Is a dynamic logo right for your business?

Jessica Sillers

A dynamic logo, as opposed to a static logo, changes form depending on context (think Google’s timely tweaks). While certain aspects of dynamic logos stay constant, designers have a lot of freedom to explore variations of color, shape, and presentation.

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Dynamic logo for Coalition for Engaged Education

Many companies love dynamic logos for their versatility and ability to reflect a business’ creativity. Because the logo is customized for each new environment it’s in, it can offer an especially fresh and relevant take every time. Read on for signs that this approach to logo design is right for your business.

You know your company inside and out

A dynamic logo is not the same as a placeholder! If you’ve put off choosing a logo because it’s hard to pick one image that’s just right, don’t make the mistake of thinking a dynamic logo is an easy solution to indecision. If anything, you need to have exceptional confidence in your chosen logo to allow it to change.

Successful dynamic logos work because of the elements that stay the same, as well as the changing aspects. Without a solid core idea, your logo will turn into a jumbled mess.

The publishing house, Knopf, chose a line drawing of a Borzoi dog in mid-stride as its logo. Each book designer puts his or her own spin on how to draw the Borzoi. Knopf even held a contest to encourage new designs. With all the creative changes, though, the general size, placement (on the book’s spine), and pose stays the same.

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Variations of the Knopf logo

Your customers can recognize you easily

Nickelodeon is a great example of a company using dynamic logos right. The shape varies from a splotch to a rocket ship, fish, foot, or just about any other object. The playful font and brilliant orange color stay the same, tying all the crazy shapes together.

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Nickelodeon logos 1984 – 2009

USA Today changes the color and imaging of its logo to fit each section. Pick up an issue and you’ll see the logo as a ball in the sports section, a pie chart in the money section, and a cursor “clicking” the logo in tech news. The next day, you’ll find new variations.

In each case, the company can almost guarantee that customers will see multiple versions of the logo. A Nickelodeon viewer will likely stick around for at least a 30-minute show, and a news reader will probably check out a few sections. This exposure is important to help customers recognize the logo, however it appears next.

Your business revolves around change

The companies mentioned so far have a lot in common. They all offer content that changes constantly. Dynamic logos are useful for these kinds of businesses because it’s so hard to capture the full spectrum of offerings with one image.

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Portugal’s Casa da Música

Could you pick one play to define an entire theater, or one website to capture a search engine’s power? It makes more sense to pick a memorable starting point (such as a stylistic outline of the theater building) and refresh the imagery with each production season.

Casa da Música's dynamic logo

Portugal’s Casa da Música uses a dynamic logo based on the design of the building.

You can, of course, choose a dynamic logo even for a business that doesn’t change much, such as a salon. Just don’t feel like you have to. “Dynamic” doesn’t necessarily mean the logo is better. Think of a favorite cookie or snack brand, for example. The company may prefer a static logo to reinforce the idea of dependability and “classic” taste. Consider the qualities customers value in your brand and determine whether a dynamic or static logo best reflects those ideals.

How do I get a dynamic logo for my business?

If a dynamic logo is right for you, 99designs can bring it to life. Get your best results by being clear about your expectations in your design brief. Do you have a strong sense of which aspects should be constant and which can change? What colors do you have in mind? (Even if you like the whole rainbow, neons make a different statement than pastels.) Your designer can create a base dynamic logo design and mock-ups for several other iterations to start you on your way with a creative logo that showcases every facet of what your business can do.

Launch your dynamic logo design contest today!

Article’s header image is composed of Media Lab at MIT’s dynamic logo, designed by The GreenEyl.

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