Logo update? How to know when your brand needs a logo redesign
Is it time for your brand to invest in a logo redesign? A logo update, logo redo, or even a refresh may seem like a daunting task for a growing brand. However, it’s often a necessary part of ensuring your company’s image remains fresh, relevant, and impactful.
Even if you work with leading graphic designers to create a stunning logo the first time you launch your brand, there’s no guarantee that emblem is going to work for your business forever.
As industry trends change, alongside customer preferences, and your business evolves, your initial logo can quickly become outdated and irrelevant. Depending on your growth trajectory, this could mean you need to redo your logo entirely, or simply update your visual identity.
Today, we’re going to look at how you can determine whether your brand needs to invest in a logo redesign, or refresh.
Logo redesign vs logo update: What’s the difference?
The first thing worth noting is there is a difference between a logo redesign or logo redo, and a logo update or refresh. While both strategies involve enhancing and renovating your logo’s design elements, they require different levels of work and investment.
A logo refresh or update is a less dramatic approach to enhancing an outdated logo. Rather than a complete overhaul, you simply change small aspects of your logo to make it more appealing to a new audience.
For instance, since Nike introduced its famous “swoosh” symbol, the company has used the same core visuals in all of its updated logo, with only slight changes.
During a refresh, you’ll maintain all of the components of your brand mark that remain relevant to your company and your audience. However, you’ll also refine intricate details to make your emblem more powerful in the current marketplace.
A logo redesign is a far more comprehensive process. It might involve creating a new logo based on a new name for your company, introducing a different color scheme, or completely changing the overall design of the mark.
Whether you need a redesign or refresh for your logo will depend on a number of factors. You’ll need to ask yourself who your target market is today, what your brand stands for, and whether any existing elements of your logo can be retained.
Is it time for a logo redesign or refresh? 7 signs
Both a logo redesign and logo refresh can be a complex, and time-consuming task for any company. That’s why it’s important not to rush into changing your logo too frequently.
Although it might be tempting to refresh your image to constantly adhere to current trends, this process could make it harder for customers to recognize your brand. After all, your company logo is one of the core elements your customers use to identify you.
For the most part, logos should be designed to stand the test of time. They should be versatile enough to evolve with your market, and remain relevant through the years.
However, there are times when a logo redesign, or refresh may be necessary.
Here are some key signs that it may be time to change your logo.
1. Your logo is old or outdated
Probably the most common reason to invest in a logo update or redesign, is that your current logo seems outdated, or old-fashioned.
Sometimes, even if you work with professional designers on your initial logo, technological changes and evolutions in the design market can cause your image to fall behind the trends.
If you look at the wider market for your company and notice most other logos seem more modern, it’s likely time for an update. Starbucks is an excellent example of a company that has adapted its logo to stay true to the design trends of the moment.
While the core elements of the Starbucks logo have remained consistent throughout the years, the image of the Starbucks siren has been refined and refreshed a number of times.
2. Your logo is no longer relevant
A logo isn’t just an image designed to differentiate your company from competing brands. The best logos send an important message to your target audience. The image should convey your brand values, mission, and purpose to your target audience.
If the nature of your company changes, or your purpose evolves, then you may find you need to update your logo too. For example, if you look at the Nintendo logo through the years, you’ll notice some of the initial emblems focused on the company’s position as a card game manufacturer.
When the company began to branch into the digital landscape, producing consoles and video games, their old logo lost its relevance. Updating to a more modern logo, with a different typeface, allowed Nintendo to enhance its image.
3. Your audience has changed
Great logos speak to a specific audience or niche. They resonate with customers on an emotional level, and respond to a certain group’s interests and expectations.
Over time, you may find that your logo is still relevant to a specific audience, but it’s no longer the market you want to attract. If you decide you want to start attracting younger customers, or people from a different industry, you may need to consider a logo redesign.
As an example, Burberry decided it wanted to update its brand image and messaging to become more appealing to a younger audience. They removed a lot of the complexity from their old logo, switching to a more modern and fresh design.
4. Your competition has changed
As markets evolve, new competition can enter your niche at any time, producing logos that are either similar to yours, or more impactful. To ensure you continue to stand out among other companies in your industry, you may need to invest in a logo refresh or update.
