategy to share why so many business owners want a bigger one, why bigger isn’t always better, and how you can reinforce your brand without supersizing your visuals.
Brand vs logo: what’s the difference?
Before we dive into why so many businesses want a bigger logo, let’s make one thing clear: there’s a huge difference between your company’s logo and its brand. But if you’re not a marketing expert, it can be pretty easy to get the two mixed up.
Your brand is the sum total of impressions, assumptions, and reputations that your business inspires among your audience. Your logo certainly contributes to the impression you leave on your potential new customers and clients. But so do the colors you choose for your company, the words you use in your website copy, and how you interact with your audience in person and online.
Brand(n): A public image, reputation, or identity conceived of as something to be marketed or promoted, often regarded as an asset.
Your logo is a visual way to represent your brand, but it is not your entire brand in and of itself. A logo really just needs to leave people with a good impression of your company — or call to mind the good impression they already have — not do all of the branding heavy liftings by itself.
Logo(n): an identifying symbol or graphic representation of a company name, trademark, abbreviation, etc. that is uniquely designed for ready recognition.
If you’re still confused, here’s a crutch that may help: imagine your company as a person. Functionally, your company’s logo is the equivalent of that person’s signature, while your brand is more like that person’s reputation among close friends.
So you think you want a bigger logo…
Here at 123WebMobile, we’ve found that clients who ask for larger logos almost always do so for one of a handful of reasons. And since you’re reading this, we’re guessing you may fall into one of the categories below as well:
Reason #1: You want to increase brand recognition
This is by far the most common reason that our clients ask us to supersize their logo in their website design. The bigger the logo, they reason, the more memorable the company will be later on.
And in extreme cases, business owners may even think that if their logo doesn’t jump off the screen at their site visitors, their brand isn’t being properly represented.
Most of the time, this request stems from a place of confusion about what differentiates a logo from a brand. But now that you’ve had the benefit of reading the previous section of this post, you should be realizing what all good web designers already know:
The size of your logo has nothing to do with how well your audience remembers your brand.
Because at the end of the day, if the only thing a customer remembers about your company is a cute little graphic, you have a much bigger branding and marketing problem to deal with.
Your company’s brand encompasses so much more than just your logo. We listed colors, copy, and customer service above, but you should also consider what your customers are saying about you online, how easy your site is to navigate, how it looks on mobile devices, the results your products and services are able to deliver, and more.
Every single one of these elements contributes to your company’s reputation. And none of them should be overshadowed by a disproportionately large logo.
If you really want to stand out from the competition, you need to be crystal clear about how your company makes customers’ lives better. Days, weeks, or months down the road, it will be those results that your audience remembers — not how many extra pixels your logo filled up on their screen.
Most importantly, be careful that vanity is not driving your request for a larger logo and increased brand recognition. There’s nothing wrong with taking pride in your business and the hard work you put in to build it, but remember that ultimately, your website’s purpose is to serve your clientele’s needs, not your own ego.
Reason #2: You don’t trust your designer
Brand recognition isn’t the only reason a business owner may want to see their logo displayed more prominently. Sometimes, whether consciously or subconsciously, the real issue is that you don’t fully trust the web designer you hired.
We get it.
As a business owner, your company is your baby. You’ve poured the proverbial — and sometimes literal — blood, sweat, and tears into your business for years to get to this point. One wrong decision could undo all of that hard work and bring the whole thing tumbling down.
And it’s not just you who could be hurt by that — the livelihood of each of your employees rides on your shoulders.
But you know that your website is one of the most important marketing investments you’ll ever make. So if you want your business to continue to grow, you’ve got to get this right. There’s a world of pressure on you to see that every last pixel is absolutely perfect. And who knows what’s perfect for your business better than you do?
We get it because we own a business, too. But here’s the thing…
You know your website is massively important, so you don’t approach finding a web design agency lightly.
You do your research. You pore over work samples on Instagram feeds. You read every review on Clutch and UpCity to see what past clients have said. You spend countless hours looking for the very best agency to pull off a job as crucial as this one.
And then you hire one. Not just anyone — the best one. The one that you believe has your company’s best interests at heart and will come up with the perfect solutions to your website’s performance problems.
Experienced web designers don’t do anything arbitrarily. Each and every element of their design — from font choice to phrasing, and yes, even logo sizing — is carefully planned and backed by a solid strategy to bring in real results for your company.
When they present a design to you for approval, it’s because they’re confident that it meets the needs and requirements the two of you discussed at the outset of the project, and that it will be the most effective way to help you reach your business goals.
The very best thing you can do for your business at that point is to simply trust the experts to do their job.
Reason #3: You don’t understand your audience
If neither of the above scenarios sounds like you, you may be part of the third group of business owners in search of a larger logo: you know that your business has the power to change lives, but you simply don’t understand what motivates your audience.
When people visit your website, it’s because they’re looking for a solution to a problem. How you can help should be the first thing they see once your site loads.
But the larger your logo, the more it steals attention away from those solutions. If it’s too large, it may even bump that important information low enough that your site visitors have to scroll to see it.
And if people can’t immediately see what your company does, you stand to lose about 46% of them right off the bat. They’ll choose one of your competitors instead, one whose website clearly details exactly how they can solve your audience’s problems.
