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Just like most of us, I regularly face the client desire to 'make the logo bigger'. Especially in web designs, clients want to inflate their logos to ridiculous sizes.

How do I effectively counter this suggestion? I know it's almost never a good idea. I usually point out that most succesful websites have their logos displayed at a very modest size, but I'd like to have a better story to tell.

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do it...so they will come back umm doesnt feel right...duhh didn't i tell you. Well more hours for me. –  Muhammad Umer Aug 11 at 18:29
    
What type of website and company is it? –  Ryan Aug 11 at 18:41
    
@Ryan In this particular case, it's a showcase website for a custom jeweler with a vintage feel. But I get the request more often than just this once. –  Vincent Aug 12 at 9:34
    
@MuhammadUmer That's not really the relationship I'd like to have with my customer. Especially when I agreed on a fixed price :) –  Vincent Aug 12 at 13:38
    
Never agree on a fixed price with clients that insist on things like 'make the logo bigger'. –  DA01 Aug 13 at 4:32

7 Answers 7

up vote 25 down vote accepted

I point out to clients that large logos are the equivalent to SCREAMING at customers. When you walk into a store, do you want the sales rep to come up to you and scream, "HI! WHAT CAN I GET FOR YOU TODAY?!" or would you rather have the rep walk up and quietly ask, "Hi, what can I help you with today?" (It carries more weight when spoken :) )

I ask them to think of what has a higher perceived value -- a 32oz mug of coffee or a small cup of espresso? A 5 Ton truck or a 1 ton sports car? A big fat marker or a fine ball point pen?

Then I urge them to look at popular upper scale web sites (or even simply popular web sites) and note the size of the logos - then provide links. Then I point out some sites with large logos and ask "What is the immediate impression you get?"

If after all this, they want their logo 600px wide... they get their logo 600px wide and I lose a portfolio link :)

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Be prepared for when they come back with "www.google.com". –  Hurkyl Aug 11 at 14:03
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+1 especially for the last sentence :') –  SaturnsEye Aug 11 at 14:03
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I'd happily make the logo 600px if it is one of only four elements on the page .. a la Google. :) –  Scott Aug 11 at 14:06
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@Hurkyl: Google would actually be a great way to describe some design details. Google's logo is large on their main search engine because of just how little there is on the page. But as soon as you navigate to something with more content, like news.google.com, then Google's logo in the top-left is actually pretty small. –  Ellesedil Aug 12 at 17:50
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@Ellesedil: I agree. And if you already have that response prepared, you have a decent chance to get people to listen. If you're caught off guard by it, though, you're much less likely to be effective. –  Hurkyl Aug 12 at 19:21

Consider exploring their reasons for a larger logo, and trying to fix the underlying problem, or suggesting that the website isn't the best place to fix it.

For instance, some simply have an aversion to white space. You'll need to help them understand good layout practices, and that appropriately used whitespace will highlight their logo better than making it larger and removing the whitespace.

Perhaps they don't have much content on the page - see if you can help them create content, or help them decide what content would be good to fill up any space that appears too sparse.

It may be that they are trying to convey their brand, and in lieu of tagline/slogan/one line explanation they hope that the logo conveys the products or services they desire to promote. Suggest that even though they understand the meaning behind the logo, it won't convey those ideas to users quite as readily as w well written piece of copy.

Others see magazine, TV, and other forms of advertising where the logo fills the page/screen, and are trying to imagine the website as a glorified advertisement. Help them understand that the website is more like a store - yes, the logo is present, but the website is more about forming a connection with a customer and starting a business relationship with them, and that the logo will help them know who you are, but the focus should be on starting that relationship, not announcing your name.

Also, make sure that your client understands that people will be viewing their site of very different devices. Hopefully you've already had this conversation, but point out that on a landscape device such as a phone their logo could very well make the site unusable. They may have a nice display in their office, but their customers might not.

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I would suggest creating an alternative CSS class or ID for the logo and preserve your existing CSS styles under a comment. If the site is responsive and you are using an SVG, I would complete the clients request and show examples of why it will not work. The issue most designers face is that some people cannot see a project visually in their head and they will have to have examples.

Per the comment and what if they, like, totally like it that way?:

Some designers can't and refuse to get around the understanding that when they're in a project with a client, there has the be a median on both sides. Sometimes you just have to give the client what they want, even though you dislike it or it may turn out to be horrible. If you precede every thing with, "it's got to be like this, this, and this" they will eventually find someone else. The best tactic I could suggest is to document it so if they come back, you can bill them, and if it's a repeat issue with the client, then build the time into your next project for them.

