Only unfinished designs need a logo

This article was written in 2016. It might or it might not be outdated. And it could be that the layout breaks. If that’s the case please let me know.

I wrote about the futility of logo’s before. A good design doesn’t need a logo. I won’t go as far as saying that every logo makes every design worse, but especially on the web, logo’s are of very limited use.

I like this quote by Helmut Krone — a legendary midcentury advertising director — about the use of logos in advertising in paper magazines:

I’ve spent my whole life fighting logos. A logo says, I am an ad. Turn the page

So in magazine advertisements logos work like banners on websites: they tell the reader that this section of the page is irrelevant. On websites there’s another reason why logos are overrated: on websites, and especially on smaller screens, whenever people have to scroll, the logo will not be visible most of the time. So if the logo can’t tell you what site you’re on, something else has to. It’s this something else you have to design. The whole design has to breath the brand. When the design still needs a logo to be recognisable, it’s probably not good enough.

And following this reasoning, a design is done when every part of it — even small parts after scrolling a few swipes on a small screen — can be recognised. When this level of branding is achieved, it is indeed true that the logo is no longer needed. So you can either delete it completely and use the freed up valuable space for something useful, or if you must, you can put the logo in the footer.