How have company logos evolved amid the rise of responsive web design?

Piranha Designs - Friday, July 07, 2017
Despite the reputation of the company logo in certain circles as something that remains necessarily consistent over time, it’s fair to say that it has been buffeted by various pressures in recent years – not least of which has been the ascendancy of responsive web design. 

Just think, after all, of the circumstances in which so many of today’s familiar brand motifs – the four Audi rings, for example, or the yellow ‘M’ of McDonald’s – were conceived. Until as recently as the 1990s, company logos may have been largely expected to take their place mainly on high-street signs, on printed advertisements and perhaps on the side of commercial vehicles. 

Matters have changed a bit since then, with the rise of responsive web design cruelly exposing the deficiencies of many logo designs. At the same time, though, the challenge of scaling down logos in accordance with the smaller screens of smartphone and tablet devices has helped to demonstrate what always made certain brand logos so great. 

The positive characteristics of such brands of which we are speaking are their simplicity and flexibility that not only makes them adaptable to various formats and layout options today, but was already making them effortlessly memorable yesterday – and continues to do so now. 

A short history of effective brand logos 


When “Purple Rain” hit-maker Prince swapped his name for a logo in the early 1990s, the overwhelming response was one of bafflement. However, the late Artist may have actually been ahead of his time in making such a move – and it’s hard to deny that many people remembered it long after he reversed the decision in 2000. 

Much earlier than that, however, the most impactful brands were evolving their logos in ways that would prove, if inadvertently, highly advantageous for the coming age of responsive design. Apple’s first attempt at a logo, for instance, was certainly intricate-looking, resembling a traditional print depicting Isaac Newton sitting under a tree, with an apple hanging over his head. 

However, such a design could hardly be accused of being simple or modern, so it was perhaps unsurprising that just a year later, a new logo was created. With its simplified, albeit instantly recognisable silhouette of an apple with a bite taken out of it, it was clear that the logo’s designer, Rob Janoff, had created a classic. While its colours have varied down the years, the basic motif has continued in use, largely unmodified by Apple, ever since. 

Is your firm’s logo fit for the responsive web design era? 


From Twitter’s bird symbol that presents itself to anyone firing up the micro-blogging platform’s app, right through to the Nike swish and the multi-coloured Google G, a variety of brands have shown their ability to create logos that just happen to scale well to any screen size and are therefore brilliantly compliant with our current responsive web design era. 

Could you say the same for your own company’s current logo, or would you like to discuss with us how we could play our part in crafting a compelling and timeless visual identity for your brand? Talk to our professionals in brand identity and logo design today to learn more.

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