Disadvantages of using a photo as a logo


I am considering using a small picture as my logo. The picture is of the Earth shaped into a light bulb. What could be the disadvantages of not using a drawing as a logo?


asked Feb 13 '12 at 09:08
1,567 points
  • Instead of an "earthbulb" image, why not design a simpler earthbulb logo, removing most of the detail that causes problems with image-based logos? If you're using the simpler logo, but on your website, you have the full grand and glorious hi-res image, no one will complain. The image could still be used, but the official logo is much more usable, and can be put anywhere? – rbwhitaker 12 years ago
  • There's [Stack Exchange on Graphic Design](http://graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/) for such questions. – Dnbrv 12 years ago
  • @dnbrv I think this was relevant for every single startup so I think it is on-topic here. – David 12 years ago
  • @David - It's not that your question is not relevant to the site, you may get a better answer from one that has more graphic design experts. – Jeff O 12 years ago

3 Answers


If it is an image, it becomes really tough to display in a lot of different formats/media. For instance, you'll lose a lot of quality if you have to print in grayscale, and a whole lot more if you plan on printing in just black and white. And yes, there will be times that this is needed. Also, consider people who still have those old-fashioned 16 color monitors (yes some people still have them).

Also, photos tend to not be very scalable. If you need to make it really small, it ends up being a little pile of pixels. And if you want to make it really large, your image either becomes really pixelated, or you have to come up with a way to add detail to the image. (Design in hi-res, I guess....)

I'd suggest going with a much simpler vector-based logo that looks good in just black and white--essentially, just as a outline or shape. (Words count as a shape too, if that's the way you want to go.) Ideally, people will be able to recognize it from just a silhouette. Think about logos like Apple, Microsoft, McDonald's, Pepsi, etc. From there, you can add detail on top of that (colors, shadows, glows, shines, whatever) in places where the extra details look good. In most cases, you're best off with a logo that works purely as a shape.

answered Feb 13 '12 at 09:29
3,465 points


think of your logo on business cards, tradeshow booth, banners, signs, brochures, magazine ads, t-shirts. How good will a photo look?

answered Feb 13 '12 at 11:37
1,231 points


For one thing, a proper logo design should be recognizable in a single-color context. There will be times when you'll need your logo to appear in pure black and white, for example. In your case, the fact that it's the earth would be lost if it were just a black light bulb.

answered Feb 13 '12 at 09:17
Jon Di Pietro
1,697 points
  • Good point, but that should be too often for an online startup. We could print the logo on paper and contact cards. – David 12 years ago
  • I thought that same thing, at first. That for an online startup, that it wouldn't happen too much. But after I had put together a logo, and started trying to use it in different places, it just didn't work in *so many places*. – rbwhitaker 12 years ago

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