When should you consider a logo update?
It’s back-to-school time for my kids, which means it’s back-to-school shopping time. Which means: I have spent more than one afternoon in dressing rooms and playing personal shopper. It’s interesting to see the changes in my kiddos’ style from year-to-year. My oldest is at the age where she is VERY opinionated about what she wears and has a specific look for which she is meticulously searching. My youngest is just realizing he can have an opinion and he doesn’t have to wear what Mom picks out.
My kids don’t have a logo that represents them, but they have started to understand they can represent who they are through their clothes. Their style changes to keep pace with the way they want the world to see them. They rebrand themselves, if you will. My son has moved past Thomas the Train shirts to Minecraft everything. My daughter no longer searches out all things Rainbow Dash and instead wants band T-shirts (which makes my music-loving heart smile).
Just as my kids try to speak to their audience with their style, organizations do the same through their logo.
Your logo is the visual representation of your organization. It should establish trust, credibility and help your audience remember you.
When should an organization consider a refresh or rebrand? Probably not as often as my kids change their taste in clothes. But adapting one’s logo to keep pace with its natural growth makes sense. Let’s look at this and a few other reasons that may help in decision-making:
Your logo does not align with your organization’s position in the market.
A thriving organization is one that organically adapts to the shifting environment around it. This may mean tackling goals in different ways, adopting new services or expanding the organization’s mission. Just as your organization sets strategic plans and goals that adapt, your logo should be reviewed and (possibly) updated to maintain relevance. However, there is value in building brand recognition through the use of a consistent logo mark over a long period of time. This is why you often see Fortune 500 companies refresh their brands. They choose not to ditch all the brand recognition they have spent millions of dollars gaining. Instead, they opt to refine the logo that is established.
Your logo no longer visually represents the organization’s brand.
A logo creates an immediate first impression for your organization. Within seconds of seeing it, people begin to develop their personal perception. That first impression is difficult to change. Your logo is not your organization’s entire brand, but it is an important piece. The first impression you make should establish your organization’s relevancy.
To continue my school shopping metaphor: If my soccer-loving daughter shows up to practice wearing the ballet slippers she wore when exploring ballet years ago, her teammates would immediately write-off her skill level. They would have little trust that she is the awesome midfielder she claims to be. Her attire and gear give her no credibility. This is the same type of first impression your logo makes to people who don’t know your company.
Your logo design looks dated or is too complicated.
Design trends shift and detailed logos that may have worked at one point may need to be adapted to current marketing tactics. Designers did not consider how logos work on social media platforms or responsive websites 15, 20 or 30 years ago because, of course, they did not exist. Designers working on brands today cannot guess what technology will do to the marketing space in another 20 years.
The same way a rotary phone would look out of place being used in a modern office, a dated logo can equally look out of place when placed on other current marketing efforts. This visual conflict can cause confusion and weaken the organization’s marketing efforts.
So, when is it time for the new logo?
There isn’t a definitive answer. As a designer, you may expect me to say, “NOW. Contact us here!” But it isn’t that black-and-white. Pull together the most trusted leaders in your organization, maybe even include your board of directors, and ask these questions:
- Does our logo align with our organization’s strategic plan? Is there a shift in focus, services or mergers that may change what should be represented in the logo?
- Does our logo represent us as professional, trustworthy, (add in whatever words align with our organization mission/vision)?
- Does our logo look as though it belongs on our marketing materials and does it work in digital marketing?
- Does our logo make us proud?
Sometimes these questions are difficult to answer objectively from within an organization. It can be like when I asked my grandma if she thinks her sweet tea is too sweet. The answer is always some form of, “My sweet tea has always been just fine the way it is. Thank you very much.” Don’t let knee-jerk answers deter your organization from asking the tough questions. Your brand and your bottom line will thank you.
// Jessi Robinson, Founder P&P
We help organizations answer these tough questions objectively through the P&P Brand Audit. If your organization is at a crossroads and is having trouble deciding whether or not a logo redesign is the correct next step we would love to help. Want to learn more about the process? Send us an email.