Tips & Tricks

Redesign your logo, or stick with the old one?

Posted by Colin Higton

It’s a question that can really polarise a company.

On the one hand you have the people who want to make a fresh start – show the world that your organisation is moving on and ready to tackle the future. Throw out all that old baggage that is holding the organisation back, and put on a dynamic new face…

On the other hand you have the people who are proud of everything the organisation has achieved, and don’t want to throw away the value of the identity that brought them here. People who are certain that customers recognise a ‘familiar face’ and value the reliability and pedigree that only comes with experience…

Who’s right?

So who’s right? The old stick in the muds who are set in their ways, or the young upstarts who place no value on tradition?

Of course there’s no simple right or wrong answer. Both arguments have virtues, but it’s worth remembering that you don’t have to make an either/or choice.

With a good design studio, you can find a third, fourth or even a fifth way…

5 ways to approach your identity

1. The first way is Do Nothing.

You keep the logo/identity exactly as it is, keep applying it without changing anything and preserve your heritage.

This can be a tempting option. You (or somebody) probably did things that way for good reasons, and like the clothes you wear it is familiar and comfortable.

It’s a fair argument – but at the risk of showing my age, just make sure you’re not the person still wearing flared trousers and platform shoes when everyone else has moved on!

2. Refresh the application of your logo

If you don’t want (or aren’t able) to change your logo, you can still get a fresh new look just by changing the way you apply it.

If it’s always been used against a white background – think about reversing it out of one of your corporate colours – or even photographs. If the logo is usually centred, think about moving it to the left or right – try using blocks of your colours to align it with – or even shapes.

There are lots of things you can do that won’t actually change the logo, but will make people notice that your presentation has changed.

3. Give your logo a makeover

If that still doesn’t give you enough, why not take your logo and refresh things a bit?

Try brightening up the colours (or if you think they are already too bright, take them down a bit), update the typeface with something more modern – or something more classic. Try swapping the colours round, or introducing another accent colour to offset your existing colours.

4. Evolve your logo

Still want more? Why not evolve your logo?

Take a look at what the logo represents – what is it that people see when they see your identity? If you aren’t clear, ask people. Remember the people in your organisation are most familiar with it and how they see it will be a good gauge – but also ask friends and customers.

Once you know what the logo means to people, you can take that idea and create a new interpretation of it. If your old logo is a castle for example – create a new castle in a more modern style, or take the concept and instead of showing a whole castle, just show a tower with a banner flying from it.

Done well, this approach can give you all the impact and dynamism of a brand new logo – but also gives you a great opportunity to talk to your clients and colleagues. You can tell them how the new logo reflects all the achievements of the past (a great opportunity to make sure they know what they are) but also reflect the way the business is changing and your plans for the future (and again, a chance to outline exactly what that means).

5. Go for the revolution

The last option is to go for a revolution. Come up with a completely new logo that gives the company a brand new face, and shows everyone how the company is rediscovering itself and grabbing the future.

Make sure you seize the opportunity…

Whichever option you choose, there are some great opportunities to tell customers why you’ve taken that approach – and also to get your internal audiences onboard with the direction the company is going.

If you haven’t already, find yourself a good design studio and talk to them. They should be able to give you a range of design concepts that cover 2 or even 3 of those options.

You may not think there’s much appetite for change in your team – but in my experience, once people see what can be achieved, they are often more adventurous than you might think.

Oh, and if you need a good design studio – just drop me a line!


Image courtesy Steve Baker

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