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What style is more effective/easier to read for a logo that includes text?

Logo on the left, with text/name just to the right of it. alt text

or

Logo on the right, with text preceding it.

alt text

The use for the logo would be typically on letterhead and business cards.

EDIT I'm looking for some concrete advice that will tell me if the image or the text is more important from a brand recognition perspective, and therefore which should be presented first. Target audience is for the most part left-to-right language readers.

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I think there's a lot of discussion about this, and it's relatively subjective, but honestly it would depend mostly on the style of the logo/text. Is the 'logo' an abbreviation / does it contain letters? If so, what size is it? Does the text have one line or is it multiple lines? What are the colors? What is your expected placement on letterhead and business cards? –  NateDSaint Jan 7 '11 at 18:57
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Indeed too vague and perhaps too subjective question. All what I could answer about easiness is: in left-to-right reading context the left element is noticed before the right; and in right-to-left reading context the right element is noticed before the right. The logo as a whole should be considered as an element too within the context. –  koiyu Jan 7 '11 at 20:27
    
Hopefully, the edit where I added the actual image (minus actual company name) will take some of the subjectivity out of this. –  Stewbob Jan 7 '11 at 20:42
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Is the logo and company name going to be left-aligned or right aligned? –  Computerish Jan 7 '11 at 21:24
    
@Computerish: It is not decided if the logo will be left- or right-aligned. Any suggestions? –  Stewbob Jan 7 '11 at 22:13

5 Answers 5

up vote 9 down vote accepted

I'm not sure if there is any real answer to this question without more details, but I'll give it a shot anyway, since I think it's an interesting question.

Here are some things to consider when choosing which should be more prominent:

  • Which part (the logo or the text) is more memorable? The more memorable one should probably be placed first.
  • Which one is used in other branding associated with your company? If you've been handing out business cards and letters with only the company name, you might want to put that first so that your customers associate the new material with your company.
  • Which part conveys your message? If your company name is Joe's Coffee Mugs and your logo is an abstract shape, then your company name should be more prominent because it conveys your message. If your name is Albertson's but your logo is a coffee mug, then the coffee mug should go first, because it does a better job of conveying what your company is about.

Once you decide which should be more prominent, that one should most likely go on the left, however that is not necessarily the case. You should also consider the alignment. A logo placed partially into the right margin might be more noticeable than one that was on the inside but right-aligned.

I'm assuming this isn't the case with your logo, however it is also worth considering if there is a natural flow of logo to name or name to logo. If you logo has a green to red gradient and your logo is red, then the logo will look more natural on the right.

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Thanks, this is some really good information! –  Stewbob Jan 7 '11 at 23:08
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+1. "Joe's Coffee Mug" with an abstract logo, that is just not right. :) –  Gan Jan 9 '11 at 9:06
    
Excellent points about branding and about message. –  Lauren Ipsum Jan 17 '11 at 14:06

In a side by side placement I will almost always go: logo -> text

In a left to right reading language the logo serves as a start marker and makes reading the text a more natural progression for your eye.

In the text -> logo scenario, it's as if the logo continuously competes for attention while reading the text (even though its just short), making that arrangement feel sort-of awkward.

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Not maybe so if you're from United Arab Emirates. :) Basically whenever you're in left-to-right area the more prominent part should be placed left. –  Robert Koritnik Jan 17 '11 at 13:35

Most of the time I would go for logo on the left, text on the right.

A picture says a thousand words. I believe a logo can leave an impression in people's mind and it should come before text. Of course, the logo must represents the text or convey the message well. You wouldn't use an abstract shape to represent "Joe's Coffee Mug" company, would you?

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I should say it depends on where on the stationary, business cards, etc. the logo is placed. If it's placed at the left side, I'd place the logo at the left. If they are at the right side of the stationary, though, I'd place the logo at the right. So always the logo at the outside.
(When centered on the page I'd place the logo at the left if the customer's reading direction is left-to-right.)

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An aspect not touched on directly: where does the "abstract shape" appear and what are the chances the intended audience (customers?) will see it? Is the logo out in the wild enough for someone to see it and remember this company?

I suggest usually the emphasis should be on the text so someone can remember that to search for it in their emails or on Google.

If the logo appears prominently to the audience, example via animated GIF banner ads on targeted forums, or t-shirts customers wear to industry related events, then the extra effort on the logo is warranted.

† - thank you Computerish, great phraseology

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