September 19th, 2011

Brand your website. Just don’t put a logo on it.

A brand is what people think and feel about a particular company, their product or service, right?  Your brand IS NOT your logo.

I think we need to break free from placing the logo at the top of every website we design, and here’s why…

Designing digital experiences is about delivering your brand promise & values online, so why do we always feel the need to put the logo in the top left?

Is it because it’s become ‘best practice’? Is it because we feel safe doing it – it makes the client happy and it’s expected?

Surely the whole experience of your site is what reinforces your brand, and influences the way people think about you. So why do we need the logo in the top?

I’m not suggesting we remove it from all websites – but there are some cases where the top of a website should be dedicated to more important things like navigation & search.

This theory can work for both mono brand & multi brand sites alike. It all depends on how well you communicate your brand essence through everything you do – not just by using the logo to reinforce who you are.

OK then – convince me!

Using John Lewis (who else?) as an example I’ve tried to put forward my case to remove the logo and still retain the brand experience online.

The most common argument for putting the logo at the top?: “If you remove the logo, people won’t know which site they’re on.”

Firstly the page they are on should have enough brand cues (tone, design & art direction to name a few) to remind people of where they are – look at the example below – there are four places where the name John Lewis appears:

The name John Lewis appears four times in the browser

Secondly, a well-designed site will have brand elements that reflect & reinforce the essence of the brand itself, without needing a logo. Throughout the John Lewis online experience there are lots of elements that reinforce the brand. The helpful advice, the style of photography, and the simple and clear product information, just like in the store.

John Lewis' Art Direction mirrors the same style as all other John Lewis experiences, online or offline
John Lewis' brand essence is woven throughout the online experience

So there’s some arguments for my case. There’s probably a hundred more arguments for, and another hundred against, and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

As I said previously, I’m not suggesting we never put the logo in the header, just on sites where the brand is strong enough that it can be communicated through more than just the logo. I’d like to come across a client that has the strength in brand that will allow us to communicate it in other ways apart from their logo.

About the author

Dil is responsible for creating great brand experiences at Pixelgroup. He is particularly interested in patterns of human behaviour in retail.
  • Raj Deol

    Interesting take on the subtleties of branding on the web.
    However, a company that spends upwards of hundreds of thousands on a logo wants it to be at forefront of their current and potential customers mind, businesses are always looking for a return on their investment. Just the logo itself can invoke subconscious nuances that reinforces the brand.

    Typed on my smartphone with a bitten piece of fruit on its back whilst smoking a ciggy that has a gold triangle on top of a tall, skinny lettering!

    Keep it real. Thx.

  • http://localhost/pixelgroup dil

    “Typed on my smartphone with a bitten piece of fruit on its back”

    On the back of your phone Raj! – see what I mean!