The four little words that make designers cringe, “make the logo bigger.” We joke about it all the time, sometimes with elaborate internet pranks like the make my logo bigger cream. Yet we get this request fairly often (myself almost every time a produce a design). So why is there this disconnect between designers and companies where we feel the logo should take up a fraction of the space that employing companies would like? Additionally why as designers don’t we adapt and just make abusively large logos to our clients delights?
To the client the logo is really important to them. It is the identifying mark of their company. The company they spend so much time nurturing, growing, living… so it makes sense that they want the logo to be big and proud. They also want to make sure it commands enough attention that people notice it, recognize it, remember it. This also makes a lot of sense.
So despite the fact that I titled this post “nobody gives a shit about your logo,” it is understandable that the client wants the logo to be large and important.
The Users Perspective
From the users perspective the logo just isn’t that important. Sorry, but it is true. Despite the fact that I hate “mirror-personas,” think about any time you have visited a website and really been concerned or even thought about the logo at all? It doesn’t happen, users don’t care… they come to your site to perform tasks which has nothing to do with the logo.
Now the logo does play an important part in usability. The logo and tagline help identify and establish what website the users is on, so from that sense it is no doubt important to make the logo visible enough for users to see and identify it. However the size required for visibility is often overestimated.
Breaking it Down
Almost all websites tend to put the logo in the top left corner of the site. This is a good idea because it is a long established convention. Users expect to see it there so they can easily look to the top left and identify where they are.
For that reason, if you put the logo in the convention spot you immediately reduce the requirement of size and impact that is needed. Users will be able at any point, to glance and identify what website they are on. Remember that they are on your site to perform a task, not be “branded” so you will actually have a more effective and successful site by emphasizing the completion of the task vs trying to push your brand on them.
Additionally, if you look at most heatmap studies you will find that the top left portion of the site gets high level of user focus. This is probably reenforced by the fact that we read top to bottom, left to right. If you look at additional heatmap studies your will see that on interior pages users tend to skip over the header area completely and focus more on the content. This means that they no longer care about what site they are on, or your logo and are focused on finding the information they are looking for.
By making the logo more visually dominant and taking up more space you are actually distracting the user and preventing them from achieving their objectives. The end result is that your site feels more cluttered and difficult to use, both which negatively impact the brand.
So all that effort that has gone into making sure the logo is visible actually impacts the brand in a negative way.
There are plenty of great designs out there that don’t have an overburdening logo, yet there is no question what site you are on nor do you miss the logo completely. Take a look and observe how they make use of placement and whitespace to ensure they are apparent but not intruding.
You will note that in all of these cases one could easily skip over the logo as it is far from the most dominate element on the page. However you never have to hunt or look for it, or question where you are.