It’s almost impossible to overstate the importance of a logo. Logos are such a vital component of your brand that they are interwoven with the marketability, memorability, and overall success of your company identity.
Since they’re so important, it makes sense that they need a little extra attention every now and then. After all, like any aspect of branding and business identity, things can change over time. Trends come and go. Company mission statements alter. Long-term goals and a change of hands can set your company off on a new path.
Before you jump on the swirl of revolution, make sure to grab your logo with you!
Here are ten giveaways that your logo is due for a facelift:
1. Your Logo Is On-Trend — For Twenty Years Ago!
Put simply, this is another way of saying “your logo is outdated.”
What does an outdated logo look like? Or what makes a logo look outdated?
This isn’t a case of a trendy vintage logo, which is a legitimate design choice. This is a case of a logo design looking so neglected and well-worn that it might as well have dust on it. What was trendy ten or twenty years ago may not play well with a modern startup.
For example, would eBay’s original design, as seen below, have fit in with today’s aesthetics? I guess, no.
Or, as another example, there’s Capital One’s logo, which featured a swoosh — that would have been on the cutting edge of trend more than ten years ago, but not so much now.
There’s a reason why successful companies invest in branding and give their logos an upgrade. It realigns the logo with the company’s mission statement, ensures that it fits the company’s personality, and keeps the design look fresh and new.
This is especially important to take into account if you’re undergoing a re-brand.
2. Your Logo Doesn’t Fit Your Brand or Re-Brand
Your logo is an ambassador for your brand. It’s generally the first encounter that any client will have with you, and it says a lot about who you are and what you offer.
If the projected “personality” of your brand is a suave, professional company, then you probably don’t want a logo with a cutesy hand-drawn picture of a daisy and your company name in Comic Sans. (Nobody wants that!)
Comic Sans is not always the problem though.
At times, the rebrand backfires too! The Verizon acquired Yahoo, one of the pioneers of early internet age, and merged it with AOL brands to form a new subsidiary— Oath.
After bearing the rants on this rebranding attempt for one and a half year, Verizon rectified the mistake and rebranded its media group as Verizon Media Group. It makes far more sense than Oath and everybody is heaving a sigh of relief!
The vital point of choosing a logo that fits your brand is to enable connectivity with the viewer. If they’re expecting a professional, slightly more distant customer experience, but the logo presents your company as being completely opposite to that, it makes it much harder for your potential client to link logo and company together.
Ultimately, it’s really all about your message!
3. Your Logo Doesn’t Communicate Your Message
Lack of communication is a problem for any company, and communication needs to happen on every level, across all touchpoints.
Your logo is often your first interaction with customers.
Many brands follow logo design trends religiously, and this does no harm unless your logo is something extremely irrelevant to what your offer. Sometimes, businesses upgrade their service leaving their logo a misfit.
Conservation International (CI), for example, had a logo reflecting nature (tropical forest and wildlife). The logo was relevant when the brand’s mission was limited to protecting the species and hindering habitat destruction in the tropical region. Soon after the brand upgraded its mission (i-e., sustainably manage and conserve all of nature’s wealth), the old logo could not do much justice and CI went for a logo revamp.
All in all, your logo should send a message to the viewer; who you are, what you offer, why they should choose your services over others. Every point of contact is an opportunity to sell yourself.
If your logo doesn’t present the right message or doesn’t even speak at all, that opportunity is lost. That can be seen directly or indirectly, such as with font choice, color choice, and other logo elements.
4. Your Logo Font Is Hard To Read
It’s possible of course that you don’t have a font choice for your logo, simply because it’s just a graphic.
But many logos are wordmarks, lettermarks, and combination marks that include typeface of some kind.
And if that typeface is difficult to decipher, vague enough that it can be multiple letters or words, or just straight up impossible to read, then it isn’t doing your logo any services. Make sure you follow the principles of letter logo design to create a perfect word art for your brand.
J.C. Penney’s last logo design was a good example of that. The font was easy to read, but the way in which it was presented, with “jcp” in a color block and “enney” off on its own, meant that it took a moment to figure out what exactly you were meant to read in that logo.
Get feedback on your existing logo and find out how easy it is to read. Simply because you can read it doesn’t mean that it’s easy for others; after all, you know exactly what it says.
If it takes longer than it should figure out what your logo says, choose a more user-friendly font. Time is of the essence when it comes to presenting logos.
5. Your Logo Colors Aren’t Effective
Another way of communicating messages via a logo is through the color choice.
