Branding Series

Black & White Logo Options

Why Every Logo Should Have Them

Ian Jahns
March 25, 2020

Here we dive deep into the importance of black and white logo options for your design as well as the reasons behind why this exercise is beneficial to building a sustainable and marketable brand.

Your Logo Is Almost Done

Before you make your final decision on a logo for your brand, make sure you have created black and white versions of your preferred logo option. While some designs are monochrome by design, most modern logos have color or colored elements and you don’t want to rely on color to be the major defining characteristic of your logo. This is why all logos need to have the option to be all black and separately all white.

But why?

  1. Non-Design Deliverables: think invoices and documents that are to be scanned or faxed. While faxes are not commonplace for all businesses, others still print and scan without color. So its best to have your black logo version utilized on these types of documents to ensure proper brand integrity.
  2. Specialty Printing: embroidery, laser etching, engraving, and textured printing are all mediums that do not always allow color. Additionally you will most likely use some, if not all, of these printing types as your brand expands.
  3. Partnerships & Collaborations: at some point you will be asked to be a partner or collaborate with other brands. This is where a monochrome logo version is mandatory. When there are multiple brands being represented on a project, each logo should be monochrome to avoid excessive or clashing color schemes. Not being prepared for this can drastically affect how your logo and brand is being consumed, and we can’t have that happen.

So if you are creating your logo internally, or hiring a design professional, make sure you explore how black and white options look and if they properly display your brand during the design process. It can be challenging to create these monochrome options at a later time and in some rare cases it can be nearly impossible without making drastic adjustments to your original design.

What if I already have a logo but no monochrome versions?

We suggest you create these versions as soon as possible. You don’t want to invest your time and resources promoting and creating a brand to later find out that you need to change your logo. Luckily for most brands, their logo is capable of being turned into monochrome versions with very little to no change, but we suggest hiring a professional if that is needed since it does take some skill and creativity.

Lastly be aware that the all black logo versions and all white versions may not be the same. For instance, there are certain designs that look ‘correct’ as all black, but that same design doesn’t feel right when changed to all white. We notice this most with visual logos and less with typographic-style designs. It’s a little easier to explain with some visuals:

Black and white logo option exercise
  1. The logo in slot (A) is an all black logo displaying correctly.
  2. If we simply replace option (A)'s black coloring with white, we get option (C). Not very appealing
  3. So we place a white border background around option (A) and get (D). A correct display but built for dark backgrounds.
  4. Inversely, option (B) is replacing (D)'s white coloring with black. Again looking not as intended.

So we can see that simply making a logo all black or all white and inverting the colors does not always work. In this case adding a white border background was a great solution, but we would have never known unless performing this exercise. So please take the time, either with your internal design team or your creative professional, and create your separate black and white logo options for your brand. It will help you in the long run.

Specialty printing where color is not allowed. Laser cut wood and embossed business card design