When is the right time to redesign a logo?

When was the last time you thought about your logo? If you can’t remember, it may be time to consider a logo redesign.

The process of updating your brand’s visual identity is one that many companies undergo every few years, whether it’s to keep up with the times, fit into a digital world, or to signal larger changes company-wide. In this article, you’ll learn when it may be time to redesign your logo, how to go about doing so, and some famous examples from which you can draw creative inspiration.

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There are several reasons why you may think it’s time to redesign your company’s logo:

  • Outdated design. You may want to redesign your logo simply because it’s been a few years and your current logo looks tired or a little out of date. While there’s no precise expiration date on a logo, if it’s been several years since you’ve even thought about redesigning your logo, that may be a sign to consider it.
  • Your competitors are starting to look better. Keeping up with the competition is just as important as building a brand yourself. If you are seeing a change in how your competitors present themselves, it may be time for you to do the same. Even if you haven’t considered a redesign, seeing your competitors change means that there’s momentum driving that change. 
  • A change in leadership. Oftentimes, a brand may seek out a redesign when there’s a major change in their leadership. This could be when a longtime chairperson or CEO steps down, or it could be a deliberate move to replace leadership that had a bad reputation with someone new. Some brands will physically represent the new era of the company in their logo design in response to this staffing change. 
  • Evolving audience. When you first started your business, your target audience may have looked completely different than what it turned out to be. Did your logo change to keep up with that new audience? If not, it may be time to consider pursuing a logo redesign.
  • A big change to your business. Whether that’s a merger with another company, acquisition of a competitor, or the introduction of a brand new division, product, or service, these are all seismic shifts in how your business represents itself in the marketplace. Signal the “new you” to your clients and competitors alike with a logo redesign that best represents your newly modified mission and vision.
  • The logo was not done properly in the first place. You may not have developed your logo properly at the beginning, which is causing you issues now as your logo needs to be placed on more print and digital platforms. A logo redesign gives you the opportunity to create the logo correctly the first time, including the right file types and sizes for different platforms.
  • Improving your reputation. If a business has a public relations crisis that requires significant work to clean up, a rebrand may be suggested to signal the “new era” the business is entering. The physical change can be a marker that the drama is being left in the past and that the business has successfully moved on from the issues that once plagued it.

What should — and shouldn’t — change during a logo redesign?

  • Consider the equity your brand has built. You’ve done a lot of hard work building up a customer base that knows your company and trusts your products and services. That brand equity simply cannot be bought — it’s only built up through time and trust. As a result, you may not want to rock the boat too much while redesigning your logo: A smaller “facelift” to more vibrant colors or a different typeface may be the right move for your brand.
  • Consider the emotional relationship customers have with your brand. Customers know that a particular typeface, color, shape, or emblem is representative of your company. Over time, those elements have come to stand for your brand, and your customers know to look for them as markers of quality, customer service, and convenience, among other brand values. Maintaining that strong emotional bond with your customers is foundational to the success of a redesign, so keep that in mind as you select what to keep, what gets a facelift, and what goes altogether.
  • Consider the most recognizable elements of your logo. The Twitter bird. The Mailchimp monkey. The KFC Colonel. These brand marks and mascots are strongly associated with Twitter, Mailchimp, and Kentucky Fried Chicken respectively. You’ll notice that these brands never completely scrapped these elements, even as other aspects of their logos were refreshed or redesigned. Brands risk alienating customers by giving up beloved, familiar elements of their logos, so think carefully about which logo components are most closely associated with your company.

Photo by Khadeeja Yasser on Unsplash

Tips for navigating the redesign process

Undergoing a redesign requires carefully assessing every element of your logo to determine what gets tweaked, what completely goes, and what stays unchanged. These steps in the logo redesign process can help you prioritize these changes and make big decisions about these seemingly small adjustments.

  • Assess what needs to change. This question may be more obvious in some cases than others. Are there fully outdated elements that need to go? What about the typeface: Does it look more like a disco revival than a 21st century, forward-thinking enterprise? Determining what precisely you want to change most can greatly simplify your process.
  • Assess why that element needs to change. The “why” behind a logo redesign is what will shape the changes to your logo. For example, if you’re hoping to build trust with your customers, you may want to focus your redesign on using blue, which indicates security.
  • Think of ways to stand out. Part of your logo redesign process should involve taking a look at your competitors and seeing what they’re up to, if you haven’t done so already. While certain recurring themes, such as a particular color or shape, maybe a sign to you to do something similar, think of ways that you can stand apart.
    That could be the type of logo you pursue: For example, maybe your competitors don’t have mascots, and that’s something that could help you build brand differentiation and emotional connection between your company and customers.
  • Make a few versions. Visualizing your potential redesigned logo and seeing it live are two very different things. You can use the Namecheap Logo Maker to generate several similar redesigned logos, try out different typefaces, shapes, symbols, and colors, and find something that speaks to your vision. Once in front of you, it will be much easier to see what’s working and which elements may need to go back to the drawing board.
  • Test it out. Involve trusted business partners, employees, and mentors to review your proposed redesign. They may see something you don’t, or they may rally behind an element you were on the fence about. This feedback ensures that other perspectives are brought into this important process to help ensure that your efforts are a success.
  • Avoid comparing your old logo to your new one. The whole point of your logo redesign is to bring new life to old elements of your logo. If you compare your old logo to your redesigned one, you may inadvertently hold yourself back from moving forward with this refreshed new look.

