By Kim Palacios

Most of our clients say they want a “simple text logo.”  Text only, they reason, will give their companies a clean, professional, understated look.  However, we almost always advise them away from this approach.  Text logos may have been fine traditionally, when clients would only see them on business cards, letterhead, and other wide formats.  Yet, the advent of the Internet (and, specifically, social media) has brought forth the enemy of the text logo: the thumbnail.

The problem is simple.  Most text becomes illegible when the image containing it is confined to a tiny box.  Thumbnail dimensions on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and most blogs measure at 60 x 60 pixels, if not smaller.  User screen resolution might allow images to display at up to 100 x 100 pixels.  Yet at stretched dimensions, these sometimes appear pixelated and these thumbnails are still quite small.

Take “Luxe Virtual Media” as an example.  What if ours was a text logo?  How would our thumbnail appear?  The least optimal text logo for our company would be one that went straight across without line breaks.  In order to fit this into thumbnail dimensions, we had to set the text size to a miniscule 5:

The second least optimal text logo would be one that is text only, but has page breaks that allow for a more efficient use of space.  It is easier to read the company name in this logo, but the presentation is bland and indistinct.  With some exceptions, it is difficult to create a memorable text logo in these dimensions.  Notable companies with logos formatted like this are American Express and New York Life.

Now, consider our actual logo, one that took into account not only readability but recognition potential.  The most distinctive name related to our brand is “Luxe,” and it features prominently in our logo.  It is color-differentiated to stand out, and there is also an elegant insignia that represents the essence of the brand and supplies further distinction. So, what if your company logo is already designed and it simply does not look distinct, legible or at all good, in thumbnail format?  Consider taking an element from the logo and using it as your thumbnail.  For example, on our Twitter page, we use the full logo in our Twitter skin but the insignia alone for the smaller thumb: