logo lessons 5: clarity

Zoom in, zoom out. Is it fuzzy or clear?

So, you’ve gone through iteration after iteration and you’ve finally chiselled away the last pieces to uncover the masterpiece that is your logo. Now the fun begins. It’s time to start branding it on your touchpoints. Your website, your business cards, your mobile app, your ad intros, etc. 

Then it hits you: this beautiful work of art looks too fuzzy! When you look at it on your website’s top menu, it isn’t clear! It’s blurry! It looks so unprofessional!

Then you resort to the same line of thinking that we all do: it must be the file type! If we save it as a PNG instead of a JPEG, that will solve the issue!

Nope. Still fuzzy.

The file backdrop needs to be transparent! That’ll do the trick.

Nope. Still blurry.

SVG! If we save it as a Scalable Vector Graphic, then it’s technically not an image anymore. It’s just code that scales infinitely small or big without sacrificing image quality. That’ll solve our issue for sure!

Nope. Still not clear.

Well actually, exporting your logo as an SVG file can improve its clarity at smaller sizes, but only to a certain degree. And it won’t make a difference on print collateral like business cards either.

So what’s the root of the problem? Your logo is simply too detailed. It’s really easy to get carried away with the beautiful intricacies of creative design. So how do we stay on a clear path while designing our logo?

The square inch is your friend.

The standard test is how clear your logo looks inside a single square inch space. As you’re designing your logo, always be framing it inside a single square inch space and gauging its clarity. 

Now, in terms of actual design elements, what can we do to avoid a logo that loses clarity as it gets smaller? As a rule of thumb, you want to avoid having extremely thin elements very close together. That is the biggest error that most designers make. The reason is that as you scale the image down, the empty space between the thin elements begins to disappear, and the elements begin to merge, resulting in a blurred mess instead of the sharp masterpiece your brand deserves as its vessel.