Facebook stirred attitudes at the end of June, updating the typeface of the iconic logo to make it more legible for mobile users. Considering the mass migration of users from desktop to mobile usage over the past several years, an update to the logo was definitely called for. While companies have many reasons why they decide to change logos, it is a change that can certainly polarize customers, so it is worth considering all pro and cons before you make a decision.
Here at Tier10, we made the decision to update our logo to better reflect our company. Our business strategy and creative product has evolved over the past year or so, from being a full-service advertising agency that specialized in automotive to being one that is hyper-focused on serving some of the nation’s largest automotive dealer associations.
Our Chief Creative Officer, Scott Rodgers, described his design process,
“I have created logos for companies for about 20 years now, back when I designed them with zero meaning, just so they looked cool. In the past few years however, I’ve started designing brand images just a little bit different. Smarter. More meaning. More of a science. But at the end of the day, something that truly reflects us as a brand.
For starters, we dropped ‘Marketing’. As we were going through our change, the word ‘marketing’ automatically put us in a ‘box’. Then, we spent months designing and creating our own font. Fonts are tough to create, but once you have a good one, it’s hard to beat. We now have our own full family of “Tier10” fonts. Then, it was time to design our brand mark or icon.
In this case, a circle fit our font perfectly. Once I figured out proportions, we were set. We wanted something confident, but not too confident. Something that reflected our mindset as we transformed into the Tier10 of today. I am a very visual person, so while I was working with the team to design out the “focused” Tier10, I began sketching. It took a few months, but I think we have something that reflects the personality of our company.”
Clearly, a lot of forethought and strategy goes into a logo update in addition to the design work. So, how do you know if changing your logo is the right decision for your company? You might want to ask yourself the following questions.
Are your main products and service offerings changing or expanding?
If there has been a fundamental shift in what your company offers to consumers, then there is a chance that your logo may no longer reflect what your business offers.
For instance, Starbucks removed the wording “Starbucks Coffee” from the iconic mermaid logo to reflect that they were no longer going to be offering just coffee. Along with expanding their café and bakery menu, they recently acquired tea emporium chain Teavana, and begun to open Starbucks Evenings locations with a small-plate menu and a wine and craft beer selection.
You might also want to consider that if you expanding your business geographically (i.e., adding new locations), then a change to reflect national vs. statewide vs. regional may be in order. However, if you are moving your business to a new location, a fresh logo might not be the best idea since you will likely lose business with the location change as it is. No need to further confuse customers.
Clearly, Facebook’s recent logo update took this factor into consideration. The old Facebook logo was difficult to read on a smartphone because the lack of spacing between the white letters made it look fuzzy. The new logo adjusted the kerning and font for legibility.
Does your logo just look dated?
Certain fonts, color combinations, and styles simply look outdated. You might want to change your logo to modernize the look if it reads as “dated” rather than “classic” or “timeless.”
Is your logo technically problematic?
Is it easily reproduced for all mediums, including print, digital, and wearable designs like T-shirts and caps? Think about Apple. The version of the Apple logo from the 70s and 80s was multicolored and difficult to reproduce if copied, but the solid, single-color Apple logo we have today no longer has those technical issues. Does your logo work as well reproduced in black and white as it does in color?
Is your business merging with, acquiring, or being acquired by other businesses?
For instance, if your dealership joins an association, changing the logo color or theme might help with creating cohesive branding across all dealerships in the association and stay in line with OEM branding. If the dominant partner or business in the merger or acquisition has a solid reputation, then all can benefit.
Large scale organizational changes in company ownership and management might mean that the outlook or offerings of the business are changing overall (including the names of certain holdings), which means a logo update could definitely be in store. However, it’s not recommended to update a logo just because a new executive wants to make their mark on the company, or they want to give the brand an updated look just for the heck of it.
Does your current logo communicate what you offer as a business and is it easily identifiable?
If yes, then don’t change it! You risk losing customer loyalty if you alter a logo that your customers already connect with and identify with your business. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Unless of course, you are fighting a serious PR battle with a damaged reputation.
Ultimately, a logo should represent your business’ outlook, mission and offerings and should be able to represent those things on all platforms. If your current logo already does, then there is no need for an update. If not, then consider… What do YOU represent?