Other than your brand name, your company logo is one of the most important things people will notice when they discover your brand for the first time — and it’s something they’ll continue to see and notice every time they encounter your brand in the future. It’s critical that your logo tells the right story about your company. You want it to convey your personality and have it be immediately recognizable as unique to your company.
But the truth is no logo can stay relevant forever. Times change and so do design sensibilities and norms. Companies change too, and the logo that spoke volumes when your company was formed may no longer make sense if you pivot or undergo a substantial change to your business. Here are a few cases when a logo redesign may be in order:
The logo is old
Even if when your company was formed you had a logo you loved, you might find that over time it grows stale or is no longer as relevant or as appealing as you once thought. Not to mention, an outdated logo is usually easy to spot, even for average consumers who don’t know the first thing about design. There are often one or two design elements that are no longer in style (think: italicized fonts, gradients, or bubbly text) that end up making the logo look like something out of the last decade. No matter how iconic your logo is, its creation will always be informed by the design standards, norms, and trends of the time in which it was created. This means that it will become outdated at some point. Think back to the last time your logo was refreshed and consider whether signs of age are beginning to show.
The logo is too complex
Logos with a lot of detail or too much gradient often don’t translate well to digital. Companies that were established long before the digital age may find that their logos look great on letterhead but not so great as profile images or in digital ad creative. Modern design in our current moment is all about simplicity, and fortunately logos without too much complexity usually look best on the web. If you look at your web properties and find that your detailed logo is difficult to see or decipher, it’s a clue that a redesign might be in order.
The company is evolving
When your company first got started and a logo was designed, it was probably perfectly emblematic of what you stood for. But we all know that no company remains static for long. Companies grow and evolve drastically over time. New services, products, and company missions are introduced. Mergers and acquisitions take place. Company changes are usually things to be celebrated — they are often brought about by growth and development. Unfortunately, these positive changes may also end up rendering a company’s original logo less than entirely relevant. A logo redesign can be just the thing to help signal a new direction.
BP introduced a stylized sunflower with modern shades of yellow and green to match their increased focus on environmentalism.
The company is growing
Many companies start out small and spend a few years fighting for survival. During this phase of the company’s development, investing in quality logo design might not be top of the list of necessary expenses. Maybe something gets designed on the fly and it’s maintained out of necessity during the lean years. As the company grows and becomes better known, however, that scrappy logo might no longer cut it. A young company that is growing more established should consider a logo redesign if the proper time and investment wasn’t put towards branding in the early stages.
Things to consider:
Once your company determines that the time has come for a logo redesign, there are a few things to keep in mind as you begin the process.
How identifiable is your logo?
Companies that have long and storied histories usually have logos that are immediately identifiable. The logo alone can conjure intense feelings for the viewer who has come to associate the logo with the brand and the brand with positive experiences or memories. The golden arches for example, will immediately bring McDonald’s to mind. A single swoosh makes people think of the athleticism and perseverance that Nike has come to embody. The more identifiable the logo, the more cautious a company needs to be in redesigning it. You don’t want to overhaul the logo so much that it loses its original power and meaning.
Pepsi is another example of an identifiable logo. Throughout the years the brand has undergone many changes, but they still maintain a familiar look and feel.
How much do you want to honor the past?
Related to the question of how recognizable or iconic a logo has become, is the question of how much the company wants to honor its past in the redesigning of its logo. A logo redesign can be a bold statement that proclaims a break from the past. It’s important to consider if this is indeed the statement you’re trying to make. Bold redesigns can fail if they’re perceived as erasing a cherished brand history or betraying the principles the brand was founded upon.
Over time Morton Salt has redesigned their beloved Morton’s Salt Girl. The newest version of the logo is modern while maintaining a nostalgic connection to the brand’s origins.
How outdated is your logo?
Earlier I mentioned how obvious it is to consumers when a logo feels tired, stale, or glaringly outdated. But there are degrees of how outdated a logo can be. A logo that hasn’t been touched in twenty years will almost certainly be in need of full redesign, but a logo that was redesigned within the past few years might warrant a subtler touch. If the logo is only somewhat outdated, there’s the option to simply refresh it to bring it in line with current design sensibilities.
Google updates its logo on a regular basis without doing any huge overhauls. The result is a logo that is constantly evolving:
How important are current trends?
Logo design, like anything, goes through trends. When considering a redesign it’s useful to look at current trends to get a sense of where design sensibilities lie. That said, it’s not a good idea to blindly redesign your logo according to these trends. Trends, as we all know, are fleeting. Furthermore, not all design trends will be suitable for all brands. Many current designs favor simplicity and minimalism, but that look might not work for a university with a deep and rich history, for example. Learn about current trends but don’t let them dictate your direction.
Where will the logo live?
It’s important to consider where your logo will appear. Most business are multi-faceted and a logo is almost always going to be used in a variety of places. People will see and interact with your logo in many different ways. They’ll see it on your website and your social profiles. They might see it on billboards and magazine spreads, or even emblazoned on the side of a van.
Consider, The León Group for example. The property management group has their logo not just on digital collateral – but offline as well, often featured on the side of their vehicles. Considering this facet of logo use during the design process is critical. Something that conveys well on a website may not be as effective when enlarged on an offline platform.
Updating Your Logo Design
As far as the world is concerned, your logo is the face of your brand. It plays a critical role in the way consumers perceive your company — and whether or nor not they will have positive first impressions. Logos that are noticeably outdated, too complex, or no longer entirely relevant are good candidates for a redesign. If you are going to invest in a logo redesign make sure to consider ways to maintain your brand’s integrity and identifiable design elements at the same time as you focus on updating for a more modern feel.
To learn more about logo design, visit Blue Fountain Media online.
This article was written by Gabriel Shaoolian from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
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- Logo Redesign: What To Consider When It’s Time For A Brand Update - February 8, 2017