When to Have Two Different Logos

Having a fantastic logo that drives business and builds recognition is a beautiful thing. Having a second should be twice as good, right?

I’m sure you already know the answer to that rhetorical question and that is “No” to be frank. We don’t have the numbers on it, but in theory it should be somewhere around half as good.

Let’s think about this a little.

Your logo is the mark that your customers will come to know you by. When they see it on the door, in your menu, or in their social media feed they will presumably, as long as your logo and brand is strong, think of you.

This is because you’ve put time into finding your target market and focussing your efforts towards them. You know who you are speaking to and your logo conveys your message to them.

But what if you had two logos instead.

In one of the Facebook groups we participate in a new food truck business is in the process of creating their logo. They posted it to the group for advice. While the graphic wasn’t absolutely terrible, it definitely was met with some pretty scathing reviews from the group.

The issue with the graphic was that it didn’t allude to what kind of food was being served. It also showcased little of the personality of the business. It came up time and again in the critiques. The reason was probably because it really was just an acronym.

Just a word to the wise, if you are going to put all that effort into thinking up the perfect name for your new venture, don’t cut it off at the knees by making it an acronym. We live in a World of acronym soup. Names are much stronger and memorable.

We’re off on a tangent, but just think about MEC. Yes, they are an acronym but still everyone reads them as a word and not the individual letters. The acronym has again become a name because it’s easier for us to say and remember.

Back to the Facebook group, it was later explained to us a secondary graphic is in the works. The second graphic is going to be a woman with a platter and on that platter would be the original logo.

Now at this point you are left imagining what this might look like just like the rest of us. Put that aside though, because the issue here becomes two graphics that are at odds with one another—an acronym logo that lives on business cards and anything small and a woman that goes on the side of the truck and anything large.

So one day you’re surfing Twitter for what street food vendors are open and low and behold, the one in question shows up. You check out their location and head off to grab some fast casual. When you get there you can’t find their truck amidst the rest. Why? Well, their Twitter logo was a tiny little acronym and their truck had a giant lady with a logo you could barely find.

The two don’t connect.

Having two logos for two markets for a business splits the business’ focus. This makes sense because it is more common for businesses to be represented by just one logo. Having more than one makes us assume they are two different entities.

Unless these two graphics perfectly compliment each other, there is a huge trickle down effect. How can a business manage two separate target markets? They’d be left trying to balance both look and feels and placing both logos on everything. They wouldn’t be able to go all in on one concept.

Just think, your restaurant might be half red and half blue, half modern and half diner. Customers would have no idea what to expect and in turn wouldn’t expect much.

Despite all that, I still can’t say definitively that two logos are worse than one, because there are some times when that’s not the case. Exceptions to the rule if you will (but not big ones, I promise).

I stand firm on having only one logo, but the form it takes can vary slightly.

When you create a deeply unique design that speaks to your target you get some leeway. That leeway comes from an incredibly strong base. It allows you to create vertical or horizontal versions of your logo that fit specific applications. It allows you to create black and white, all black, or all white versions that still hold the initial concept and tell your story.

This only works if their is only one very strong logo that is commonly seen. All of the variations, based on the original, would only be used if absolutely necessary.

The goal is one graphic to represent your business at all times with instant recognition. Splitting it into two will always water down the impact of both.

You’re either a mango or an avocado, choose one. No one wants to taste an avocango.

January 30, 2017
Posted on 
Author photo in a circle
Kyle Lincoln

Kyle is a logo crafter, avid reader, and writer. His experience expands across a wide spectrum of clients such as Nandos, Shaw Business, and Destination Canada. Growing up, it didn’t take him long to go from doodles to design. Kyle’s previous work in identities for conferences and events left him longing for something more enduring. He’s got a vested interest in helping businesses thrive and an eye for brand incongruences. In Vancouver he can be found scoping out his client’s location and/or the nearest gelateria and is always up to discuss your project or favourite flavour.

