Why You Should Never Center or Right Align Your Logo

Given that this is one of the most requested things on my menu stacks I thought this made a good read - now stop it!


Good article and one we should all read and reflect on.

I think the reason that different alignments of the navbar logo are a popular request from RapidWeaver users is that a mid or right logo is often seen as significant design element and a design differentiator. There’s no doubt that some web sites that have a centred navbar logo look great, but the reason they look so good is because of the whole design and very little if anything to do with the non left aligned logo.

Users should put more effort into the logo design than it’s positioning.

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I think this is humbug, probably based on a poorly conducted survey. It contradicts the accepted design philosophy of books since before the invention of printing. The preferred position for illustrations is on rectos (right-hand pages) because the reader (at least of European languages) is always scanning towards the right. There are, of course, exceptions to the general preference, such as frontispieces and when an illustration needs to be near text which falls on a verso. It is hard to believe that what has been accepted practice for book design for over a millennium should not be equally applicable to web pages.

I always understood this to mean that the text should be on the left because that is where we naturally start reading from and so the illustration does not get in the way.

This therefore would seem to re-inforce the postulate in the article and not contradict it given that it is talking about logos and brand identity and not in line illustrations or images within the text.

@tav No definitely not. If that were the case, coffee-table books in which the text is secondary to the illustrations would concentrate the illustrations on the left, but they don’t. I’ve been designing books for forty-five years and I see no reason to question the received wisdom on the basis of one study of 128 readers.

An interesting debate bu I still don’t understand how those design principles relate to menu bars with logos and navigation items. Surely there is no direct analogue in print media.

For example, most people expect links to be arranged left to right ( or RTL in the case of Hebrew). The logo is usually a link to the homepage and so it follows that it is on the left.

More importantly though, most people I’ve met outside of RW have consistently said that they expect / prefer the logo on the left in the menu bar.

I think this is where I am missing the point - what is the reason for the text always being on the left?

@tav First, logos may be in menu bars or elsewhere. The discussion did not restrict itself to menu bars. When the logo is in a menu bar, I think there is a stronger argument for it to be on the left because the text will normally be ranged left, which is more natural than ranging right (in the case of right-to-left languages).

I accept that there is only a limited similarity between printed books and web pages and I don’t even argue that logos should be in any particular position on a web page (other than probably near the top). I have one site in which the logo appears between the two words of the h1 title, I have one in which the logo is on the right and I have one in which the logo is on the left of the h1 title. I don’t, as far as I can remember, have any with the logo in the menu bar. I just doubt that one should be guided by a small-scale test of doubtful rigour which seems at variance with experience of many centuries in other media.

I wasn’t missing your point about about the text being on the left, although as I said it is not always so. If you think of the great books of the middle ages, the lectern bibles and psalters, their colourful images were usually placed on the right for maximum impact. It has nothing to do with helping the reader avoid being distracted by the extremely expensive and time-consuming illustrations – they were supposed to be distracted and, in the case of the illiterate and semi-literate, to be awed and educated by them. However, going back to the matter of logos in menu bars, you do in fact have an analogue in the beautiful illuminated initials which (again in L to R books) necessarily appear on the left of paragraphs – so here you have (stretching a point) medieval sanction for having logos on the left of menu bars!

No, but my post did and that was my sole focus in my original comment and subsequent ones, I don’t disagree in terms of design of the rest of the page at all. My point was simply UI and branding in a menu header, nothing to do with design.

@tav Fair enough. I was responding to the original article rather than your comment.