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I’m trying to come up with a logo for a small venture of mine, and I was wondering: at what sizes are logos typically displayed? I mean, I know in theory branding artwork should be redesigned for every display size: this is exemplified, in an extreme case, by the design of favicons. However, there is a strong incentive to use the exact same logo at various sizes, if only to reinforce the power of the brand.

So, given the uses of a logo I can think of the top of my head (website, business cards, letterhead), what sizes does a logo need to be displayed at? In other words, can I cover them all (except for the favicon case above) with a single logo, or would you need (in general) many logotypes for various resolutions.

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Related: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/5525/… –  e100 Oct 30 '12 at 16:37
    
it depends on the logo. –  DA01 Oct 31 '12 at 3:38
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As Scott said, logos can be used at any size from 50px to 50ft. However, in my experience, most people tend to design a logo with the printed size of 2"-6" in mind (in either width or height, generally centered on an 8.5x11" paper). Some people are very gifted at designing for extremely large and small scales, but for the rest of us, here is a rule of thumb that I tend to use:

  • Reproduce the logo at 1/2"-1". In most cases, this will be the smallest size used for stationery, at the corner of a website, etc. (although I have seen smaller logos like 1/4" used on printed materials before). At this size, you will be able to see if any aspects of the logo are lost at smaller scales.
  • Reproduce the logo at 2'-3'. When viewed up close, this will give you a good idea of the logo's legibility at a large size, or if any parts of the design overwhelm or are difficult to discern at a larger scale. Viewed from a distance can actually reproduce how a billboard would look when viewed from the ground (this trick can be used to judge the legibility of any billboard designs).

However, for any logo you design, you should have a clear idea of its usage - vehicles, billboards, signs, stationery, digital reproductions, etc. - but these two tests will allow you to check the logo's versatility, especially at very early steps in the design process.

Whether you would need a single or multiple logos really depends on your design. It is possible to have a single logo that is easily legible at all sizes (think the FedEx logo), but some more detailed logos may make use of a single icon or distinctive letter from their full logo as a small-size logo.

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Everything from 50 pixels (UI/app/web) to 50 Feet (billboards/signage).

Each company is different and will have different needs, but in general, you should plan on exceptionally small uses for the web and exceptionally large uses for signage.

If you construct the brand with a vector application it will eliminate much of the necessary adjustments for resizing. It's merely when a designer decides to throw in a great deal of raster elements such as photos, shadows, glows, canned bevels, etc where resizing becomes problematic.

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Yeah, it's not really a question of rasterization. But, even for vector graphics, actual size is an issue: very small occurrences should use fewer details in the logo, e.g. –  F'x Oct 29 '12 at 23:12
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True. But it really depends upon the logo. I, myself, don't create logos with a great deal of intricate detail. If anything, it could mean one version with highlights and one as flat color. A flat color version should reduce without issue in most cases. –  Scott Oct 29 '12 at 23:16
    
Good point about the flat color version… –  F'x Oct 29 '12 at 23:17
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One way to define this is to use a percentage in any given medium with an exception for very low resolutions.

For example, in the profile definition for your company you can state that the logo should be displayed at 20% of the width of the print or web page, but at 200px horizontally on a mobile device, or 25mm on a business card.. these values are just for example and is of course something you need to adjust to your own values depending on how the logo looks and so forth (also take into consideration spacing/margins from edges).

Just for clarification: Your logo should be designed in vectors and not as a bitmap (ie. "Illustrator", not "Photoshop"). This way you can scale your logo to any size without any quality reduction (except on very small sizes where rounding errors will be more visible). My answer was more related at what actual size you want to show it at (I hope I understood you correctly).

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