A few days ago, a family business which has been in business for over 50 years made us a clear request — we need to redesign our logo. Our first question was then, Alright! But, why do you think you need to do so?
The answer, besides being very thorough with many key points to follow, provided us with a guiding phrase for the redesign: “we want to change it because it looks old”.
So, we asked ourselves, why does the logo look old to the client? The font is bold Helvetica, how can it look old?
It turns out that our main point of contact was the owner’s son, who was taking over the family business after 50 years of tradition. What this person was actually telling us was that the business was undergoing a major internal change — a new generation is coming to take over the business, to improve it, and the logo needs to convey that.
This reason, internal modification in the company’s structure, is just one of the many reasons why an organization might need to change its logo.
So, what other reasons might generate a logo change in an organization?
Let’s briefly consider some specific examples of what reasons or situations may trigger a company’s change of its logo.
Reason 1: Merger or acquisition
When companies merge or are bought by other companies, they need to redesign their logo for obvious reasons — both their name and what they represent changes. They need to find a way to incorporate new elements and brand values into their image.
A well-known case is the “LAN”&“TAM” merger. The new name represents both companies while keeping the origin clear in the new brand. Moreover, since it refers to “Latin America”. LATAM appropriately illustrates this fusion, requiring the generation of a new logo.
Reason 2: Change in the business model
What happens if my guitar-selling business becomes a recording company? Do I need a new brand name? Do I want to maintain some of its original values and recognition and transfer them to the new one? Or should I start from scratch and discard all the values attached to the previous one?
In 2018, the most prominent motor racing category, Formula 1, was handed over to new owners, whose vision of business and entertainment differed from its predecessor’s. The handover was reason enough to prompt a complete change of the brand’s mythical logo, as well as a redesign of the brand image of the “new” Formula 1.
Reason 3: Technical problems
What happens if my logo’s reduction is not working properly with my new product line? What if our packaging or printing process has changed to become more efficient, requiring a logo simplification due to technical limitations?
Wendy’s, apart from undergoing a general image change and stylistic revamp, found itself obliged to simplify its logo to improve its legibility and functioning in reduced-size applications.
Reason 4: Update needed
This might seem to be a naïve reason, though it is a completely valid one. The feeling of falling behind by keeping the same brand image is a strong one, resulting in the desire to change it. Let’s consider Instagram’s controversial case.
At launch in 2012, Instagram gained strong penetration on Apple’s platform. In those days, the platform leveraged a design methodology referred to as “skeuomorphism”, in which all brands tried to adapt their design to mimic that of Apple to captivate its users. When Instagram expanded its scope to other platforms, and this graphic style started to fall out of fashion, the brand began to look outdated.
Keep in mind
We have listed some of the main factors that may trigger a logo change. Though, it’s essential to understand that logo changes may be the result of one or a combination of these reasons, with smaller reasons contributing to it as well. When Instagram refreshed its image, for example, there were a variety of reasons contributing to the decision besides the outdated visual style, including: competition, product change (Instagram’s famous Stories were introduced), the acquisition by Facebook, and its gradual expansion towards a massive audience.
It is also important to understand that all changes should be communicated to the audience in an intelligent way. We should provide them with an explanation so that they can understand what has changed in us. This way, they can be more open to the change, which, as we all know, is not always well received.
The key is that changes in visual identity should always accompany changes in marketing strategies, which is why they mean much more than a shift in the company’s logo.
If this article interested you, do not miss this one, where we deal with the channels through which a brand is perceived and how this shapes the perception of the company in the minds of consumers.