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The city burst element located on the left side of the CBD Marketing logo and the agency website.
January 25, 2018
Time for a Logo Refresh?
Alison McKearn
Alison McKearn

If your audience already has a strong association between your company and its logo, why would you change that? Especially when it’s your visual identity and meant to be recognizable.

The bottom line is that logos get stale over time. Maybe that drop-shadow, gradient effect isn’t “in” anymore. Maybe the world’s perception of your industry has shifted. Whatever the reason, there is one unifying goal of any logo refresh: transforming the way your business is perceived.

The goal of a logo refresh is to keep a visual connection to the previous logo, but give it a make-over so it’s up-to-date. That could mean changing the font, introducing a new tagline, re-working the bug, or changing the overall tone.

Remember, it’s not about what you want. It’s about what your clients/consumers want to see. It’s about setting expectations. Think about it in reverse (and try to be unbiased) if you saw your logo for the first time, what would you think that company is capable of? What feeling does it evoke?

Sometimes it’s hard to evaluate your own logo subjectively. So look at it objectively and ask yourself these questions:

Is the design outdated?

The days of awe-inspiring effects like drop shadows and bevel/emboss are long gone. An outdated design can give the impression that your company isn’t keeping up with the times. So ditch those gradients and clean up any busy designs. Today’s logo is simple and clean.

Even Apple needed to update their logo to stay current. The “glass” effect was very cool at the time, but quickly became a fad.

The Apple, Inc. logo. Apple is an American multinational technology company that designs, develops, and sells electronics, software and more.
Photo Credit: blogs.tribune.com

Today, the logo is a flat shape. It may seem plain, but this logo was designed with their biggest asset in mind: their products. By subtly offsetting the reflective apple shape with matte metal, the logo seamlessly adapts to any color finish. This “product-first” design is part of what makes Apple the creative leaders they are today.

A comparative image of the Apple, Inc. logo and branding and how it has evolved over time.
Photo credit: apple.com

Has your company changed or grown?

Maybe your company started out with 20 clients and now it has 2000. Chances are you’ve probably grown in size and have a more realized sense of your company’s culture. Maybe you offer new services or have gained new audiences. Perhaps you merged with another company or ownership has changed.

Whatever might have had an impact on your business, the ultimate goal is for your new logo to express something the old logo does not. If your logo doesn’t convey who you are and what you’re about now, it might be time for a refresh.

Take Nokia for example: Did you know Nokia started out as a wood pulp mill? One of their mills was built on the Nokianvirta river (Hint: that’s where the name comes from). In the 1960’s, Nokia merged with a phone and power cable company and the business was forever changed. Take a look at Nokia’s first logo and you’ll see why it needed to be redesigned:

A comparative image of the Nokia logo and branding and how it has evolved over time.
Photo credit: logos.wikia.com/wiki/Nokia

Yes—it used to be a fish. This is more of a logo reconstruction rather than a refresh, but it’s a good example of how drastically a company can evolve and the essential need for the logo to evolve with it.

Can your logo compete with your competitors’?

Another smart thing to do is to take a look at logos of other companies in your industry. Does yours stack up? We constantly hear that looks aren’t everything, but it is for logos. If your competitions’ logos are vastly superior, you might get over-looked.

So keep tabs on your competitors—and make your logo better!

Does your logo reflect the attitude of our ever-changing world?

With advancements in technology, health, and research, we know far more now than we did 30 years ago. Knowledge is extremely powerful and has the ability to change the way we perceive industries. Back in the 90s, we consumed fast food without a second thought. Now we worry about gluten and GMOs. Did you know that Kentucky Fried Chicken became KFC because the word “Fried” was an ugly word in today’s health-conscious world?

A comparative image of the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) logo and branding and how it has evolved over time.
Photo credit: animationvisarts.com

If your logo reflects any old-world views, it can be very off-putting to your audience and could ultimately impact your sales as well as your relationship with your customers.

Do you need to reach new audiences?

Some businesses have niche audiences that are industry-specific, which can be very limiting especially if the industry itself takes a dive. In order to stay afloat, businesses often need to rework their models to reach new or broader audiences. So, if a logo is geared towards a specific audience, some tweaking may be in order.

Take Dominos, for example. Not long ago, Dominos started to add sandwiches, pasta, and other non-pizza items to their menu, but since they’re a “pizza place”, that’s all they were associated with. In 2012, they decided to remove the graphic shape of a pizza box from their logo and drop “Pizza” from their name. Most of us will always know Dominos for pizza, but future generations may not have such a strong association –especially if their menu continues to grow.

A comparative image of the Domino's logo and branding and how it has evolved over time.
Photo credit: logaster.com

So whether it’s for one or multiple reasons, make sure the design is well-thought out, meaningful, up-to-date, and is perceived positively in the eyes of your audience.

As you probably noticed, we just refreshed our logo. Why you ask? First, we needed to update the CBD font to make it more relevant to today’s design aesthetics. Second, we’ve grown considerably since our last logo refresh and needed a logo that reflected this. Here at CBD, we all have extensive, cutting edge industry expertise and deliver exceptional creative work that breaks through clichés, but we didn’t feel like our previous logo conveyed this.

The CBD Marketing agency logo. CBD is a B2B and B2C marketing agency located in Chicago, IL.

Our new logo tells our audience what is meaningful about us. The 360° shape of the bug conveys how we want our audience to see us: Far-reaching, refreshing, creative, energetic, and able to break through to what is meaningful about your business.

So remember, the ability to change and progress is necessary for businesses today and that applies to logos too. Your company’s appearance matters, especially when the economy is thriving and we have so many choices today. An refreshed logo tells your audience that your company is up-to-date. It keeps you in the game! Is your logo up to par?

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