You may decide to make small tweaks to your logo, retaining the majority of your original image, or you might go in an entirely new direction.
Updating your company’s logo can be an excellent way to preserve your place in your target audience, and invest in differentiation.
5. Your business has expanded or changed
Companies can change drastically over time, for a number of reasons. Sometimes, you may choose to target a new audience or niche. Other times, you may decide to merge with another brand to facilitate growth, or explore a new avenue with your products.
There’s even a chance you’ll decide to change the name of your company over time, which could mean your original logo no longer makes sense for your business.
If you update your brand name, or make a fundamental change to your business, then you’ll need to invest in a logo redesign too. A prime example of this comes from Google, a brand that updated its image after changing from the name “Backrub” to “Google”.
6. Your logo is too complex
Complex logos were relatively common a number of years ago. When companies relied heavily on print media to connect with their audience, they used strong imagery to evoke intense feelings in customers. However, the world, and brand marketing materials have evolved.
In today’s digital world, it’s far more common for strong logos to feature simple elements. In fact, many major brands have removed a number of defining features from their logos over the years.
Updating your logo to something more simplistic can be helpful in the modern landscape. Not only does it make your logo more memorable, but it ensures it can translate across different mediums, such as the web, and mobile phone screens.
For example, Apple’s first logo was quickly changed from a complex image of Isaac Newton sitting under an apple tree, to the minimalistic emblem we know today.
7. Your logo lacks meaning
Finally, a common sign that it’s time for a logo change is your image doesn’t convey the right meaning to your audience. An effective logo shouldn’t just make people aware of your company name or brand colors.
The best logos are visual representations of the core goals and values of a brand. They need to connect with customers on an emotional level, and show genuine meaning.
If, after some research, you notice your customers don’t understand your brand story or values based on the logo you’re using, it might be time for an update. Pay attention to how customers respond to your logo in the modern world, and adapt accordingly.
Examples of changing logo designs
Logo redesigns and refreshments are relatively common in the branding world. The most popular companies around the globe today understand that if they want to stay relevant to their target audience, they need to be willing to update their image.
While some logo redesign efforts by major companies have been quite significant, others have been more subtle.
Amazon is one of the best examples of a company that has successfully enhanced its logo over the years. Initially, the company used an emblem with a large letter “A” and the words “Amazon.com” underneath. Over time, the company adapted its image, with a stronger focus on its customers.
The Amazon logo today is an excellent representations of the core values of the brand. The image features a simple sans-serif wordmark, with an orange underline that connects the “A” to the “Z”, demonstrating the versatility of the company’s product collection.
The line also looks a little like a smile, which further showcases Amazon’s commitment to exceptional customer service and client satisfaction.
Microsoft is another fantastic example of a company that has enhanced its brand recognition and identity with a logo redesign. The company has always used a relatively simple image for its logo, drawing attention to its name above anything else.
However, Microsoft’s most recent logo is the most powerful of all, showcasing the core components of Microsoft’s portfolio in a simple emblem.
The soft grey wordmark, combined with the cubed window tells us everything we need to know about Microsoft’s versatility in the technical industry.
Google has certainly made some significant changes to its brand image over the years. Most of the company’s logos have evolved based on the technology and design trends of the time.
The original logos produced by the brand were relatively attractive in the early days of the internet, but they became quickly outdated as the digital world evolved.
In 2015, Google introduced the most recent version of its logo, which featured its famous rainbow color palette, and an attractive sans-serif font. The simple and sleek wordmark is ideal for representing Google’s focus on the future.
Steps to take for a successful logo refresh
If you’ve decided to invest in a logo redesign or logo update, the next question you need to ask is how you’re going to implement changes to your image. Some companies make small, subtle changes gradually over time, while others rapidly update their overall look.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for ensuring a successful logo redesign, there are some steps you can take to improve your chances of generating the right results.
Step 1: Audit your brand
The first step in a successful logo redesign is examining your current brand. Evaluate your current brand positioning, the services and products you offer, and your target audience.
Think about the core values and mission of your company, and ask yourself what you’re conveying with the logo you currently have. Ask whether your current logo is consistent with your online appearance, messaging, and personality.
