Category Archives: Graphic Design

Logos Should Be Readable in a Sea of Logos

In November 2017, I wrote about logos, that they should have big text that’s readable even when the logo is small. (Read the post here.) That was inspired by a Brandon Foundation post of sponsors. This is a follow up.

Today, another example from Brandon Foundation came across my screen. This time, the Brandon Foundation logo works well in a sea of logos.

And I’ll mention here that I designed the Brandon Foundation logo in 2003 when Arlene Waldron and Anne Nymark got it started. And it still works to this day.

This example comes from Facebook when a local company advertised the charities they helped.

Sea of Logos Example

The Logos that Work

Some logos are easy to read when they are small in this sea of logos:

  • Brandon Foundation
  • Autism Speaks
  • Feeding Tampa Bay
  • Easterseals
  • 1 Voice
  • Waypoint

The Logos that Don’t Work

Some other logos are hard or impossible to make out. 

  • Shriners Hospital (second row, fifth logo; circle around person, black text under the graphic)
  • Outreach Clinic (third row, first logo; red cross in a blue circle)
  • Southeast Beagle Rescue (third row, fifth logo; heart with text across the top)
  • The dark logo that is in the middle above Waypoint (what is that?)

Logos Should Be Simple and Readable When Small

This is another example of an important rule of logo design:

  • Logos should be readable when small.

Unify Your Photographs for Better Design

Here’s the quick tip: when you have head shots or product shots on your site or in your print material, create your images with the same set up, lighting and background. It makes for a better appearance.


While updating the Salon 705 website, we updated the head shots for the stylists. The pictures on the old site were taken at different times, in different places, with different lighting. The new pictures all have the same background and lighting. They seem unified, and they seem to unify the whole page. That little thing makes a big difference, much bigger than I expected.

See for yourself. Here’s a screen shot of the current site. Looks fine, really. Nothing wrong with it.

Image Unification Before

And here’s a screen shot of the new design with the updated pictures. The consistent style of the images ties it all together better. Each stylist is holding scissors, which is a nice touch. Even better, it ties in with their craft and the Salon 705 logo.

Image Unification After
Credit to Rebecca Snyder

I want to give credit to Rebecca Snyder, owner of Salon 705. She came up with the ideas here and took the pictures. I did the image retouch and processing in Photoshop, but the themes and consistent look of these pictures are all hers.

Check Out Salon 705

Brandon folks who need more hair styling than I need, call Rebecca for an appointment. They do great work there.

Visit Salon705Brandon.com to learn more.

Logo Study Header Image

Logos Should Have Big Text

Logos should have big text, text that’s easy to read even when the logo is small. That’s yet one more criteria of logo design.

And as much as possible, logos should have short words from the company or product name.

A few years ago, I designed a logo for my local home brew club, Brandon Bootleggers. It was a practical logo with bold text. It wasn’t the most artistic logo, but the artwork was original, not stolen off the internet. And it was free work, something I did for the new brew club as it was getting started. The club steering committee came up with another logo that violated several rules of good logo design. No big deal. It’s a local club, non-profit.

Sea-of-Logos Example

Today, I saw a post from the Brandon Foundation highlighting the sponsors for an event. It included the Brandon Bootleggers logo. It was hard to read.

Here’s the sea of logos Brandon Foundation published. Look at the second one on the top row, Brandon Bootleggers Home Brew Club.

Logo Study Broken

Here’s the same graphic but with my version of the Bootleggers logo.

Logo Study Fixed

That’s a lot easier to read.

Big Text

In fact, this sea of logos makes for a study in logo design. Some logos are very easy to read and therefore do a good job of branding the company:

  • Bonefish Grill
  • Longhorn Steakhouse
  • Outback Steakhouse
  • Stonewood
  • Livy O’s Catering Co.

Several logos have extra words and some long words, but the designers selectively made some words bigger, so they work in this example:

  • Romano’s Macaroni Grill
  • PRP Wine
  • The Bridges
  • Stonewood

Others are just hard to read:

  • Cater Tampa
  • Nothing Bundt Cake
  • Food (The one word is big, but what’s being branded here?)
  • Bootleggers Home Brew Club

So my version of the Bootleggers logo isn’t high art, but it works when it’s small and displayed in a sea of logos. This illustrates an important rule when designing logos:

  • Logos should be readable when small.

Follow Up

A few months after this post was first published, I saw another sea-of-logos example. Read the post Logos Should Be Readable in a Sea of Logos.