Few things are more central to a brand’s identity than its logo. This small visual component does a tremendous amount of legwork in creating brand awareness, building a connection with consumers, and making your company recognizable in the marketplace. Because your logo is something consumers, clients, and customers will see nearly every time they encounter your company, it’s critical to get it right.
However, even the best logos rarely stand the test of time without being refreshed or redesigned at regular intervals. If the time has come for your company to breathe new life into a logo that’s grown stale, outdated, or even obsolete, we have some practical tips to consider before embarking on a redesign.
Outline the goals of the redesign
Every design project should begin with the establishment of goals. This is never more true than during a logo redesign project where the stakes are particularly high. After all, your brand logo will be seen everywhere your company is, and it will be with you for years to come.
Before jumping into the design phase of the project, take a step back to consider what you’re hoping the outcome will be. This doesn’t mean you need to know what the logo should look like, but you should be able to answer key questions like:
- Why does the logo need to be redesigned? For example: because it’s dated, the company is changing direction, it’s too complex, etc. The answer to this question will help determine the new directions you decide to take.
- What story do you want to tell about your brand? The most effective logos are designed strategically to conjure a specific emotion or idea, and your brand needs to develop a clear understanding of what that concept is before entering the design phase.
Understand where the logo needs to live
Digital technology has ushered in an entirely new landscape in terms of visual brand identity. A few decades ago a company’s logo may only ever have been seen in a handful of contexts (think brochures, print ads, billboards, and maybe television).
As device ownership has exploded in the past 10-15 years, company logos are increasingly called upon to work both in the tiniest of digital contexts and in large formats. An effective logo redesign must account for the variety of contexts in which the new logo will be seen.
And critically, the various places the logo lives has a major impact on the overall cost of executing the redesign. Replacing a logo on a website and in digital ads is easily done, but phasing in new visual identity on packaging and in stores, for example, will add time and expense to the rollout of a new logo.
Decide what to keep
Sometimes the most difficult part of a logo redesign is deciding what to keep and what to let go of. The answer is almost never easy and will depend in large part on what your company’s goals are.
For example, a company looking to modernize their current logo while paying tribute to a strong brand heritage may opt to refresh the look of the logo but maintain key shapes, mascots, or graphics. A company looking to make a turn away from their past, on the other hand, may choose to keep very little of the existing logo intact.
Know how bold you can afford to be
It’s certainly true that a bold, splashy logo redesign can earn your company attention and signal a move in a new direction. But drastic changes can, in some cases, be confusing or off-putting to consumers. If the new logo design is radically different from the old one, consumers may be less able to recognize and identify your brand among competitors. This is a major concern particularly for brands in the CPG space where the ability of a consumer to identify a product on a shelf is of the utmost importance.
When it comes time for a redesign, consider how changes to the company logo may impact the consumer. It’s important to make a level-headed assessment of how bold your company can afford to be before making any major alterations.
Logo design is deeply personal and unique to every brand. This means that the redesign process can be fraught with difficult decisions and differing opinions among key stakeholders. Beginning the project by outlining a set of specific goals for the project, and taking the time to consider how much of the logo’s heritage to carry forward and how much to let go, will make for a smoother redesign process and help guarantee the best possible result: a logo your company -- and customers -- will love for years to come.