Theoretically, if you have been doing this long enough, it should already be built in for time typically under a revision.

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+1 Not some people, most people will not see it. –  joojaa Aug 11 at 12:53
    
...and what if they, like, totally like it that way? –  Vincent Aug 11 at 13:02
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that's what the client is paying for... All you can do is provide the evidence of why it wont work and examples and if they are that head strung let them have it.. –  Matt Aug 11 at 13:03

I always try to educate clients on the many goods of white space. It's not just about size, it's about context.

If someone wants a huge logo that makes the whole site look clattered, you can prepare some mockups to let them compare what which version really stands out. On the one side, the one with a big logo where the message invades your eye real state. On the other, a smaller logo with some emptiness around.

It won't work in every case, but correct spacing is something that -eventually- starts to grow on people (teach someone about kerning and see their world collapse). To some people this simple truth is more evident from the start, but they need to see it at least once and in context. Other than that, as with every design decision you will need to find a balance between what the client wants and what you know works. How much you let go really depends on you, him/her and the project, but clients getting a little demanding can also mean a chance to re-think what you were doing and give new concepts a chance.

Good luck!

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I think the best answer above is the first sentence of Adam's but then he drifts into the same pitfall the other answers have. You need to identify what the value of the logo is, and if its being used to the maximum potential. Why does the client want the logo bigger, and will it increase that potential in a way you weren't aware of?

In comments (and chat) you explained that this is for a jewelry line. Primarily for information and online purchasing, but also has a brick and mortar presence. With that in mind:

Does the logo have recognition? Does it have value?

enter image description here

This is the first thing you see at the CHANEL website. Could CHANEL be smaller? Sure it can be a lot smaller without sacrificing legibility. But it pops and establishes this is CHANEL without any doubt. It's memorable and fits with their larger marketing plan.

You need to establish two things:

  1. Is the logo legible?
  2. Have I maximized the value of the brand?

Since you've got a storefront, even if its a smaller aspect of the project, I'd be inclined to make the logo a bit larger than a purely online business. It might also play in with the jewelry if they include their logo or name on the pieces, but I don't know that.

If the answer to both is yes then explain to the client that making the logo larger isn't adding any value. In fact it's taking up valuable real estate to add other elements which will increase the value.


Remember you can also always use A/B Testing to create a header with the large logo and one with the smaller logo and see which version gets more conversions.

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Possibly more relevant might be "Could CHANEL be bigger? Sure it can be a lot bigger." and there is space for it to be twice the size (four times the area). But it would just look tacky and swamp the visual image. –  Andrew Leach Aug 14 at 7:22

There's some good answers here. To add to them, I'd take the opportunity to talk to your client about brand identity and the overall branding they may (or may not) have.

Most 'stylish' companies that the client may think of have a lot more going on with their brand identity than just their logo. Their logo is important--perhaps the most important part--and as such, it is the VIP. And as the VIP in the room, it simply sits comfortably to the side and lets their entourage do all the actual work. These minions are really the workers that carry the weight of the brand identity. These are minions such as copywriting and copyediting, photography, illustration, color palettes, typography, etc.

Take a site like nike.com. Their logo takes up perhaps 2% of the screen real estate. The same goes for most major brands...Sony, Ford, etc.

Yet with any of those sites, you could probably remove the logo and still have a very strong sense of 'brand identity' with each of those sites. That's because the logo isn't being unfairly asked to carry the entire weight of the brand identity.

And there's a big advantage to not forcing the logo to do all this work. By having an entourage, you can mix things up. Perhaps seasonally, or really any time trends warrant a new entourage. The logo can remain, however, as it's not carrying the full weight and isn't swept away with the cyclical nature of styles and trends.

If your client doesn't have a strong brand identity without the logo, this is your chance to both improve their standing against their competition as well as generate some more work for yourself.

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Very well stated. Love this response. –  Scott Aug 13 at 17:08

I run into this issue a lot and have started making the logo smaller than I would normally want so when they ask me to make the logo larger, I just say OK and bump it up to the size I would have made it to begin with :P

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keep voting it down if you want but it works. –  pathfinder Aug 14 at 16:33
    
maybe, but it doesn't answer my question--I was asking for arguments to convince the client that the logo doesn't need to be big, not a way to fool them :) –  Vincent Aug 15 at 10:08

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