Does Your Logo Need a Tagline?
Just Do It.
Would you relate that line to Nike whenever you see its logo if it wasn’t so heavily promoted?
The swoosh is already recognisable.
You know it represents Nike, and it doesn’t always come with the tagline.
However, with the Just Do It slogan, the brand gained a new vibe.
The logo tagline is yet another element that helps the branding process.
But is the logo with tagline always a necessity?
The Principles of Logo Design: Is the Tagline Mandatory?
Of course, it’s not a rule.
In fact, if you analyse the logo evolution of famous brands, you won’t notice the slogan as an essential element.
It’s mostly about the logo design.
Uber’s tagline was changed together with the logo in 2016.
From “Everyone’s private driver” it became “Get there.”
However, you don’t see this tagline written under the logo.
In fact, Uber changed the logo again in 2018.
Now, the logo is just a word: Uber.
We don’t see the slogan anywhere. And it works.
When most people think of Uber, the tagline “Get there” doesn’t follow up. No big deal, right?
There are a few reasons why you might consider avoiding the logo tagline:
- The screens got smaller. People usually rely on their smartphones to find information online. If you design a logo with tagline, it might be unreadable on mobile. It’s no wonder why today’s logo design trends strive to minimalism.
- People’s attention span is not impressive. Even if they see the logo on a big screen, most of them won’t make an effort to read what the tagline says.
- You don’t see Facebook and other popular brands featuring taglines under the logo, do you? If it’s powerful enough, it doesn’t need any text. You can still have a motto and feature it at the website, but it doesn’t have to be included in the logo.
- If the tagline is bad, it ruins the impression. So if you can’t think of a good tagline, but you need a logo ASAP, it’s best to avoid it.
- If the logo is already elaborate, a tagline will make it too complicated.
It Isn’t Necessary, But Is It Useful?
Of course it is.
Apple has a tagline: Think Different.
It was widely used from 1997 to 2002, as text that accompanied the logo.
This could’ve been a simple motto that the brand would feature at its website.
However, since it was part of the logo design, people started seeing it everywhere.
So whenever they think Apple, the words “Think different” follow up like a mantra.
This is no longer Apple’s tagline.
Now, they use the simple logo.
However, you know what?
The tagline still expresses the brand’s spirit.
Everyone knows it.
That’s because it was once a logo tagline.
Nike’s Just Do It is another successful example of a logo with a tagline.
This is a simple, punchy, effective phrase.
It conveys the brand’s vibe, which is all about making an effort and achieving results, no matter how effortless you feel at the moment.
We don’t always see the tagline under the logo.
Lately, we rarely see it.
Still, it’s the most memorable tagline ever, and it’s because we’ve seen it along with the swoosh.
How is the tagline useful, exactly?
When a slogan is consistently repeated every time the brand is mentioned, it helps with the branding process.
It sticks within people’s minds, and they start associating the brand with it.
When this slogan is featured within the logo, they will see it more frequently.
If the business is new and hasn’t achieved awareness yet, the slogan will help with that.
The audience will start identifying itself with the tag.
Gas Jeans, an Italian fashion brand, is a good example of that.
Ever since it was founded, the tagline Keep It Simple got into people’s minds.
It expressed the exact vibe the brand wanted to achieve: minimalism and simplicity. It helped reach out to the right type of audience.
Did you design an abstract logo?
Then the tagline will make it more tangible.
It will help the audience understand the brand’s selling point.
When you have a unique business concept, it’s important to express its competitive advantage.
Take Walmart as an example.
The brand is all about lower prices for great products.
Their old slogan was Always Low Prices.
They changed it in 2008 to Save Money. Live Better.
Still the same vibe, expressing the same competitive advantage.
We don’t always see the tagline featured along with the logo, but it’s in the consumers’ eyes frequently enough.
Even if you want a small, simple and punchy logo, you can still have a tagline.
If you see all the examples above, you’ll realise that the tagline is not always included.
The primary logo takes the lead.
However, when you have space for the slogan, you’ll include it.
It may be at the website, on the blog, on promotional materials, on billboards and website banners… wherever you get more space for some text.
Tips: How to Create the Tagline
Follow the Basic Logo Design Principles
The logo takes the lead.
You may include the tagline, but it shouldn’t be the central element of the design.
It’s the companion, which won’t be featured on all occasions.
A successful logo design has to be:
- Memorable (unique enough to make a good first impression)
- Simple (a few main elements that don’t distract the viewer)
- Versatile (it should look good in print, on screens of different sizes, and as an app icon)
- Relatable (the audience should like the design, elements, and colours)
The tagline will work only if the logo meets all these expectations.
Once you’re sure you have a great design, you can complement it with the line.
Identify the Brand’s Competitive Advantage
What’s the aspect of the business that the customers find unique?
For Walmart, it’s all about the low prices.
For Apple, it’s about being different from the competition.
Gas Jeans, it’s about simplicity.
The slogan should express this unique spirit of the brand.
Try to express the vibe’s brand with a single word.
Then, you’ll build the line around it.
It Should Mean Something
Many designers make the mistake of including a tagline just because it sounds good, and the client asked for it.
Under Armour’s I Will is one of the taglines that don’t make any sense. What will you?
It sounds like a pale attempt to achieve what Nike achieved with it's Just Do It.
If you think about it, Just Do It doesn’t have much context, either.
However, it’s a complete sentence that makes sense and it relates to the brand’s vibe.
I Will might as well be a tagline for a jewellery company since it sounds like the answer to a marriage proposal.
The slogan should be complete, and it must mean something.
Keep It Catchy
You only have space for a few words in the tagline design.
Don’t go elaborate with this.
It’s not the brand’s mission statement.
It’s just a phrase, which should stick with the target audience for a long time.
Should You Design a Logo with Tagline?
A great logo with a great tagline?
That can’t go wrong.
The brand won’t always use the slogan.
However, when there’s space for it, it will add to the effectiveness.
A great line helps a lot with the branding process since it gives an additional element for people to remember.
Author Bio: James Dorian is a technical copywriter at Setapp. He is a tech geek who knows a lot about modern apps that will make your work more productive. James reads tons of online blogs on technology, business, and ways to become a real pro in our modern world of innovations. Follow him on Twitter.