Time for a logo redesign? Why and how to do it right.

A strong logo can have big impact on your business. Sometimes companies get it right the first time (think: Shell and Nike) and never have to consider a logo redesign. But more often than not, a logo has to be tweaked or adjusted to keep up with shifts and changes in your company (or the design world). This is especially true for businesses with longevity (which is not a bad problem to have)—the logo you created in 1974 is probably not going to speak to customers in 2017. And there are other legitimate reasons to pull your logo off the shelf and give it a solid once-over. When you do, you may discover that it is indeed time for a redesign.

statworx logo redesign
Statworx logo before and after redesign by trisya,.

A logo redesign may seem daunting and easy to de-prioritize, but making the commitment to breathe new life into something that’s worked for a while—maybe even a long while—can pay off significantly. But before you dismantle your existing logo, take some time to ensure that a redesign really is what’s needed. Asking 5 key questions will help you understand if you should stick with what you have or take a risk and try something new.

5 key questions to ask when considering a logo redesign

1. Has your business expanded or changed?

Domino’s logo: before and after
More than pizza, Domino’s updated its highly recognizable logo to reflect additions to its menu offerings.

Maybe you’ve recently added an entire line of new products or you’ve expanded your headquarters or added many new employees to your roster. If your business has expanded or changed in any way, it may be time to consider changing your logo, too.

2. Do you have new competition?

You were at the top of your game, the best in your industry and now, suddenly, you’ve got some serious competition. You can feel intimidated or you can stand up tall and fight for your place. A logo redesign can help by showing your existing customers that you’re modern and up-to-date and prospective customers that you are worthy of being considered.

3. Are you speaking to a new audience?

You have an established customer base that’s loyal and amazing, but you’re ready to speak to younger consumers as well. A logo redesign may be just what the branding doctor ordered. Play it right and your new logo will help you connect with a new audience and still maintain your customer base.

Brothers that just do Gutters old logo
The brothers were looking to update their dated logo to something more contemporary and original.
Brothers that just do Gutters redesigned logo
The brothers’ new logo is playful, modern and clear appealing to the older customers and younger ones, too. By Mijat12

4. Have your brand’s values or mission changed?

As your business grows, it may naturally evolve. If you are discovering that your company’s personality is different from when you first started, your logo should reflect these changes.

5. Is your logo dated?

It’s a simple and obvious question, but one that’s worth asking. If your logo was created in the 80s it may be time to enter the modern era. Not only is the aesthetic tired, but the design is probably not compatible with the myriad of technological devices that will be showcasing your logo—mobile devices, tablets and the like.

Mello & Tabib original logo design
Mello & Tabib, a cosmetic dentistry practice in NYC was looking to update its dated logo.
Mello & Tabib new logo
The new logo reflects the practice’s clean, modern aesthetic and approach. By dJAG0

Logo redesign vs. logo refresh: what’s right for you?

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If you’ve answered yes to one or more of the above questions, it may indeed be time for a logo redesign, but there’s more than one way to give your logo a necessary reboot. You can simply refresh your logo or give it the full redesign treatment.

Refreshing is a less dramatic approach. Think of it like a logo makeover that works with design elements that are already in place. During a logo refresh a designer will make small shifts to what’s already there by adding messaging, updating colors, or simplifying the entire look and feel. MasterCard’s 2016 logo update is the ultimate example of a successful refresh. The renowned credit card company retained its signature circles and colors, simply bringing its name into the future with modernized typography.

A logo redesign, on the other hand, is like dramatic plastic surgery. This approach can include new messaging, a new color scheme, even a new take on your company’s name (think Federal Express to FedEx). Before choosing a direction for your redesign it’s important to ask 3 (more) questions, namely:

1. What is it about my current logo that isn’t working?

(see 5 Key Questions to Ask When Considering a Logo Redesign, above)

2. What elements of the current logo need to stay?

You may be ready to give your logo a complete overhaul, but before you deconstruct it completely, consider the current design elements that are representing your organization effectively. This may be specific colors, a type style or a certain capitalization of your company name.

Grain: old logo
Grain, a food delivery service, wanted to maintain some elements of its design while adding a sense of positivity and adventure to its logo
Grain: new logo
Grain’s new logo is bright, playful and versatile. It looks equally vibrant and interesting when featured alone or when set against various backdrops. By trinitiff.

3. Does my current logo have a strong association with my customer base?

A major challenge with redesigning your logo is disrupting the visual connection that your customers have with your old logo. Take some time to understand how your customers are relating to your current logo and explore the possible consequences of a dramatic rebranding. Will your existing customers be confused? If so, is it a risk you’re comfortable taking as you work to build a new customer base?

Chevron: old logo
Chevron’s original logo was ready for an update
Chevron: new logo
Chevron wanted a more modern logo without losing the primary characteristics of its original logo

The logo redesign process

You’ve asked the key questions, done the necessary research and are ready to move forward with your logo redesign. Congrats! This is a big step for you and your company. Now, it’s time to get to work.

While most of the logo design process is going to be the same whether you’re on you first or fifth iteration of your logo, here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re specifically working on a redesign:

  • Try to avoid directly comparing your new logo options to your old as a measure of success. Instead, focus on how the new logo represents your brand or speaks to your customers.
  • Change can bring unexpected emotions—whether that’s excitement about something new or anxiety about changing too much. Be sure to sleep on any new logo designs before finalizing so you know you’re making a change for the right reasons.
  • Some elements of a logo redesign—going with a new color or completely different design style, for example—will require larger changes to your branding and marketing collateral (like new business cards, a new website, etc). If you’re not ready to overhaul everything, consider keeping some elements the same!

For more on what to avoid in your new design (and to see the 5 most common logo design mistakes), watch the video below. Whatever you do, don’t settle for a bad logo!


What to do with your brand new redesigned logo

You’ve got a shiny new, redesigned (or refreshed) logo. Now what?

To complete the journey from old logo to new, you’ll have to transition from where you once were to where you are today. This starts with deciding if you will phase in your new logo over a period of time or if you’ll rip off the bandaid and introduce your new logo on a set target date and celebrate the occasion with a formal announcement. Either way you will have to update your logo across all platforms and company materials (think: email signature, web masthead, Twitter handle, Facebook and LinkedIn pages, and so on). Refer to this handy checklist when starting the logo updating process and congrats on taking the chance on a fresh new logo!

Want to learn more about logo design? Check out our article on how to design a logo.

Ready to redesign your logo?
A logo design contest is a great way to get dozens of ideas from professional designers around the world.

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