Do you remember Google's logo from the 1990s? Look at it, and memories will come back to your mind as images of young Shakira, the 42nd president of the United States, CDs in your pocket...
As time goes on, things change.
For a company or brand, it's wrong to keep its identity and logo the same forever. While some believe that changing a logo brings negative consequences, others confirm that maintaining the old look for too long can do more harm than good.
It's especially true for brands launched a while ago and businesses that crafted their logos based on design trends. Times change, and so do trends, techs, and consumer behavior: It may happen that your logo isn't as fresh, relevant, and credible as it was before.
Graphic design is an excellent time marker. Signs and symbols around us change much faster than architecture, clothes, or technology. We always have an intuitive sense of outdated design. The question is, what exactly makes it so?
Below are the five signs it's time tocreate cool logo for your business. Take a look at your current logo design and start raising the alarm if:
1) Its Fonts Are Obsolete
Fonts are the fastest to become obsolete, with few exceptions. This rule does not apply to classic and neutral fonts like, say, Helvetica that's been remaining appropriate for half a century already.
But brands rarely choose classic and neutral fonts for logos, trying to express their exclusivity with typography, and that is why their lettering often undergoes most changes during logo redesign.
Intentionally crude square fonts are obsolete now: They look heavy, clumsy, and as if they came somewhere from the 2000s.
Another outdated effect is the outline around letters. In most cases, it's the unnecessary element companies try to avoid in their logos.
Custom styles should stay relevant for a long time, so designers do their best to avoid heavy, extra decorative fonts when crafting them. The fancier the letters, the faster they become obsolete.
Yet, simple elements also require periodic replacement: Rounder, angular, wide, and elongated letters call the shots now.
2) It Has Excessive Details
The modern design strives for simplicity: The more concise your logo, the more functional it is to use in the mobile interface or desktop version, for printing on a three-meter banner or placing it on a pen.
So, many brands redesign their logos today to get rid of unnecessary elements and create a simple responsive design.
Logo simplifying is not a panacea, and elements-rich designs also have a place to be. However, concise logos look more relevant and modern, are easier to remember, and give brands more opportunities to display on different media and devices.
3) It Contains 3D Graphics
Three-dimensional graphics have been in design trends for a few years already, but it doesn't seem to swallow the logo sphere fully and immediately, which is a good sign.
Google's old logo volumetric letters are an effect most designers would call bad manners, and it's rarely used today. Rather, brands refuse to consider volume for logos, choosing 2D graphics instead.
3D logo design is somewhat about excessive details mentioned in the #2 sign. You’ll hardly need it, as it often complicates perception.
4) It's Too Color-Rich
Colors are a part of brand identity, and they can't become obsolete by themselves like fonts or forms, so you'll hardly need to change them when redesigning your logo. Red, yellow, blue, green, purple — all are beyond trends and time. The trick is to say no to joining all of them in one logo design.
As you might notice, companies with multicolored logos often abandon them in favor of a single dominant brand color.
And sometimes, it's a color combination that makes your logo obsolete. Once a successful color combo appears, many designers start using it in their works. As a result, we see the same-looking logos everywhere, which hurts brand identities and communication.
The fewer colors in your logo, the less is the threat of blending in with other businesses and losing your brand visibility and recognition.
5) It's Old-Fashioned
Logo design is not only about a form but also content. It may happen that your logo doesn't follow the temper of the time anymore.
For example, you may have an established customer base, but your brand is ready to speak to younger customers. In this case, logo redesign can help you connect with a new audience. Or, your business has expanded, you've added new products, and your logo doesn't cover it anymore:
It's what Domino's was guided by when updating its recognizable logo: Now, they are more than pizza, and their new logo reflects the addition to their menu.
Or, let's check the evolution of the Dunkin' Donuts logo. First, they had a standard coffee cup in it but later substituted it with a paper, to-go one. Life has changed, customers are more likely to take their coffee outside than sit in a cafe with it, and that's the format of Dunkin' Donuts now.
Well, their logo today has no cup at all, but that's another story, the one we told about logo simplifying and no excessive details.
Another example is the evolution of the Nestle logo:
There were three baby birds in the nest in the 19th century, but only two have been there since the 1980s. The legend says that it's because a modern European family doesn't have as many kids as it used to.
The bird’s disappearance could be just for better composition, but the story is still important. Sometimes everything is obvious: You don't drink coffee inside anymore, so you have to communicate about coffee-to-go. And sometimes your services don't change, but the messages do — so your logo should communicate those changes to the audience.
Logo Redesign vs. Logo Refresh
If your logo corresponds to at least one of the above signs, it may be time to redesign it. However, don't hurry up to change it inside out. Maybe, it will be enough to refresh it a bit.
Logo refresh is about slight updating of color palette, fonts, messaging, or simplifying the entire look. Think of it as a makeover: A designer makes small shifts to what's already there.
In its turn, logo redesign reminds a heavy plastic surgery: You take a new color scheme, new messaging, or even a new variation of your company's name (like Federal Express became FedEx).
Example: Animal Planet.
They wanted to represent their brand to the whole world and needed to translate it globally. So, colors, fonts, and familiar lettering have been replaced with a more simplified version, with an elephant to capture the brand's personality.
Before you decide whether to refresh or completely redesign your logo, answer the following questions:
- What's wrong with my current logo? Consider the five signs we've covered above.
- What elements of my logo do need to stay in a new version? Specific colors, capitalizations, or forms may communicate your brand's nature and serve as a recognition sign for the audience.
- Does my logo have a strong association with my customers? Your audience may have a strong visual connection with your old logo, so its complete redesign may appear dramatic and confuse them. Take some time to explore the possible consequences of logo redesign and understand if the game's worth the candle. Maybe, a slight logo refresh will be more appropriate.
Your logo's task is to communicate brand identity, attract your target audience, and give them a positive first impression of your business. Remember about it when refreshing or redesigning your current logo.
All brands redesign their logos from time to time. It's a common practice, especially for businesses launched a while ago or created their logos based on design trends. Times change, and so do trends and customer behaviors, making your current logo look outdated and not as credible as it was before.
In this article, we've covered the five signs that can help see if your logo needs redesign or refresh. But please take this process seriously:
Identify which of your logo elements are essential for your brand and which ones are okay to say goodbye. Begin the redesign process when you're 100% ready and sure the changes won't hurt your brand recognition, message, and customer base.
We highly recommend this course if you're interested in learning about logo redesign.