WOOF! Newsletter

December 11, 2019

The Power of a Logo Update (and When to Make One)

Like websites and marketing materials, company logos need design updates over time. Depending on the kind of update, whether a small refinement or a completely new design, logo updates can spell powerful gains to a company's perception, traffic, and sales.

By: Mike Woodburn, Creative Director
Chris Williams, Digital Marketing & Communications Manager

TIME TO READ: 6 MINUTES

If you took your company's logo off your website, would customers still recognize you?

Chances are they wouldn’t. Company brands rely on several components, the most recognizable of which is the company's logo.

Logos are visual representations of the company. Instantly recognizable, and when combined with effective messaging and quality service or products, they inspire trust.

Is your company’s logo due for an update?

That's what we're talking about in this WOOF! issue.  When to consider doing an update, what’s involved, and what kind of results you can expect afterward.

The Logo:  Centerpiece of Your Brand

First, let's talk about the power of a logo.  As we illustrated a moment ago, without your logo, your brand would struggle to stay memorable. How far would Coca-Cola have gotten without its iconic red logo?

Previously in WOOF, we discussed the value of refreshing your brand.  Brands come together from a group of related elements:  fonts/styles, colors, images, taglines, marketing strategy, even your target audience. They're complex works of art that define how others perceive your company. 

The logo is the centerpiece of your brand. It needs to tie all those components together, to make your company memorable & relevant to customers.

A good logo helps your brand stay relevant for years. A bad logo, however, can hurt every aspect of the company.

What constitutes a 'bad' logo? 

  • Poor Design. Sloppy or amateur designs can give the impression that the company doesn’t care how it presents itself.Will they care about you, the customer?
  • Looks Dated. Is your company keeping up with the times?
  • Awkward Layout. The logo isn't symmetrical. Worse, its components (logo mark, company name, and tagline) don’t stack or remain legible on mobile.
  • Too Complex/Abstract. Not immediately recognizable or understandable. Company names have shortened over the years in response to consumers speeding through content.A company name of three words, reduced to one, makes it stronger & easy to recognize.

When to Update Your Logo

We've created dozens of logos for Digital Marketing customers over the past 20 years. We've even won awards for our branding work. During all that effort, we identified 4 times when it makes sense to update your logo.

  1. Staying Competitive. Coca-Cola has updated their brand dozens of times over the years. Each time they made changes to their logo (sometimes barely visible!). Why? To refresh the brand in the minds of customers, and look its best on new advertising mediums as they develop. It works the same way for you.

  2. Corporate Shift in Focus. When a company’s business model or customer focus shifts, the logo may no longer reflect the new goals.

  3. New Website. When a website becomes dated in terms of its appearance/functionality relative to modern expectations, it needs redesign. This is also a good time to update the company logo, as part of the "newer, better" look & feel.  Your logo is the design anchor of your website.

  4. Aged Out. Often, the logo has simply become dated and no longer represents how the company has evolved. Maybe the company has grown, and an in-house-designed logo no longer reflects the level of professionalism their clientele expects.

So now we know the When. Now, the What. When you're interested in a logo update, what kind should you undertake?

The 3 Types of Logo Design Projects

When we address one of our clients' logos, often at the onset of a website design project, the work typically falls into one of 3 categories: Design, Redesign, or Refinement.

  • Design: A new logo for the company that doesn't have one yet. Or the company's undergoing a rebrand/renaming effort due to an acquisition. This is a ground-up process, where we translate your company’s personality into a tangible visual representation. This involves determining things like typography, colors, illustrative logomark, taglines, and more.


    It's the most involved of the categories, but also the most rewarding. Essentially, designing a new logo brings a business to life...making its personality tangible to employees and customers alike.

    DESIGN Logo Project

  • Redesign: Updating the logo to make it feel current. Your logo might only need a rework of its existing elements…or you may need a whole new logo. This is usually done in concert with a website redesign. Often many core elements of the brand remain, such as company tagline, slogans, and even colors.

    REDESIGN Logo Project

  • Refinement: Modifying the current logo in light of other company-wide changes, or age-out. This is the most efficient and cost-effective way to ensure your company's identity has a polished and professional look and feel...while also retaining many of the old logo's characteristics. The key visual 'identifier' of the brand evolves, instead of getting a replacement.

    REFINEMENT Logo Project

Why 'refine' instead of redesign? In some cases, the business struggles with the idea of any sort of change to the logo. "Customers already know our logo. Changing it will hurt business!"

The most common explanation for this resistance is some emotional attachment to the old logo. The logo becomes a part of a company’s history and it’s hard for company execs to let go.

Now, there is something to be said for emotional values. You do want a memorable logo—but one that always puts your company's best foot forward. If it appears dated, hard to recognize, or not unique, does it make objective sense to hang onto the old logo?

In these situations, we look for opportunities in an existing logo to make some refinements. Like an 'evolution' of the original.

For customers attached to their old logos, we've found ways to keep their legacy logos alive.  Sometimes we use it in the design of their website's About or Timeline page.  Sometimes we use it for marketing swag or office art. You don't have to say goodbye completely to the logo you designed with your partner at the kitchen table.

Results of a Logo Update

If a logo update enhances its power, what kind of results should you expect from one? It depends on your industry and your target audience.

These are examples of what we've seen happen following logo updates:

  • Spikes in website traffic and inquiries
  • Return business from former customers
  • New perception of your authority, even among current customers
  • Requests to bid on bigger contracts
  • A morale boost for company employees

You'll note that none of these are negative. We have never, across dozens of brand refreshes/logo updates, seen a negative result.

Revive Your Company's Perception in Customers' Minds with a Logo Update

The logo update is one of our favorite design projects. It's the most engaging design-related work we can do. We get to create the visual representation of your company.

To make a powerful logo update, we take into consideration all of these factors.

  • Industry
  • Optimal representation of the company
  • Customer base
  • User Experience (UX) principles
  • Messaging
  • Today's wide range of displays and media types (everything from mobile phones, to t-shirts, to Instagram, to billboards)

With 2020 coming up fast, take stock of your branding. When was the last time your logo got an update? If it's been over 10 years (or you aren't sure), then it's time to consider an update. You might be surprised how much of a boost it can give your company.

 

Curious about a logo redesign or refinement?  Email us at sales@planetmagpie.com to talk business!