Logo refresh vs. rebrand: What’s the difference?

In addition to redesigning your logo, there are two other main ways to make changes to your brand’s visual identity: a logo refresh and a rebrand. In short, a logo refresh focuses on a renewed look and feel to your logo, while a rebrand strips your brand visuals back down to basics, even revisiting your brand’s mission and vision, to create something entirely new.

A logo refresh will retain similar visual elements while giving them a fresh new look. This may involve updating the font, adding some refinement to logo shapes, or replacing a certain color with a similar one. The result will look similar to your current logo, but more appropriate for the current times. It’s more common for a brand to pursue a refresh before they pursue a rebrand.

A rebrand touches on every element of your brand identity, not just your logo, and makes some significant, drastic changes. All visual elements tied to your brand will be affected by a rebrand. Core mission, vision, values, and overall branding and marketing strategies will be addressed in a rebrand as well. The result will look drastically different from your current brand identity, including your logo.

Create your own logo

Successful logo redesign examples to draw inspiration from

A successful logo redesign serves as a great case study for your business. What did these companies do right that you can emulate in your redesign? These examples can help you see precisely how a successful logo redesign is done. To learn more about logo evolutions, check out Namecheap’s guide on what you can learn from famous logo evolutions.

Burger King

The fast food joint delivered a fresh new look in early 2021 to further enforce the brand’s commitment to quality food, taste, and even healthy choices. Embracing a retro-inspired design (which is super trendy in 2021), Burger King made great use of color to inspire thoughts of condiments, fresh veggies, and of course, beef.

To move in this new direction, Burger King dropped the blue swish in its old logo, which implied an artificial element that the brand wanted to move away from. They also wanted to appeal to an audience that spends more time online than ever, so they made practical changes to the logo and other design elements so they can be used successfully on social media and websites.

Photo by Ismail Hadine on Unsplash

Google

The internet powerhouse has kept a core element of its logo, the word Google, intact throughout multiple logo redesigns. Holding on to this wordmark helped the brand retain the trust it has built between end users and its productivity products — particularly its search engine. The most recent iteration of the Google logo is no stranger to this core concept, keeping the Google name while utilizing its unusual order of colors in multiple aspects, which is a deliberate nod to Google’s disruption of the tech industry and the world at large. It’s a great illustration of retaining brand values while keeping up with the rapid pace of the 21st century.

Photo by Shiwa ID on Unsplash

MasterCard

The credit card company successfully moved to a simplified combination mark without giving up its core elements. The new logo retains the overlapping circles but moves the wordmark underneath and scraps the overlapping lines in the center. Retaining these core essentials was, well, essential for a brand that has built the trust of its customers over decades of work in dealing with their sensitive financial information. In this case, the colors were kept the same and the general shapes were retained, but elements throughout, such as the typeface and the location of the wordmark, were updated to better reflect a changing world.

Photo by Paul Felberbauer on Unsplash

Examples of logo redesigns that were not successful

Learning what not to do while redesigning your logo is just as important as seeing successful examples. Here are two famous cases where logo redesigns were not received well by the loyal customer base.

Uber

The ride-sharing app underwent a major overhaul in 2016 when its founder and CEO, Travis Kalanick, stepped down after a controversial tenure overseeing the company. The rebrand was cumbersome and complicated, changing within each region the app operated. The drastic switch was not well received by customers, and the brand eventually reverted back to the black and white look its users had grown to expect from the brand. 

Gap

The classic clothing brand made an infamous change to its logo in 2010, when it drastically changed the font and logo shape placement to create a completely different look that barely connected to the old design. The reaction from customers was swift: So swift, in fact, that Gap reverted to the two-decade-old “classic” look less than a week after the new logo was unveiled.

Start your logo redesign journey with Namecheap

A free logo maker is just the ticket to begin experimenting with what a logo redesign could look like at your company. Namecheap’s Free Logo Maker lets you create unlimited versions that you can use to play around with the elements of your logo that work for your business and change those that need updating — all without opening an account. The logo maker takes you through typeface, shape, and color options to help you build a logo that’s simultaneously timeless and a reflection of the new era your business is about to enter. Visit Namecheap’s brand design maker to learn more about Logo Maker and its companion services, Site Maker for websites and Card Maker for business cards.


Nick Allen

Nick Allen

Nick Allen is a writer, photographer, and content marketer. He’s also the founder of BrainBoost Media, a boutique content and operations studio. With a wide range of interests, he enjoys reading and writing about sports, entrepreneurship, and start-ups.
More articles written by Nick.

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