Something that pops up many times during initial consultations with new clients’ is the question, “Do I need to keep .com in my logo?” I can’t possibly give a definitive answer to this as it ultimately depends on certain particulars, but I can give you a few things to consider that help me decide what is the best route.
A while back, when the internet was kicking off, it was common practice to shove your TLD: .com, co.uk, .net after every brand name so that it became easy for people to acknowledge that a particular company had a web presence. This was useful as it guided customers to your place of online business regardless of where someone saw your logo.
Nowadays it’s accepted that most companies have a web presence so the need to append every brand name with .com has declined sharply to the point where I personally feel it can now be somewhat tacky to retain it when considering a rebrand. I have seen a few instances where the removal of the TLD was actually the main reason for rebranding, so some companies are quite aware of the need to keep up with the times rather than live in the dot-com past.
For some companies like Amazon the TLD is essential as it’s a online company operating in many countries and the TLD’s are strong identifiers to which flavour of Amazon you are using. But Amazon is a beast of a company in it’s own league so it’s not really wise to compare against when considering leaving or dropping your own TLD.
If You Get Asked
For the most part I am mostly talking about smaller companies that may approach you with the question, “Do I need to keep .com in my logo?” They may have been operating with .com as part of their logo design for some years, but may be considering dropping it from the logo.
It’s certainly not a decision to take lightly as there can often be some serious brand equity in their current naming, so unilaterally dropping their TLD could cause some confusion amongst existing customers if you rush into it.
It’s important to understand that dropping a TLD is not just a aesthetic exercise. It’s also about strengthening their actual brand name independently of what particular TLD you use to access their web site.
In some cases the TLD could well be part of their registered business name in which case one needs to tread carefully.
You don’t just rip it off and hope for the best.
A Few Considerations
A good place to start is to ask if the TLD is continuing to serve an important and useful purpose? I have had some past clients who have desperately wanted to either add their TLD to their new logo or keep the TLD during the brand redesign. When I ask them why, and I don’t get a reasonable answer, then I tend to steer them away from the idea.
Being asked to add a TLD to a logo design just makes me shiver.
I mostly actively discourage the addition of a TLD to ANY logo for any kind of client, company, business or brand. If starting from scratch I feel that adding a TLD is just clinging to a graphic cliche of a period long past and best forgotten. This is not to say I will absolutely never ever incorporate a TLD, but if I do it will be for very good reason.
A benefit of removing a TLD from the brand name in the logo is that it can really bring focus back to what is important, the brand name and not a domain prefix, as well as freeing up horizontal space in the rest of the identity. I feel there are few good reasons to factor in a TLD to the logo design, but not to say there are none. Don’t discount a strategic need for a TLD as part of the main logo design, but do at least question the reasons for doing so if they are presented to you.
Is the company just an online eCommerce site with no public facing physical locations, or is it a front window to a non eCommerce business? If the former then there is more reason to retain the TLD, but this is not to say it can’t be removed as it all depends on a number of other important factors such as if the registered brand name includes the TLD. If it’s the latter then it is more likely that a TLD can be safely dropped from the new logo design during the rebrand.
Not Just Aesthetic Reasons
There are valid aesthetic reasons to dropping an existing TLD, or not adding it to a new logo design. As mentioned above aesthetic reasons alone don’t trump common sense when it comes to the TLD question.
If there is one thing you come away with after reading this post, I would like it to be: if a client asks for a TLD to be part of the logo design of a new brand, or requests that it be retained during a rebrand, then at least have the presence of thought to query it, discuss it and consider it.
Remember: If the TLD is part of their actual registered brand name then tread carefully. It is possible to amend the trading name, but great care and thought must be taken if a client chooses to go this route.