Changing your logo design: what you need to know
The greatest logos in the world were either revamped from older logos or completely changed. Whether your old logo was designed unprofessionally or doesn’t fit with your business’ brand identity anymore, a logo redesign opens up new opportunities for a more flexible design, upgraded to the latest trends.
What to get out of your logo redesign
Will the logo work on different backgrounds? Is it memorable for my customers? Does it represent my business in the best way possible? If you haven’t gone through this checklist, you definitely need to consider it when changing your logo. Do it before moving along to designing business cards, stationery and other visual devices to be branded.
The first step is the hardest: let go of your old logo design. Your logo may have a nice design or a symbol that you like, but if it stands in the way of promoting your brand image, it’s bad for business. The first logo of a business is often not invested in with a design for long term use. Furthermore, as the identity of your business changes, so should the logo.
Ask your friends and customers for their opinion about the logo. Aim for specific feedback: Do they understand how it relates to your brand? Can they recall how the logo looks like without seeing it at the moment? What does that colour combination represent for them? Questions like these will give you hints on how strongly the logo is associated to your business and how true it stays to your brand. Here’s another interesting test: whenever you get the chance to talk to people who haven’t seen your logo and don’t know what your business is, ask for their first impression on the logo. Did they guess what the logo stands for? How long did it take them to scan your logo? And most importantly, would they buy from this brand?
The second step brings another challenge: you need to pick the best logo possible for your brand. Here are some things to look after.
Ready-to-use logo design
Go for a simple shape for your logo design. Semitransparent graphics and complex illustrations will make the web use of your logo difficult. Think of all the channels and mediums you will use to promote your brand and make sure your logo design is flexible enough to suit them all. The logo design is the most valuable asset of your brand identity, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore other identity elements. Think about how you will use your stationery and collateral identity, you might stumble on important ideas to consider for the logo design and overall brand identity.
Social media avatars and icons
The profile picture of your Facebook page will show only 160×160 pixels of the logo. Other social media avatars and app icons will be even smaller in size. This means your logo has to be simple enough to be easily recognizable when seen in this tiny square. As a rule of thumb, your logo should be visible when sized at about one square inch. If your logo design has intricate details, such as circular text, pictures or complex illustrations, you should think of simplifying it down to something with more potential to become iconic.
Otherwise appealing, the details of these intricate logos will not be visible at smaller sizes
Flexibility to use different colours
Always, always try out the logo (even the draft design) in different colours and on different backgrounds. This is important for two reasons. Firstly, this is how clients decide on the logo colours (most often). They compare logo variations with different colour combinations. Secondly, you need to test your logo on all background colours to know where it is going to work and where not. White backgrounds are everywhere, so this check is a prerequisite. As for other backgrounds, there are always a few that will not work. In that case, you can decide to use an outline for the logo or you can try a very creative solution that many brands choose today: branding in different colours. This means that you will use two or more variations of your logo in different colour combinations from the same colour palette. Most brands have a main logo design and a version with reversed colours.
Our logo in different colour variations
For our Design Delivery logo, we wanted to use all of the colours from our playful palette in order to fully express our brand identity. We’re pink on Facebook, blue on Twitter and eggplant-brown on Google Plus.
How much should I change my logo?
If your customers have been associating your logo with your business for a long time now, you might not want to completely change the brand identity. Unless you’ve had a serious PR problem and need to reinvent yourself on the market, in which case it is crucial that a new attitude is felt from the new brand identity.
Have a look at a logo redesign we did for a real estate broker in Munich. The company wanted to refresh their image yet keep their brand identity recognizable.
Old logo (above) and the new logo, redesigned.
While their logo was well known in the market, the design was outdated. The main graphic concept of this logo, the pyramid, was a powerful symbol, a symbol associated with the brand by customers and partners. So we kept the pyramid concept and reshaped it into a more slender graphic element. We switched to a more modern font and adjusted the colours to improve the readability of the logo and illustrate a more credible and mature brand. Find out how we approached this logo redesign in the case study.
What to change
Consider giving your logo only a face-lift if you want the logo concept to stay the same. A light upgrade to the colour scheme or a simplification of the graphics will refresh your brand identity while keeping an association with the old logo. It is essential to keep some graphic elements of the old logo, even if redesigned in a different style. The new logo should bear enough resemblance to the old one to be instantly recognizable by your customers.
When Gap changed their logo in 2010, thousands of customers backlashed and criticised it online. Gap wanted to give a fresh, contemporary look to its logo. The blue square was kept, yet the font was changed to Helvetica and the square did not contain the text anymore. The overall look and feel of the logo changed completely.
Within a couple of days, it was clear this logo was not a keeper, nobody liked it. Embarrassed, Gap had to change back to the beloved old logo.
Throughout its history of logo upgrades, Starbucks has kept the two-tailed mermaid graphic, simplifying the logo up to the contemporary version designed in 2011. Getting rid of the text in the logo and leaving only the mermaid graphic was a bold statement: the Starbucks brand image is now so powerful and recognizable by its customers that it does not need the name in the logo anymore. This move was also adopted by Shell and Nike. If your logo has an iconic symbol that your customers already associate with your brand, this type of logo change is a viable option.
Going in a different direction
If your logo is old and your business’ identity has changed, you might need something more than just to freshen up your logo. Your brand identity, including your logo, should help you to better communicate to your customers what your business has to offer.
A good example is the 2009 logo change of Meredith, an American media and marketing company. The old logo had black and white text, with heavy letters and outdated typography. Boring. The “leading media and marketing company serving American women” through multiple channels ought to show a livelier, more flexible and engaging brand image.
Meredith’s new logo, designed by Lippincott, features a clean, lowercase typeface and a graphic with four interlaced m’s in vibrant colours. The company’s ability to serve its customers through multiple channels is now well reflected by the interwoven flower-like graphic. The new identity is also highly flexible: its colours and interwoven style can be applied to brochures and other visual devices of the brand.
Logo redesign costs
The cost of logo redesign is as varied as design agencies are. However, it could be less than you expect. For example our logo redesign offers start at £55, and a full options package is less than £200.