We’re willing to bet that you don’t want to miss out on almost half of your potential business because of a simple mistake.
Before diving into the design process with your web developer, you need to be clear about who your business serves. One way to do this is to create buyer personas for each type of customer you want to help. Picture each as a real person and try to imagine what’s going on in their life.
What problems are they struggling with? What do they fear? What drove them to seek you out? What is the biggest concern at the forefront of their mind, and what do they not care about?
For example, imagine that you own a pet boarding kennel. A large portion of your clients are pet owners who usually work from home but at times need to travel for work. They worry that without supervision during the day, their pet may become anxious and act out by destroying belongings or relieving themselves in the apartment.
In this example, your client isn’t concerned with your logo; they’re concerned with their pet getting enough care and attention during their absence. So when you’re designing your website, the first main section should be all about how your four-legged clients receive personalized, hands-on care during their stay.
Patients of Foot & Ankle Center all come to them for one reason: they’re having a hard time walking. Some patients may be dealing with painful bunions on their feet, while others may have a problem with the tendons in their ankle.
But how Foot & Ankle Center can help is clear from the second the home page loads. And it’s not because they have a huge logo.
How to choose a logo size
If you’ve chosen a web designer who knows what they’re doing, they should be able to explain to you why they made the sizing choices they did for each element of your site, not just for the logo. And 99% of the time, that choice boils down to an issue of either balance or hierarchy.
Your website’s visuals coexist in a carefully crafted, harmonious balance relative to each other. If you change the size of just one element even slightly, everything else starts to look out of balance.
Balance isn’t about making everything the same size. It’s about keeping each element in just the right proportion to everything else around it so that what’s truly important gets noticed first. Your logo should be big enough to be recognized, but small enough that it doesn’t get in the way of your other design elements.
After all, if everything is the same, nothing stands out.
Balance is all about how your website elements look relative to each other, but hierarchy is the order in which they should get your users’ attention. This is especially important when it comes to your logo size because it’s “above the fold” at the top of your page: high enough that visitors can see it without needing to scroll.
Everything above the fold is prime real estate, essentially the web design equivalent of a strip of oceanfront property. Anything you put there needs to be carefully planned to make the most of that premium spot.
If you’re developing that land you’re not going to waste a good ocean view and beach access on a 7-11. You’re going to build multi-million-dollar homes, luxury apartments, or an exclusive resort because you know they’ll give you a better return on your investment.
And while your logo is definitely better than a 7-11, the concept is the same: save that valuable space for the website elements that your buyers care about and will make you the most money.
It can help to take some time before starting the design process to map out your customers’ journey through your website. Carefully consider the following:
What is the most important thing you want customers to know about your company?
Which actions do you want visitors to take on your site, and in what order?
Does your current website design facilitate or hinder your audience from completing their journey in that order?
Once you have an idea of how you want visitors to interact with your site, your web designer can easily determine the appropriate hierarchy of your site elements.
3 reasons to keep your logo on the small side
Now that we’ve discussed some of the drawbacks to supersizing your logo, let’s take a look at what you stand to gain from giving it a smaller presence.
1. Customer-focused design
Keeping your logo on the smaller side gives your entire site design a leg up on the customer service front, mainly because smaller logos tend to feel more approachable.
Just think about the last time you saw a sale flyer in your favorite department store or a new gadget on a late-night infomercial. Each of them probably used a fairly large font in an effort to convey excitement about the good deals they offered.
But rather than feeling hyped about potential savings, you may have simply felt like you were being shouted at.
The larger a word appears, the louder it reads to your audience.
Volume aside, larger logos also give the impression that what really matters to you is your own company, not the customers you help. As we discussed earlier, the more space your logo takes up, the more attention it demands. And the more attention visitors give your logo, the less they notice about how you can make their lives better.
And if your products or services are as good as we know they are, there’s no need to shout at your customers in order to sell them.
2. More space for elements that provide value
Another benefit to keeping your logo on the small side is that it frees up more space for website elements that really matter to your bottom line.
Your logo is important because it helps visitors recognize what company they’re dealing with. But is it really the most valuable information on the page? After all, your logo isn’t what your customers are buying — your products and services are. The smaller your logo, the more space you have above the fold for the strategic copy and compelling call to action it takes to move leads further down your sales funnel.
3. More white space
If your brand identity isn’t coming through strongly enough even after your web designer bumps up your logo size, the real problem may have to do with the amount of white space on your page.
“White space” really just refers to a part of your website that doesn’t house any design elements, like the sides of this blog post and the blank spaces around the headline. It’s a crucial part of any design because it gives viewers’ eyes a place to rest and take in all of the visuals. It can also help with the balance issues we discussed earlier.
The more white space there is around a certain element, the more it stands out to viewers. So if you want your logo to be more noticeable, it might just need a little more breathing room.
Ultimately, if you hire an expert web designer who knows what they’re doing, you should never have to worry about how large the logo is on your page. Do your research, ask smart questions of the designers you’re considering, and trust the one you choose to do an amazing job.
Still, have questions? We’d be more than happy to talk with you about how to get your website to where it needs to be.