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The High-end brand Lock-up

Wayne McMaster

11 February 2016

Well-designed identities often have different logo variations or lock-ups. A lockup is the final form of a logo with all of it's elements locked in their relative positions. For the sake of maintaining consistency in all mediums, the lockup should not be taken apart or altered in any way. A good lockup will create a sense of cohesion between the elements.

The Elements

The Wordmark
Is the brand name in a specific typeface or sometimes referred to as the font.

The Symbol
This is the component of the logo that can either be used separate from the wordmark.

Is the streamline, descriptor or promise line that may sit underneath the symbol and wordmark

The Lockup

The lockup is the formal combination of all logo elements together in a set position.Horizontal vs. vertical, short vs. tall vs. stacked, with and without symbols, with or without Taglines. If the new logo is going to be used at small sizes, its important to consider looking at designing variants of the design for this purpose, which include less detail.

This has recently become a popular topic due to responsive web design, where smaller devices are becoming common place, however the same principles apply to print too. These blogs are well worth a read on the topic:

Stacked & Horizontal

This is by far the most simple and common technique for adapting a logo for a varying size constraints, where the mark is moved from above the logotype to the side. The Case-Mate logo illustrates this perfectly.

Detail Reduction

Logos and marks with intricate details are rare, but in these cases, reducing the level of detail can greatly enhance legibility at small sizes. Detailed shapes can be smoothed out, thin strokes can be made thicker, outlined elements could be inversed and filled in. For each reduced size of version of the logo, the level of detail is also gradually reduced, which greatly enhances the legibility of the mark at small sizes.


Two good examples of variation in their lock-ups and reduction in detail when smaller are Drummonds and Princess Yachts.

Drummonds uses a standard centred vertical Lock-up with its promise tagline "Classic Handmade Quality" with interlocking 'D's above a serif Wordmark, the tagline disappears on the webiste header, and when scaled toa mobile screen the logo lock-up responds with the horizontal lock-up. It could have taken that one step further with the use of only the interlocking 'D' mark.

Drummond full lock-up

Simpler vertical lock-up Drummonds

Drummonds horizontal lock-up


Princess Yacht is a good example of having both a complex version (their metallic rendered lock-up) showing both crown symbol, wordmark and tagline "Crafted in Plymouth, England" and paring that back to a single flat colour version, that becomes simply the crown through various screen sizes in their responsive website.

 Princess lock-up complex

Princess lock-up simple

small icon Princess Yacht ogo

'Responsive logos' is a project that explores how brands might adapt for todays multiple devices and screen resolutions. By applying responsive design principles to individual elements of a logo, and stripping out detail in relation to screen size, a more legible and appropriate logo can be displayed. The concept aims to move branding away from fixed, rigid guidelines into a more flexible and contextual system.

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