I’ve lead and lived a few logo changes in my career. There are times when it’s recommended, when a change is needed.
But first what is a logo?
A logo isn’t a brand. As Seth Godin puts it, your brand is a sum of all the actions you take, how you make your customers feel, how how you behave. A logo is a shadow you cast – it gives an indication as to what to expect. But that’s all it is: a shadow. A small dog can cast a very large shadow; that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a very small dog.
Also a logo isn’t overstated. A friend once said (I’m summarizing/synthesizing here) “if you have to say it, it probably isn’t true.” If you feel the need to say your the biggest, the strongest, the best, it’s probably because you aren’t. Let your customers bestow that status upon you, your shadow can’t.
A logo is a summary. If your logo is a shadow, an indication of things to come, then think of it as your summary. Use colors, font and imagery to say what you need to.
It isn’t a mask. Don’t lie. Again, there’s no use casting a shadow that doesn’t reflect what you offer. You’ll get unmasked faster than you think. Your brand always speaks louder than your logo.
So when should you update your logo?
When there’s a major change. When the company has ventured in a new direction, it’s time to cast a new shadow.
When there’s been a significant enough culture shift within the company. No matter what you wish, no one will ever care more or be impacted more by a new logo than your own staff. It might not always feel that way. But, often a logo change is a great way to to indicate a change to the team and move an organization forward.
When it’s outdated. Some logos were designed following trends of the time. You don’t want to be stuck in time. That’s especially true if you’re a trend brand. Notice how companies like Pepsi changes their logo more often than a company like GE. Pepsi can’t afford to look outdated.
When it’s time to change shadow you cast, when it’s time to project different expectations, it’s time to change your logo.
(Photo credit: Matt Bilton)