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Your logo is the visual essence of your brand. It's often the first thing your customers see and can significantly shape their perception of your business. But what about that tagline you spent months getting approved? Should you normally include it with your logo, or is it better to let the logo speak for itself?
This blog explores when to use a tagline with your logo and when to back burner it for special cases.
One of the primary reasons to use a tagline with your logo is to spell out your brand identity. If your logo alone doesn't effectively convey what your business does or its core values, a tagline can help fill in the gaps. For example, if you have a logo that consists of abstract shapes or symbols, a tagline can provide context, telling your audience what your business is about.
Imagine you run an eco-friendly online store selling organic products, and your logo is a stylized leaf. While the leaf suggests nature, a tagline like "Rooted in Nature" helps clarify your commitment to eco-conscious consumers. (This is merely an example. Mighty Roar can spend weeks coming up with much better taglines than this.)
Image Source: Adobe.com
Memorable taglines can significantly impact brand recognition. Think about famous taglines like Nike's "Just Do It" or McDonald's "I'm Lovin' It." These short phrases stick in the minds of consumers, and when used effectively with your logo, they can help reinforce your brand message.
A well-crafted tagline can give your logo more depth and meaning, making your brand more memorable in the process. When you know your tagline is that good, you just know.
Image: Source Muse by Clio
In a crowded market, it's essential to stand out. A unique and well-thought-out tagline can set your brand apart from the competition. It can highlight what makes your business special and why customers should choose you over others. If your logo alone isn't distinctive enough, a tagline can give you that extra edge.
This one’s for the start-ups. If your product or service is complex or not self-explanatory, a tagline can be a valuable tool for briefly explaining what you offer. For example, if your logo is for a tech company with a highly technical product, a tagline can simplify the message for a broader audience.
A tagline can convey the emotions and values associated with your brand. It allows you to tap into the emotional aspect of branding, helping your audience connect with your business on a deeper level. If your logo alone doesn't express these emotions and values, a tagline incorporated into your logo lockup can help bridge the gap.
This could be particularly important if you run a non-profit or your brand is distinguished in its category for having a brand purpose that differentiates it within the category. If you operate a charitable foundation with a logo of hands reaching out to one another, a tagline like "Empathy in Action" expresses your values and tugs at the heartstrings of donors and volunteers.
Some logos are simple, elegant, and self-explanatory. If your logo effectively communicates your business's core message, values, and services without the need for additional text, then adding a tagline might clutter the design and weaken its impact. In such cases, less is often more.
Brands like Apple have minimalist logos that are iconic in their simplicity. The Apple logo is instantly recognizable, and adding a tagline would be like gilding a lily—unnecessary.
It’s a total cliché, but (more or less!) also true: less is more. A well-designed logo can be a memorable work of art in itself. If you believe that adding a tagline would distract from the aesthetic appeal of your logo, it might be best to leave it out.
Remember that visual elements can be just as powerful in conveying your brand's identity as words. Luxury fashion brands often opt for minimalist logos. Consider the Chanel double-C logo, which exudes sophistication. Adding a tagline would detract from its visual elegance and sophistication.
We’ll state this plainly—not all taglines are created equal. If you're considering adding a tagline to your logo, it must be well-crafted and add value to your brand. A weak or generic tagline can actually detract from your logo's impact.
Maybe you feel your logo is iconic, but your tagline is a weak afterthought inherited from before your tenure as CMO. If you can't readily budget for a brand refresh (with a new tagline) until next fiscal year, it can better not to use one at all.
After the early 2000s onslaught of skeuomorphic logos, minimalism is the design trend of today. Or rather, a timeless design direction. Less complicated logos also work better across the web, especially social channels and on mobile-friendly sites.
If your brand identity revolves around minimalism, you may opt for a clean, uncluttered logo without a tagline. This approach can work well for brands that want to convey simplicity, elegance, and a modern aesthetic.
Target, a brand that’s firmly committed to a clean style, embraces minimalism more than its rivals. (Walmart, on the other hand, uses “Save Money. Live Better.” wherever they can.)
If your brand has been around for a while and is well-recognized, you might not need a tagline to reinforce your message. Coca-Cola's iconic, curvy letters and MasterCard’s overlapping circles are so deeply ingrained in popular culture that they don't require taglines. These logos are symbols of brand power on their own.
Another established example is BMW. While they staked their brand identity on their tagline “The Ultimate Driving Machine” over 50 years ago, they’ve since evolved their mission to be less (or very little) about sporty cars. What we’re left with, instead, is a refined and simplified version of a logo that began 100 years ago. Brand equity is everything.
The decision whether to use a tagline with your logo is a significant one in shaping your brand's identity. It should align with your brand's message, values, and design aesthetic. When considering a tagline, ask yourself whether it adds value, clarifies your brand identity, and contributes positively to your brand's perception.
Remember that a tagline should not be used as an afterthought but should be carefully crafted to enhance and strengthen your brand. Make the choice that best suits your brand's unique story, ensuring that it resonates with your target audience and leaves a lasting impression. The decision to use or not use a tagline is ultimately an art, not a science. Working with an outside partner that’s been through hundreds of branding projects can always be helpful!
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