Logos are a bit like a gallon of milk: They have a shelf life. The thing is, it’s not as easy to identify when your logo has gone sour, so to speak, as it is with the dairy in the fridge. But savvy companies know that keeping their logos fresh contributes to a better brand image and helps ensure that their marketing stays aligned with their company’s values. From time to time, a logo redesign may be just what you need to kick things up.
Consumers identify with logos, so much so that when Airbnb changed its logo from bubbly and blue to sleek pink, design critics drew irreverent parallels. And then there was that time that BP famously rebranded their logo to appear eco-friendlier, and critics found it a bit inauthentic following the company’s 4.9-billion-barrel mishap. The point is, your customers pay more attention to your logo than you might think, so keeping it relevant is a worthwhile expense.
1. It’s Old… Plain and Simple
There’s no one-size-fits-all method to logo design frequency, but if you’ve had the same logo since your company’s inception — in other words, if it stayed the same while the business evolved — that’s a good indicator that it’s time to get a revamp in motion. That’s not to say that a dramatic change is in order. On the contrary, it’s the most subtle, forward-thinking logo updates that often make the most sense.
2. It’s No Longer Relevant to Your Brand
When your brand pivots, so too should your visuals. Look at your logo as an adaptive, iterative element — in other words, give it the good, old-fashioned agile approach — rather than a static mainstay. If you’ve discovered that your target audience has evolved or shifted, or that your values as a company are different than they were when the logo was originally designed, it’s time to pull the logo pivot.
3. It Doesn’t Tell a Story
There’s a reason why FedEx and the World Wild Life Fund are almost always referenced in stories about compelling logos. Their logos take total advantage of the white space in order to create a double meaning and to say something more about the brand. These days, researchers put brand storytelling at the top of the marketing ladder, claiming that a solid brand narrative can drive more sales and engage more customers.
4. It’s Too Complex
Take a good look at some of the most famous logo evolutions in history — the Golden Arches, the Nike Swoosh, the Target target — and you’ll notice one trend above all else: They’ve all been seriously scaled back, with simplicity the primary design principle. The reason for this is two-fold. Companies now have to design logos that look good everywhere — from traditional shipping labels to computer screens and smartphones — but they also believe that simple logos are better for business.
5. It’s Plain Boring
Take a look at some popular logo designs of emerging startups and small businesses from the past year and you’ll see a clear trend: Designers are having more fun than ever before. They’re using unconventional shapes, next-level creativity and a little bit of humor to create logos that are anything but basic. At the end of the day, your logo should be instantly recognizable to your audience and should trigger some sort of emotion, so why not make it lighthearted?
6. It’s Not Contextual
This year, one of the hottest logo design trends is the contextual or responsive logo. These designs respond to their medium. For example, a craft brewery might create a logo for its beer bottle labels that are different from the one on its business cards or website. But the key to a good, responsive logo is to allow it to be self-aware — in other words, let the end environment guide it — and to ensure that it doesn’t vary too much from one medium to another.
7. It Uses Out-of-Date Fonts
Paying tribute to the history of your brand isn’t a bad idea, says the Morton Salt girl. Infusing a nod to the past may actually be a good way to go overall, so long as it’s done tastefully. Fonts are one of those ever-changing facets of the design world that’s nearly impossible to keep up with, so nothing dates a design faster than an old, tired font. On the other hand, updating your logo’s font may be all you need for a rapid refresh.
8. It Plays It Safe
Successful logo design in 2018 must strike a delicate balance between tastefully simple and instantly memorable. Tall order, we know. Logos that play it too safe are less likely to achieve the latter, which equals a majorly missed opportunity in the branding department. Implementing some out-of-the-box refreshers — this year, it’s all about experimental fonts, bright colors and pixelated designs — will help your logo stand out on a shelf or in the App Store.
9. It Feels Like a Fad
Paying attention to trends is really important, but you don’t want to go so far that your logo feels like it’s stuck in a certain era. Well-designed, up-to-date logos should be timeless. Last year, designers quickly jumped on the geometric bandwagon, and now any design that features a simple triangle or an arrow feels outdated and contrived. Try to keep all your logo design elements simple and fad-free to help extend their shelf life.
10. You’ve Got New Competition
When new competition emerges onto the scene, take it as a challenge to improve every element of your business so that it has an edge. If your market has grown exponentially since your logo was designed, and if new competitors are vying for the attention of your target market, then a logo redesign may be just what you need. It will help reignite the consumer’s attention while showing that your company is up-to-date and adaptive.
The bottom line is that a smart logo should be adaptable and ever-changing, and no good design should be stuck in a certain era or phase of your business. Occasionally, it makes sense to take a good, hard look at your logo to ensure that it still has the same power and wow-factor it once did. Keeping your logo fresh and up-to-date can equal big returns in the future.
Kurt started Blanco in 1996 after working in the label industry for more than 10 years. Kurt has experience with almost every known Pressure Sensitive Label application and is very involved in Production and Marketing at Blanco.