Six Reasons Your Logo Might Need a Makeover Lauren Nelson | July 13th, 2016
We ask a lot of our logos. We expect them to be the visual representation of everything our brand stands for, to be the recognizable “face” of our companies, to be the picture worth a thousand words every day for so long as our business persists. So it’s really not all that surprising that logo design is one of the most difficult challenges a young brand will face. It’s also not surprising that more established brands are reticent to change that logo once it’s been embraced.
It can also be risky territory. Don’t believe us? Ask Gap about what happened when they tried to move away from that iconic navy blue box in 2010. And then you’ve got stories like the one about JCPenney changing its logo twice in two years… only to revert to its old one in the face of collapsing company performance.
Change is hard for most companies. Logo change? Hard to fathom. But despite the cautionary tales, there are times when a new logo makes a whole world of sense.
You’ve merged with or acquired a new business.
Hurrah! You’re merging with a competitor and/or bought out a competitor and/or purchased a company that will allow you to bust into brand new markets! That’s wonderful news! That also means it might be time for a logo redesign.
These sorts of moves often bring major changes to the scope and quality of your unique value proposition. As such, it makes sense that the image of your company would change, too. Moreover, if such moves are really a good thing, a change in logo will be a boost to marketing your new value.
You’re spinning off of a parent company.
It started as a passion project until your boss thought it had promise. Before you knew it, your project was suddenly profitable, and though the sky was clearly the limit, your idea was too different from the rest of the parent company’s business to stay at home. Time to strike out on your own!
Like a young twenty-something finally moving out of the family basement, now is the time for an image change. Nothing says, “I’m not a kid under Mommy and Daddy’s wing anymore” like a new look. And just like a merger or acquisition, you’ve got a big PR opportunity on your hands here. If you’re spinning off from a parent company, a logo redesign can be another way of broadcasting the big news.
You’re changing directions in a big way.
Every now and then, a passion project winds up being way better than what its parent company was originally doing. Don’t laugh — it’s happened before. Berkshire Hathaway. Shell. The list goes on and on and on. Not all of those folks capitalized on the opportunity to reinvent themselves with a new logo, but that doesn’t mean you should make the same mistake.
If your unique value proposition has been drastically altered, it only makes sense to make sure your image is shifting as well. Failing to do so will likely stymie your attempts to break out from preconceptions of your brand. That just might be a death knell for future endeavors.
You’re bouncing back from a crisis.
Was there a scandal? A disaster? Do you have egg on your face? That happens now and then. But at the risk of sounding like little Orphan Annie, the sun’ll come up tomorrow. When that sunshine hits your logo, will it be bloodied and bruised?
If your company is coming out on the other side of a storm, it might be worth your time to consider an update to your logo. No matter what sweeping changes have come about, your current logo will probably still bring up memories of darker days, but a logo redesign can serve as a visual cue that will reinforce your declarations about turning the page as an organization.
You screwed it up the first time around.
It’s understandable. Starting a business is hard and stressful and there are a million things going on at once. Maybe you were sleep deprived when you made your selection. Maybe you were short on time and made a rash decision. Maybe the selection was the result of ill-fated and agitated compromise with your partner. Whatever the reason, your logo is just crappy.
Logos are rarely the reason a customer chooses you to do business with, but they do frequently inform the rest of the designs associated with a company. And when you consider the importance of UX design in terms of search rank and web conversions, that means a bad logo can wreak a whole lotta havoc on your business. A change can announce that your company has finally grown out of its awkward, gangly phase, and let’s be real: folks like dealing with adults.
Your brand is out of date.
This is probably the most relatable category for the majority of folks. Innovation moves quickly. So does design. If your logo was designed to align with a fad ten years ago, it might be looking dated right about now. That’s ok. You can fix that.
You don’t need to throw the baby out with the bathwater in this case. Pragmatically speaking, your logo might just need a refresh. That won’t necessarily be without controversy (lookin’ at you, Instagram), but especially in a world where logos are icons on mobile screens competing for the attention of the user, making sure your logo looks like it belongs in this decade is a good idea.
BONUS: Your brand is throwing a party.
Events aren’t reasons to permanently change your logo, but they do give you an excuse to play with it. Whether it’s a holiday or anniversary or celebration of some other happening somewhere in the world, playing with your logo can be a fun way to join in the revelry. Google does this on a regular basis with their beloved doodles.
We’re not asking you to be Google, because that would be insane. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun when the occasion makes sense.
If any of the above scenarios apply to you, it might be time to consider a brand makeover. When you’re ready for that new logo design, our creatives are here to help.