Have you ever wondered why we’re so amazed by motion? A moving image is more likely to grab your attention than a static one. Motion is exciting and attention-grabbing – plus, it allows us to access more information in a short space of time.
For a while now, companies have been experimenting with all kinds of motion and animation in their design choices. We’ve seen the rise of animated website backgrounds or live-playing videos instead of images on a home page. There are videos and 360-degree pictures on product pages to help people get a better view of certain items and immersive AR experiences on apps.
So why has the power of motion not made its way into the logo design landscape yet?
Sure, there are a few examples of animated logos out there, but they haven’t had the same long-lasting impact as animated websites. Perhaps that’s because people don’t have the right tools to bring their animated logos to life?
Today, we’re going to cover some top tips for live logo design.
1. Understand What “Live Logo” Means
An animated logo or live logo can be a powerful tool in a company’s branding strategy. Although there’s more to a company’s identity than its logo, it’s fair to say that logos make a huge difference to how we feel about brands and their identity.
A powerful logo can make an emotional connection with your target audience and help your brand to thrive in virtually any environment. Live logos, or animated logos, bring more attention to the brand image, by helping a customer to focus on the logo’s action. A live logo might tell a story about what the business does through motion, or just be eye-catching.
The level of animation varies depending on the designer, but it can go all the way from a short video presentation to a few simple moves. The Skype logo is an excellent example of something simple, that multiple designers have played with to great effect.
Today, there are plenty of open-access tools helping to create more immersive animated graphics in the logo design world. Additionally, the types of animation available are becoming more impressive all the time.
2. Explore the Types of Logo Animation
The next stage of properly leveraged live logos, is knowing what kinds of logo animation are available. There are plenty of different styles of animation to explore today, depending on the kind of impact you want to have.
For instance, sometimes the animation you choose will be connected to your business. A vehicle company might have a logo that seems to “drive” into the central space on the screen. An electricity company might choose a logo that pulses like an electric charge. This animated FedEx logo is an excellent example of how animation can show what a business does.
Options for animation might include:
- Rotation: Make an emblem stand out by moving it to the sides or allowing it to move on its axis. Rotation gives a logo a sense of 3D space.
- Appearance/Disappearance: You can make a logo grow on the screen by bringing to life one pixel at a time, or have it dissolve and disappear in a similar way.
- Transformation: Your logo doesn’t have to start out in the shape it’s going to achieve. You might start with a seed that gradually grows into a tree-shaped logo for a gardening company, for example.
- Replacement: Another great way to tell a story is to replace a graphic related to the company in question with the logo through an immersive animated experience.
3. Set Goals for the Live Logo
If you’re not sure what kind of animations to experiment with, then it’s a good idea to start with some solid goals. Your goals will give you a direction to move in with your logo choices. An animated logo can be a dynamic and modern way to present a brand to an audience, but it’s only going to be effective when implemented carefully.
Let’s look at some of the goals you can choose for your live logo:
- Differentiation: While it’s true that animation and live content is gaining more attention lately, it’s still relatively new as an overall concept. With an animated logo, you could help a brand to create a more unique image for themselves, which sets them apart from the other organisations in the same space.
- Storytelling: As mentioned above, animated logos can tell a story about what the company or product actually does. In this example for Firefox, for instance, the logo mimics a loading wheel to demonstrate a speedy internet browser.
- Brand awareness: Dynamic logos and animations are more likely to capture your audience’s attention than static images. They’re also more of a novel experience, which means that customers might want to share them with other people too.
- Memorability: Today’s customers are bombarded by hundreds, if not thousands of logos all the time. They need something special to convince them that one image deserves a spot at the front of their mind. Animation can help to make a business more memorable.
4. Do Your Research
Doing your own research is an excellent way to get some inspiration for a live logo or animation. Ideally, you’ll want to focus on the industry you’re already working in, as this will give you some guidance as to the kind of movement that can attract the most attention from the correct audience.
Watch as intros to brand videos and check out as many live logos as you can. Check out the kind of animations that people use in their videos when they’re showcasing products online. You can learn a lot about what works just by evaluating what other people have done before. Just be careful not to simply copy what you’ve found elsewhere.
The aim of your live animation should be to tell a unique story about the company
The aim of your live animation should be to tell a unique story about the company in question. If you’re not sure how to start with differentiating the image, check out the brand guidelines for the company in question. The guidelines that the company used to choose the right brand colors, fonts, and other visual assets can work just as well for your animation strategy.
Remember, the aim here is to tell a specific story, send a message, or evoke a certain emotion. Don’t make the mistake of designing something that looks cool but doesn’t have much of a purchase. Most human beings will naturally look for the meaning behind the content that they see. If there isn’t anything there, it’ll just lead to confusion.
5. Use Live Logos on Brand Websites
The most obvious way to begin experimenting with animated logos in web design, is to implement live logos into a client’s website. Some companies have a “welcome screen” for their site which uses an animation to introduce visitors to the home page and other navigation options. There are also brands out there who love the impact that animation can have but want to use it more subtly.