Now, there are all sorts of research and information done on the effectiveness of color psychology, especially when it comes to graphic design. Certain colors tend to trigger certain moods.
Blue tends to be calming, soothing, and communicate trustworthiness.
Red is enlivening, a call to action, which is why you see so many red logos in the food and drink industry.
This can lead to a juxtaposition of brand tone and personality with what the logo is presenting. For instance, if you have a massage therapy business, it’s unlikely that a fire-truck red logo will effectively communicate calm and relaxation to your potential clients.
6. Your Logo Shape Is Awkward
The shapes involved in your logos can also be a problem.
Here we are talking about the external shape, or the overall shape of the logo itself, as well as the internal shapes, such as to graphics and color blocks within the logo.
Overall, the basic shape of your logo can be changed to fit your brand personality and make your logo memorable similar to popular brand icons such as Nike swoosh, Shell’s crown and Target’s Bulls-eye. Circles, for instance, feature in twenty percent of the most admired brands in the world and are typically seen as more welcoming than logos that have sharp edges, such as triangles and squares.
Triangles, as another example, are often used to communicate a feeling of motion and movement, creating momentum for a logo.
Airbnb is an example of a company who reached for a shape to give their logo the appropriate feel; and, well, the jury is still out on their redesign, with many raised eyebrows.
Certain shapes can also constrain a logo unduly, making it feel crowded and not user-friendly.
Take a good look at your logo. Do the shapes involved, both internal and external, fit the overall mood and tone that you want to present? Does the shape make it easy to focus on the point of the logo?
If not, it might be time for an upgrade.
7. Your Logo Doesn’t Scale Well
Logos need versatility. They’re going to be going a lot of places and reaching a lot of potential customers.
They’re also going to need to be able to change size, shape, and sometimes color.
Can your logo be stripped down to its most basic elements? Can the size of it be expanded or shrunk without losing its readability? Does it show well in black and white or in a single color?
If the answer to any of these is “No,” then guess what it might be time for…
8. Your Logo Isn’t Memorable
The entire point of a logo is to make a connection between your brand and your potential clients, so they will be moved to seek out a further relationship with you.
This can be easier said than done if your logo is flat, boring, prosaic, and unmemorable.
This doesn’t mean that the logo needs to be complex. After all, simplicity is valuable in a logo (see the next point for further details).
But your logo does need to do something. Even a simple wordmark or lettermark should include font, color, and spacing choices that make it stand out from the crowd.
If your logo truly is prosaic and uninspired, you owe it to yourself and to your brand to look at an upgrade.
9. Your Logo Is Too Complicated
On the flip side of that coin, your logo might be so complicated that it prevents your clients from processing the important information contained therein, i.e., who exactly the logo belongs to.
This definitely happens, where a viewer is so engrossed in the graphic design, for instance, that they view it simply as a work of art, rather than something representative of a business concern.
It’s almost always better to take elements away from a design rather than add to it. This too can contribute to the memorability of your logo, and help it stand out from others that might be similar.
Which leads us to our last point.
10. Your Logo Looks Too Close To Another Logo
This is a very common problem, and that is probably because of the prevalence of certain logo trends, such as design elements, fonts, and color choices. This is especially a problem within a given market.
Take a look at these logos for Gucci and Chanel, for example, and tell me you wouldn’t get them mixed up if you weren’t paying close attention.
You should consider changing or updating your logo if there’s a good chance that it will be mistaken for another company logo in your area, especially if your logo is a look-alike of another brand in your market.
This doesn’t always mean a complete re-brand. It could simply be a matter of making a few tweaks to the design, such as changing the color or font.
Whatever you choose, make sure that your logo makes your business stand out from the crowd. Trendy is one thing; jumping on the bandwagon and becoming indistinguishable from everyone else is quite another.
What To Do About It?
Altering your logo doesn’t always require that you undergo a complete re-brand — but if your logo or your brand as a whole hasn’t been updated for some time, it isn’t a bad idea, either.
Often, successful businesses retain at least some elements of their original logo design in order to avoid alienating their current customers.
It also helps to tie the new design to the old one in the public consciousness, so you don’t have to start from scratch in building the reputation of your business.
So take a good hard look at your logo. If any of the points from above are present and indicate that it’s time for a chance, diagnose exactly what the problem is, and figure out what essential elements must remain in the new logo design. Make sure you have the right reasons to rebrand your logo.
It’s easy to get attached to a logo; after all, we use them to build up our entire businesses and set the tone and personality for who we are. But, eventually, there always comes the right moment to make a change. With proper attention to your logo and its update, it’ll be right change for the success of your company.