Once the design of a logo has been approved and finalised, we prepare a set of logo formats for our clients. The five formats are monochrome, CMYK (print), RGB (web), vector and PNG. In this logo formats series we will discuss the purpose of each of these formats.
A monochrome logo is a black and white version of your logo. It is therefore made up of a single colour without tints/percentages. Monochrome should not be mistaken for greyscale. If you desaturate all the colours in a full colour image, the result is greyscale (black, white and all the grey tones inbetween). A true monochrome logo does not contain any tones or shades other than 100% black (or any other chosen colour).
Creating a monochrome logo can be a tricky process, especially with adjacent colour spaces, gradients and other complex design elements. This is why it is best practice to design a logo in monochrome first and then add colour (if needed). If a logo is designed in full colour with no regard to future simplification to monochrome, unnecessary complications arise and the original logo might need to be redesigned (which can frustrate clients and designers alike).
Common uses for a monochrome logo include the following:
Because of the loss of tonal details when a document is faxed, a monochrome logo is the best format for the retention of clarity and legibility. Greyscale or colour logos are simplified to monochrome in any case when faxed, but with the scary prospect of an unsophisticated fax machine that decides what is to become black and what is to be rendered white. The end result is, more often than not, an indistinct mess of what should have been a clear and visible brand. It makes sense to rather leave this decision process to the designer and feed a well-designed monochrome logo to the machine.
- Unusual surfaces
Some applications of your company logo requires the use of a monochrome logo. Common examples include sandblasting onto glass (traditional or vinyl application), engraving in wood/metal/plastic or embroidering onto uniforms. All these instances of your logo form part of your total brand experience and should therefore be a professionally designed version that retains the essence of the colour logo.
There are situations where your logo will be featured alongside some other brands, eg. corporate sponsorships, collective projects and other collaborations. The easiest way to prevent visual clutter in the design space and let everyone have an equal share of the brand real estate is to present all the logos in monochrome. If you cannot provide a monochrome logo in such a scenario, you are leaving the simplification process to a designer that might be inexperienced, or worse, agitated with your lack of professionalism. The last thing you want is to be the one with the rushed mishmash effort amongst other, more refined monochrome brands.