In these cases, live logos can be an excellent way to draw the eye to a specific spot on a website, perhaps the area just above the “contact” button that encourages a client to reach out. Crucially, to avoid weighing down the website and distracting visitors, companies and designers will need to make some important choices.
Although it might be tempting to keep the animation looping at all times, just in case someone misses the first round, this requires a lot of extra processing power. Too much animation also makes it harder for businesses to push the focus of their visitors to other points on the website, like landing pages for products, or testimonial pages.
Often, as with most innovative decisions in web-design, the best bet is usually to start small and work your way up. Don’t over-do it with animation on day one. See how the visitors to the website respond first.
6. Find the Right Balance
Animations in a live logo are there to grab attention quickly, and effectively. They shouldn’t go on for too long, or you risk overwhelming your audience before they have a chance to browse the rest of the website or check out other content. A live logo should only be active for a few seconds at most, and in that time, it needs to say something valuable.
Often, the best strategy is to start by building up curiosity, and getting your viewer engaged so that they’re keen to see more. Every frame will count to pull the customer in and make them feel connected to the brand in question.
Make sure that the logo animation is dynamic so that it doesn’t just capture the attention of the viewer but maintain their interest for the full time required. During the motion, the viewer’s brain should be working to figure out what’s going to happen next.
Just like most logo design and graphic animation strategies, the key to success is finding the right balance between clever experiences, and simplicity. You want to do something meaningful that earns your viewer’s attention, but you need to compete with the fact that attention spans are plummeting all the time.
7. Explore Logo Animation in Video
One of the best ways to use logo animation, is to draw interest for a company at the beginning of a video. Video is gaining incredible levels of popularity lately, particularly in a world where you can view video content almost anywhere. Companies are adding videos to their product pages, social media accounts, applications, websites, and so much more .
For the majority of companies, a live logo at the start of a video can help their brand to seem more professional. It’s a reminder to viewers of the brand that they’re learning about with that video content. Plus, a logo at the beginning of a piece of video content can also build on the consistency that companies attempt to create by using the same brand assets in various mediums online.
(Starting a video with an animated logo is great for presentation, but it can also be frustrating to customers in certain pieces of content where they’re looking for quick answers to questions. If an animated logo is more than a couple of seconds long, it may be better placed at the back of a video instead.)
With videos for news reports or announcements where you want to get straight to the point and generate excitement about a new product or service, it can be better to jump straight into action. Ending a video with a live logo keeps the brand image front of mind for the customer for longer, even after the message has ended. On the other hand, ending a video with a logo could increase the chances that customers miss the animation, because they click away from the content too quickly.
If you’re new to adding live logos into videos, consider experimenting with different strategies to see which works best. Different companies might get unique results.
8. Bring Logo Animation to the Real World
Another interesting option for live logo design, could be to step outside of the computer screen for a while. In today’s digitally transforming landscape, it’s becoming more common to see the real and digital worlds converging. Most events and trade-shows come with presentations that rely on digital content, like animated presentations and slide shows.
Depending on the signage solutions available at industry events, companies could even use an animated logo above their booth to draw attention in a cluttered environment. Around 48% of exhibitors agree that a more eye-catching stand or booth is often the most effective way to attract visitors and customers at an event.
Animation and live logos may have started life on the computer screen, but they can appear in much more diverse environments today. Offices could use a live logo in the reception room or lobby to make their on-premises environment more appealing. Retail locations could display ads on digital signage, followed by live logos that work to both separate messages, and keep shoppers entertained when they’re enjoying the bricks-and-mortar experience.
9. Include Live Logos in Brand Signatures
Remember, a live logo doesn’t just have to sit on a company’s app or website until someone discovers it. Sometimes, the right logo can also be a powerful way to “sign off” on a message from a brand or its management team. For instance, email remains to be one of the most valuable tools for business marketing and customer relationship building today.
It’s the third most influential source of content and news for a lot of B2B audiences, and yet, most companies aren’t taking full advantage of what their email marketing software solutions are capable of. If you can display gifs and animated videos in an email (which most software solutions can), then you can also add a live logo to the brand signature.
The important thing to remember is that if you’re going to be adding a signature to a lightweight thing, like an email, it needs to be lightweight too. Don’t make the live logo too long and complicated, or it might prevent the email from loading properly.
Outside of email, don’t forget to consider options for live logos in things like social media profile pictures too. According to experts, around 80% of companies use visual assets in their social media marketing. A live logo is a great way to go beyond the basics with a company’s imagery. Motion grabs attention, and video content is quickly gaining steam on a lot of social media platforms.
Embracing a New World of Live Animation
Designers are only just beginning to scratch the surface of what’s possible with animated logos. For many companies, live logos are an excellent way to capture audience attention and encourage engagement with a brand.
A live logo at the beginning of a video, at the start of an app loading screen, or even at the top of a website can differentiate a company and make them stand out. As technology continues to evolve, and customer expectations continue to expand, the options for live animation could continue to grow. You might even be able to infuse live logos with elements of VR and AR, to impart brand essence in a brand-new digital world.
If you haven’t begun experimenting with live logo design yet, now could be the time to start.
Featured image, via Gav Five.