Consider whether your customers are responding correctly to your logo, and whether there are any specific elements they remember most.
Surveying your customers can be an excellent way to define which parts of your logo or color palette are no longer working for your company. It’s also worth examining the wider market, and conducting competitor research, to define how you can stand out.
Step 2: Decide what you want to change
Once you’ve carefully examined your current brand, it’s time to determine how much of your logo you want to update. Are you investing in a logo modernization strategy, to bring your current logo up to date with some subtle changes?
Do you need to consider a complete logo redo, based on changes to your business, color palette, or company name? A customer analysis, combined with your brand audit will help you to determine how much of your logo really needs to change.
Where possible, it’s often a good idea to look for a way to keep as many of the core elements of your brand identity as possible. Even if you have to alter your entire image, sticking with a similar color palette, or logo structure can help retain your existing audience.
Changing too much of your logo can be dangerous. For instance, when Tropicana removed some of the core parts of its logo, its sales dropped by 20%.
Step 3: Remain data-driven throughout the process
A logo redesign or logo update shouldn’t be done in a vacuum. At each stage of your logo redesign process, you should be gathering data and feedback to inform your next step.
Start by connecting with stakeholders in your business, ensuring all of your employees, designers, and business leaders are on the same page about what your new logo should convey. You can also consider getting your audience involved with your logo redesign strategy.
Collecting constructive feedback from a few VIP customers, focus groups, or your social media network can help you to ensure you’re not making any dangerous changes to your logo.
Before investing in any major or radical changes, consider posting versions of your logo online for your customers to examine. This will help you to identify which design elements (old or new) resonate with your customers, so you can preserve the core benefits of your logo.
Step 4: Track the results
Once you’ve chosen your new logo, or refreshed your existing image, share it with your audience, and pay attention to their responses. We’re living in a world where consumers aren’t afraid to share their thoughts and opinions with companies.
This means you can expect to generate at least some responses on social media, forums, and throughout the web when you launch your new design.
If you find your logo redesign process falls flat, you may need to consider returning to the drawing board. For instance, Gap had to go back to square one after introducing a new logo that didn’t resonate with its target audience.
If the response you get to your logo is positive, stay vigilant. Continue to pay attention to your brand reputation, the changing industry, and any feedback you may receive over time. This will help you to determine when you might need to update your logo again.
The do’s and don’ts of a logo redo
A logo redesign can be a complex task. Creating an image that has a significant impact on your target audience, and conveys the right message about your brand takes time, expertise, and effort.
The most effective way to ensure your logo redesign is successful is to work with a branding company with experience working on logo redesigns.
However, you can also improve your chances of an effective change by following these do’s and don’ts:
Try to preserve the colors, shapes, and symbols of your logo whenever possible, to preserve the brand equity you’ve already developed with your image.
Make the new design timeless, with simplified elements designed to work across a range of different platforms and mediums.
Keep track of the latest design trends and evolutions in graphic design, this will help to prevent you from falling behind the competition.
Understand your audience before creating your new logo. Get to know their preferences, and find out which shapes, colors, and typefaces speak to them.
Preserve your brand identity. Make sure your logo showcases your mission, values, and purpose as a company.
Redesign too frequently, as this could make it harder for customers to recognize your brand, and harm your overall visibility.
Use outdated design practices. Stay up to date with the latest trends in logo design, and make sure your image is modern.
Copy other ideas. While you can take inspiration from your competitors, your logo should remain unique to you and your brand.
Add too many elements to your logo. An overly complex logo can be harder for customers to understand and remember.
Do you need a logo refresh or redesign?
A logo redesign or refresh isn’t a project you should dive into lightly. Any change to your logo, even if it’s subtle, can have an unexpected impact on your reputation with your target audience. That’s why it’s so important to ensure you’re making logo updates for the right reasons.
Think carefully about the reasons why you might need to redesign your logo, using the guidance above, and conduct plenty of research before you get started.
Additionally, remember once you’ve redesigned your logo, you’ll need to update other branding elements too, such as your social media content, marketing assets, and email signatures.
If you decide it is time for a logo redesign, make sure you’re working with the right experts to ensure success. A good logo designer will help to minimize your risk of unnecessary issues.