Why a logo redesign? Simply, things change. Times change. Fashion changes. Hopefully, your business has changed. Are things really the same now as they were when your business opened its doors? Doubtful, even if you have only been in business for a year or two. Think about it, twenty years ago you didn’t have email. Fifteen years ago, you had never heard of Google. Ten years ago, you probably did not know what a Blackberry was, and just five years ago, you probably thought YouTube was something for your plumber to worry about. Amazing how time flies!
Realistically, how often should a company change their logo? Depending on your business and market, possibly every 10 or 20 years. If your company makes a few poor decisions and your business model makes a complete 180, may be sooner rather than later might be a wise decision. Another question to ask yourself is, “How well is my logo known?” We all know the dated IBM logo. Why haven’t they changed? Well, because we all know what it looks like.
In case you forgot what it looked like…
Jay Conrad Levinson, author of the “Guerrilla Marketing” books, says you should plan on getting twenty years out of your logo. Look for the extended warranty (just kidding). A drastic change can wipe out your brand?s equity that took years and lots of money to build. Many times you can make small updates to a logo without jeopardizing the entire brand. Notice the evolution of the Design the Planet logo below. The logo started out representing a start-up, female freelance designer working out of her home. The first update shows a young company of a few employees making strides in the market and venturing outside of the home. The newest logo captures a company evolving into a larger corporate climate with a more refined business model and clear visions from the past and of the future.
With each update, Design the Planet keeps the brand intact and evolves the identity to match the current and near future of the company. Also, being a design and brand marketing company, Design the Planet should constantly strive to capture the mind share of its target market while maintaining a strong brand that “speaks” to that market.
A few notes to think about when considering an update or redesign of your company’s logo:
- Does the current identity match the business model? Your company’s products/services? The future of the company?
- What should the identity say about the company?
- Is the identity trendy or dated? What does the trend say about the company? Does this trend work?
- Is the logo a cliché? Are you a lawyer with the cliché scales or an IT professional with clipart of a computer on your business card? How does the company differentiate from others in the field and/or market? (Note: Conventional symbols are okay and can be tastefully added or freshened up without hitting your clients over the head with the symbol.)
Let’s look at an international brand that recently updated their logo. Earlier this year, Xerox released their new corporate identity. Xerox had not made a change in their identity since 1961, when they dropped the name “Habloid” from the logo. After nearly 50 years of usage, Xerox updated their well-recognized brand for what Richard Wergan, vice president of advertising, calls “a brand identity that reflects the Xerox of today.”
After years of market research, internal strategizing and client surveys, the new logo retains some of the elements of the original logo. The research showed that consumers associate the color red with Xerox and for their overseas markets, the red color represents good luck, prosperity and good will. (Something else to consider when thinking about redeveloping your company’s identity: what do other markets that you serve think about your identity? When your company started, did you think your market would include Japan or Germany or if you are only stateside, Boston and Denver?)
Xerox stated why they made the change, “We are a very different company today than we were when our current brand architecture was developed,” says Richard Wergan, director of worldwide brand at Xerox. “The new logo is meant to disrupt the mental model of Xerox as just a copier company.”
Like all updates, they are across the board whether you are an international company like Xerox or a slightly smaller company like Design the Planet. The new corporate logo is your face to your clients, vendors, competitors, and potential clients. The corporate makeover needs to extend to each facet of your company, including business cards, packaging, signage, vehicles, website, phonebook listing, down to your company’s invoices. It takes time to update everything and can take a lot of money. When updating your brand, make a list of what needs to be updated and a timeline with the highest priority items changing first (suggestion ? website & business card first). The last thing you want is to have a hodgepodge of logos from various updates. This array of identities gives the illusion that your company is disorganized and multiple brand identities in the public’s eye create competition with yourself.