Logo ≠ Visual Identity
Many still consider the logo to be the centerpiece of a vi, if not the entire vi. Everything else – which typefaces to use, which colors to pick and how to apply the different design elements to different formats, sizes and contexts – seems to be secondary. This is understandable. It is much easier to design something concrete than something which has to change continually. But slowly our way of thinking is changing.
One of the reasons is probably the importance that web design has gained in our profession. We are getting used to thinking in all the different viewports at once when we design a website. Instead of designing a fixed layout, we think about how our layout behaves when the browser window is changing its size, when it is viewed on different devices, if this device is held vertically or horizontally and what happens when we move through the site. The logo, as a static, non-changeable form, feels out of place in such a flexible environment and often occupies only a very small part of the available space on the website. Text (typography), image and color occupy a far bigger space on the website. Apart from making the visual identity recognizable, they are efficient and effective communication tools and have the capacity to communicate different messages on different levels, which the logo cannot. It comes as no surprise that since the rise of web fonts in 2009, distinctive typefaces started to play an even bigger role in Visual Identities. We can only imagine how Variable Fonts, announced in September 2016, will change not just typography, but the role typography plays in VI and communication in general.