Having a fantastic logo that drives business and builds recognition is a beautiful thing. Having a second should be twice as good, right?

I’m sure you already know the answer to that rhetorical question and that is “No” to be frank. We don’t have the numbers on it, but in theory it should be somewhere around half as good.

Let’s think about this a little.

Your logo is the mark that your customers will come to know you by. When they see it on the door, in your menu, or in their social media feed they will presumably, as long as your logo and brand is strong, think of you.

This is because you’ve put time into finding your target market and focussing your efforts towards them. You know who you are speaking to and your logo conveys your message to them.

But what if you had two logos instead.

In one of the Facebook groups we participate in a new food truck business is in the process of creating their logo. They posted it to the group for advice. While the graphic wasn’t absolutely terrible, it definitely was met with some pretty scathing reviews from the group.

The issue with the graphic was that it didn’t allude to what kind of food was being served. It also showcased little of the personality of the business. It came up time and again in the critiques. The reason was probably because it really was just an acronym.

Just a word to the wise, if you are going to put all that effort into thinking up the perfect name for your new venture, don’t cut it off at the knees by making it an acronym. We live in a World of acronym soup. Names are much stronger and memorable.

We’re off on a tangent, but just think about MEC. Yes, they are an acronym but still everyone reads them as a word and not the individual letters. The acronym has again become a name because it’s easier for us to say and remember.

Back to the Facebook group, it was later explained to us a secondary graphic is in the works. The second graphic is going to be a woman with a platter and on that platter would be the original logo.

Now at this point you are left imagining what this might look like just like the rest of us. Put that aside though, because the issue here becomes two graphics that are at odds with one another—an acronym logo that lives on business cards and anything small and a woman that goes on the side of the truck and anything large.

So one day you’re surfing Twitter for what street food vendors are open and low and behold, the one in question shows up. You check out their location and head off to grab some fast casual. When you get there you can’t find their truck amidst the rest. Why? Well, their Twitter logo was a tiny little acronym and their truck had a giant lady with a logo you could barely find.

The two don’t connect.

Having two logos for two markets for a business splits the business’ focus. This makes sense because it is more common for businesses to be represented by just one logo. Having more than one makes us assume they are two different entities.

Unless these two graphics perfectly compliment each other, there is a huge trickle down effect. How can a business manage two separate target markets? They’d be left trying to balance both look and feels and placing both logos on everything. They wouldn’t be able to go all in on one concept.

Just think, your restaurant might be half red and half blue, half modern and half diner. Customers would have no idea what to expect and in turn wouldn’t expect much.

Despite all that, I still can’t say definitively that two logos are worse than one, because there are some times when that’s not the case. Exceptions to the rule if you will (but not big ones, I promise).

I stand firm on having only one logo, but the form it takes can vary slightly.

When you create a deeply unique design that speaks to your target you get some leeway. That leeway comes from an incredibly strong base. It allows you to create vertical or horizontal versions of your logo that fit specific applications. It allows you to create black and white, all black, or all white versions that still hold the initial concept and tell your story.

This only works if their is only one very strong logo that is commonly seen. All of the variations, based on the original, would only be used if absolutely necessary.

The goal is one graphic to represent your business at all times with instant recognition. Splitting it into two will always water down the impact of both.

You’re either a mango or an avocado, choose one. No one wants to taste an avocango.

January 30, 2017
Posted on 
Author photo in a circle
Kyle Lincoln

Kyle is a logo crafter, avid reader, and writer. His experience expands across a wide spectrum of clients such as Nandos, Shaw Business, and Destination Canada. Growing up, it didn’t take him long to go from doodles to design. Kyle’s previous work in identities for conferences and events left him longing for something more enduring. He’s got a vested interest in helping businesses thrive and an eye for brand incongruences. In Vancouver he can be found scoping out his client’s location and/or the nearest gelateria and is always up to discuss your project or favourite flavour.

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