When and How to Update Your Logo Successfully

Tara Hornor
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Updating a logo can be an intimidating task. A logo is the iconic image that the public associates with your company, so changing this figure can be almost devastating if not done in the right way or at the right time. So many businesses have made over their logo and received a barrage of criticism from customers. Yet there comes a time for almost any business when updating a logo cannot be ignored. The following are a few reasons why you may need to revamp your logo, followed by some tips for making sure your redesign improves rather than discredits your company image.

Signs You Need a Logo Update

Your logo is clearly dated – Maybe you used a color scheme that was trendy at the time but now shows your logo’s age. Or maybe the design itself connotes something completely different to the majority of the public today than it did in the past. Another reason for updating is a major shift in audience or marketing. For instance, your brand has gone global or your company needs to look more web-friendly.

Your logo is confusing- Some logos are bad from the get-go. If you find nearly everyone that you hand your business card to squinting in confusion when they see your logo, this is a sign that they don’t get the design. Or maybe you found out that your logo looks great in black and white but is unrecognizable in color, or vice versa. Complete a survey. If most customers cannot remember your logo, you should change your design.

Tips for a Successful Logo Makeover

If you decide that a makeover is inevitable, then take precautions to avoid a logo redesign disaster. Here are just a few tips to help guide you on your way to logo update success.

Do your research – Take some time to search online or in a local bookstore for logos, both redesigns and originals. With the logo redesigns, notice which ones worked and which didn’t. Examine what each company changed about the design: color, graphic, font. Look at logos from other companies within your industry. Do you notice any common themes or elements?

Define the reason for change – Whether your reason for change is that your target market has changed or your logo is outdated, spelling out your reason for a makeover gives you a clear vision. Keep this vision in front of you at all times of the design and you are much more likely to have an effective redesign.

Decide if you need to update or revamp completely – Make only the smallest changes possible. If you only need to update your logo, figure out what is old-fashioned or what no longer speaks to your current audience, and only change those elements. If you need a complete overhaul, proceed carefully and keep reading.

Determine important elements in your logo – Study every element in your logo: colors, font, graphic, style, layout, and more. What are the most important aspects of your logo that need to remain? Even if you will be completely revamping your logo, try to keep at least one element intact.

Create multiple redesigns and test – Finally, never release your new logo without testing. And do not settle for the first redesign you or your designer creates. Choose the best two or three with your colleagues, and then send these test logos out in a survey. See what responses come back and go from there. You may have to redesign more than once before getting the perfect logo update.

Has your business ever updated its logo? Was it a success? Any logo makeover tips you would like to share?

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  • http://www.athenaadvertising.co.za Deidre Tavares

    Great article, Im a designer and its hard to get a company that has designed their old logo to upgrade to a far better logo…love what you had to say, thanks

    • http://www.finalcutweb.com Rob

      I am in the same boat, companies that have designed their own logos are so emotionally attached to their logo that it is almost impossible to convince them to change.
      How about an article on the best way to get a company to agree to change their logo… that would be great…

      • https://plus.google.com/u/0/117883511520701899763?rel=author Tara Hornor

        Ha ha! I’m with you, Rob. I wish there was a magic formula for convincing companies to do a brand/logo upgrade. Not a bad idea on the article topic…look for one from me in the next week or so! :)

  • http://web3box.com Gheorghe Daniel

    Hello, this is a great post. I have read Jason Beaird’s book, “The Principles of Beautiful Web Design” and it was really inspiring for me, to start believing in my work. I have a few logo designs posted on my website. I hope that you can take a look and tell me if and what I’m doing wrong(http://www.web3box.com/images/stories/logo-examples-go4condo-eproducttree.png). You guys are absolutely awesome and have helped me a lot with my web design work here in Ohio. Thanks!

    • https://plus.google.com/u/0/117883511520701899763?rel=author Tara Hornor

      Your designs are actually very appealing…I love the clean lines and color schemes. The only drawback is that they may be a bit too complicated for today’s trends. Many logos are moving to a more minimalistic style; for instance, maybe create a house graphic without all of the windows. The tree logo is a bit more minimal but the angle of the “e” could almost be more slanted to the left. However, this is just my humble opinion. I think you have created stunning logos in these examples!

  • http://blogdict.net/ Alex

    Really good article, I think I need to refresh my logo :).

    Thanks for the post!

  • http://www.amsale.co.il/ Amsale Web Design

    Thanks for the post! Your observations about reasons for a logo change are worth discussing with a customer before an overhaul! We have had a number of customers who want a new logo, having received “advise” from “some friend”. In some cases the changes they require lead to a review of the web site’s entire design concept, which leads to additional costs, while a less drastic update would be more appropriate.

    • https://plus.google.com/u/0/117883511520701899763?rel=author Tara Hornor

      Yes, but unfortunately it can be quite difficult to convince the client of this! :)

  • http://www.logodesignlondon.co.uk Martin

    Agree with your post. Its a lot better to improve or refresh what you have without a lot of deviation and total overhaul of a logo you have been promoting for a while. Great post. Thanks

  • Jessica

    Although I do agree with your comment about testing a logo (see the Gap redesign disaster) I think it is a slippery slope. Sending things out for a “survey” sounds too much like designing by committee. That’s a dangerous endeavor and often ends up in poor design. Companies need to realize that they need expert help when designing logos (new or redesign) and they will get what they pay for. A graphic designer who knows what they are doing is going to get it right by gathering the most relevant information, asking the right questions and producing a few options (not too many) for the client to then select from and revise. It’s a process that takes time and effort to perfect. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

    • https://plus.google.com/u/0/117883511520701899763?rel=author Tara Hornor

      I agree…a great designer is key and, yes, testing the design can make for some bad suggestions. This is why feedback when testing needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Don’t look at maybe the nit-picky suggestions…see the overall general sentiment toward the new design is. If the feedback is strongly negative, then you can look more at the details of what is causing such a bad reaction among testers.

  • http://www.erikpelton.com Erik Pelton

    These are some good tips for changing a logo. I would like to add two important tips that are absent:
    – Have a message. What are you going to communicate to customers with your logo? Logo designs and brand names can convey many characteristcs, such as: trustworthy, fun, young, simple, conservative, bold, sexy, new, old, funny, fancy, rich, local, or corporate. Before you focus on designs, focus on the message you want that logo to send.
    – Protect it. Consult an attorney to learn about trademark registration for the logo design to ensure that you will be able to protect it and stop others from copying it.

    • https://plus.google.com/u/0/117883511520701899763?rel=author Tara Hornor

      Great points! Thanks for adding these. :)

  • http://www.aclearweb.co.uk Jan Cooper

    An interesting article – one of those jobs I keep putting off – thank you