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. To do this, our first question was: Alright! But, why do you think you need to do so?
The answer, apart from being vast and full of analyzable content, gave us a key but simple phrase for the future process: “we want to change it because it looks old”
So, we asked ourselves, why does the logo look old to this client? The font is bold Helvetica, how can it look old?
It turns out that our speaker was the owner’s son, who is taking over the family business after a tradition of 50 years. 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 it needs to convey that change.
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 re-design their logo for obvious reasons: the name changes and they represent something new. They need to find a way to incorporate new elements and brand values into their new image.
A well-known case is the “LAN” — “TAM” fusión. The new name represents both companies while keeping the origin clear in the new brand. Moreover, it refers to “Latin America”. LATAMis then the name that 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?
This year, the highest motor racing category, Formula 1 was handed over to new owners, whose vision of business and entertainment was clearly different from its predecessor’s. The handover was reason enough to prompt a complete change of the brand’s mythical logo, as well as of the desired brand image of this “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 has changed its printing process to a much more efficient one which, for technical characteristics, requires a logo simplification?
Wendy’s, apart from undergoing change and stylistic revamp, found itself obliged to simplify its Brand in order to work out in new supports, improving its legibility and functioning.
Reason 4: Update needed
This might seem to be a naïve reason; however it is a completely valid one. The feeling that I’m falling behind with my brand image is blatant, and I need to do something about it. Let’s consider Instagram’s controversial case.
At launch, Instagram gained strong penetration on Apple’s platform. In those days (2012) the platform had a design imprint called “skeumorphism”, to which all brands tried to adapt their design in order to target Apple’s 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, since its logo was associated with a completed period.
To keep in mind
We have listed here some of the factors that may trigger a logo change. It’s essential to understand that logo changes may be generated by one main reason, but there might be smaller reasons behind as well. For instance, when Instagram refreshed its image, it did not do so only because it looked old-fashioned and associated to an outdated visual style. Other factors influenced this change, such as competition, product change (Instagram’s famous Stories were introduced), being acquired 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 explain and give reasons for them to understand what has changed in us. In this way, they will be more open to change which, as we all know, is not always well received.
The key is to understand that changes in visual identity should always accompany changes in marketing strategies, and in this way, they mean much more than a shift in the company’s symbol.
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 possible clients.