The Curious Case of the Morphing Logo: Why Brands Are Abandoning Intricate Designs in the Age of Responsive Websites

The Curious Case of the Morphing Logo: Why Brands Are Abandoning Intricate Designs in the Age of Responsive Websites on

Your brand logo has to be ready to represent itself on a variety of screens, and it might have to shed some of itself to do that.

Life for website designers used to be easier and simpler. The world came to visit branded sites with a computer browser. Just about the biggest concern was designing content for smaller laptop screens.

Then along came smartphones. What works on computer monitors doesn’t work on the smaller real estate of mobile devices. Responsive design takes care of this, but you must be careful with your graphics when they resize. What happens when your logo reduces down to a fraction of the original? Intricate designs don’t always work, and this is why brand logos are changing.

Made for a different age

Brand logos are considered sacred to some folks. Mess with them and risk catching the ire of the company, and even some its customers. Before the Internet, companies only had to be concerned about what their brand logo looked like in print or television advertising. They had control over their logos, many of which used lots of detail in their designs.

But traditional media is no longer the gatekeeper. The Internet has transferred control. Now, each user decides how and where he or she will view your message. And the biggest platform of choice is now a lot smaller.

Mobile is king

You’re way behind if you don’t have a mobile-friendly site. Mobile usage has overtaken desktop, and Google now prioritizes mobile sites in rankings. It’s never been more important for companies to ensure that their logo and branding are consistent across the spectrum of full-sized computers to mobile devices. In fact, it’s crucial.


Alas, an intricate logo suffers within a responsive environment. Major companies discovered this early. Take a look at the detailed logo designs of popular companies such as Coke, Chanel, Walt Disney and others. These logo designs just don’t work when they’re reduced to, say, a width of 30 pixels.

If you’re not sure about what’s meant by a logo created for responsive design, head here with your browser. Then you have a choice:

-Bring up the website on your mobile device, and compare what you see there to what’s on your computer’s browser screen.

-Resize the browser screen on your computer. Keep shrinking the size.

Now you see the value of responsive logo design. It pushes logos to morph. They become simple and flexible, losing details as their sizes reduce but retaining brand identity.

The changing state of logos

After you look at what’s required to be responsive, you might wonder if it will push us all toward flat, simple icons with sans serif fonts (if fonts are used at all).

There’s no denying that responsive web design has a major influence on how brands have modified their logos to live in the new environments of mobile screens. The sacred rule of rigidity has been banished and it’s led to a new kind of design freedom.

Living in a smartphone world

Logos now must respond to living in on smartphones and even wearable tech with screens the size of a postage stamp. (And there are now consumers alive who might have difficulty identifying a postage stamp.)

No organization is immune. It’s not just the companies that were born in the cloud, or those that require technology to exist. Every business has increased online exposure, and needs it to thrive. Your brand identity will be impacted.

A professional design service can implement the principles of responsive design while keeping your logo and overall branding consistent. You’ll simply need to make sure you’re comfortable with how your logo appears when it’s reduced in scale.

The role of your brand in our responsive world

Keep these things in mind when envisioning your logo for the responsive age:

- Your logo is not a brand. It’s your perceived emotional image.
- Your brand is not a logo. A logo is nothing more than a reminding identifier of your brand.
- That identifier is a series of elements that continue to represent the brand whether they are added or subtracted.
- Your logo is a memory hook.

Have you made your logo responsive yet? It’s an exercise in scalability. What can it shed and still be familiar as an unmistakable representation of your identity?

There’s another option

Relax. Understand that you don’t own your brand. It exists in your customers’ minds. They want to take your product or service and fit it into their worldview. What do they want to do with your logo? How can you distill it as a scalable memory hook?

There’s a limit to this flexibility. But maybe the only thing you want to make sure of is that you’re not wasting valuable space on the screen. As long as it represents you in an unmistakable way, it communicates your brand.

If you’re looking to implement responsive design for your website, including a logo and brand identity that will adapt to all online environments, contact the professionals at Creative Technology Partners. We have the expertise to meet all of your content needs, providing expert software engineering, strategic user experience, and design services.

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