4 Reasons Why You Should Update Your Logo

It may be a hard pill to swallow, but sometimes a logo needs to be put out of its misery. Just because your logo design looks great doesn't mean it serves its primary duty to the fullest potential. 

It may be that the colours or fonts are no longer appropriate for your new target audience. Or perhaps it doesn't communicate what your brand's values are anymore. 

There are a variety of reasons why you should update your logo, but here are four of the main ones.

Reason #1 Your logo is too busy.

If your logo is too elaborate or contains too many elements, it's probably time to do something about it. Here's why:

Fussy, overwhelmingly detailed logos aren't memorable. 

As a marketing professional, your first duty is to make sure the consumer remembers your business. However, logos with too much visual noise can overwhelm the viewer with excess details and dissuade them from recognizing your brand.

Complex logos are difficult to scale down or print.

If your logo looks great on a billboard but comes out looking like a tangled mess of lines and shapes on a business card, then you've got a problem. A complex design will become illegible in print and may even look messy in small sizes. 

The solution

Always err on the side of simplicity. The adage ‘less is more’ has never been more applicable than to logo design. If you force yourself to boil down the elements in your logo, you'll be surprised by how much more potent it becomes compared to the original.

However, eliminating unnecessary complexity from your logo design doesn't mean that your brand's identity has to suffer. There are plenty of non-disruptive ways to consolidate the old design with the new one. 

Look at how Slack morphed its familiar hashtag into a refined visual lexicon that still retains its playful edge.

Starbucks is another company that started with a complicated logo design but later simplified it. Their iconic siren has come to stand for the promise of dark coffee, sweet syrups, and an unlimited supply of snacks. 

The original coffee chain was too hard to read and understand, so they simplified it and introduced the iconic mermaid we all know today. 

But if you're too afraid to pare down your detailed logo, then just create a new logo for small-scale applications. You could make an ‘abbreviated' version of your logo that conveys the same message but takes up less space. This will allow you to continue to express your design's intent without sacrificing functionality. 

Heineken's logo is a prime example of this. Sure, their trademark logo is attractive, but it's also tough to reproduce at small sizes. That's why Heineken came up with alternate versions of their logo.

They stripped out the patterns and scrolls, leaving behind only the essential visual elements. This modification makes the logo far more versatile while still being imbued with that familiar flavour of the original.

It's not impossible for DIY logos to win the day, but the odds are stacked against them. Here's how:

DIY generic logos might get the job done, but they fall short of making your brand look professional.

We've all seen the ads. “Design a logo in minutes!” “No design skills required.” With the popular misconception that ‘anyone can make a logo' gaining traction, more and more companies are putting their logos into the hands of amateurs who aren't experienced enough to know what they're doing. 

The truth is, unless you have extensive knowledge of graphic arts and plenty of experience to go along with it, it's doubtful that you can create a logo yourself that rivals one created by an experienced designer.

Off-the-shelf DIY designs are cheap, but they could end up costing your startup more in the long run.

A startup's budget can't always afford a custom logo, but that doesn't mean the company's branding has to suffer. We know it's hard to remember to update your logo when you're busy with the many other things you need to worry about while working at a startup. But even if your startup is operating on a shoestring budget, perhaps you can do better than slapping a generic off-the-shelf logo on your website. 

Albeit you're using that image as a jumping-off point for something new and creative, you'll need to do more work to make it your own. And, unless you're ready to do that work, why not consider paying for a custom design? A custom logo is like a tailor-made piece of software that's been built for your specific use. While it might be expensive, the long term benefits are worth it.

Sure, the generic DIY logo might be fine for now — but if you continue the trend of free resources forever, it's going to feel tired and tacky in about five years. What's more, a retreaded idea isn't going to make you stand out against fellow startups in the market.

A DIY generic logo won't cut it if you want your company to stand out from the crowd.

Your logo is the first look your potential customers have at your brand, so it's essential to ensure they stay for a longer look after you've won their attention. If what pops into their heads when they see your logo is ‘clip art' or ‘generic', you're in big trouble.

A significant challenge for any new business is creating a logo that stands out from the crowd. With so many new ventures starting up, yours needs to be designed to capture attention and instil confidence fast. Using a generic logo—just like a generic anything—will have the opposite effect.

The solution

DIY logos are a dime a dozen. They can get you started but will ultimately leave you with a business that lacks the unique, professional touch that only an expert designer can impart on it.

If you're hopelessly stumped on your quest for a logo that represents your company's vision, ideals and overall awesomeness, then it's time to call in the pros. 

Although some companies can be reluctant to fess up, most would admit that some aspects of creating a new logo remain that they just don't quite get. Having a professional logo designer will help you improve your logo by giving it a more personalised, hand-crafted, unique look and feel to reflect your brand’s personality truly.

Reason #3 Your logo is long past its prime.

The age of Helvetica is over. Join the modern era and ditch those worn-out colours and styles. This isn't a dig at your brand, but a reminder that time is ticking, and the visual representation of your company is going to need a facelift sometime soon. Here's why:

A dated logo makes a poor first impression and makes you look like a dinosaur in a sea of flashy new startups. 

As time passes, trends change, and people's tastes evolve. Things that were once popular fall out of favour as they become increasingly outdated. A logo design that was popular ten years ago may now come across as ordinary and neglected. It makes your business look out of touch with modern trends and is a surefire way to be left in the dust by competitors. 

Older logos rely on design techniques and effects that are no longer relevant.

A dated logo utilises outmoded techniques, visuals and effects. For example, random multiple dots of colour and letter overlaps that don't add any value or meaning to the business. This also makes it less than ideal for today's high-resolution displays and devices. It gives off the impression that your company lacks innovation and doesn't care about the impact that a dated logo will have on its marketing efforts as a whole.

The solution

To prevent your business from ending up on the cutting room floor, you need to reinvent your logo continually — and we're not just talking about the colour palette. Think fonts, layout structures, and visual metaphors. It's the small changes that count when it comes to rebooting logos in the digital age. The general rule of thumb is to give your logo a cosmetic overhaul once every five to ten years.

Consider Apple's logo. Back when it was first released, the bright rainbow colours worked for Apple's “hip” image, but we're living in a different world now. A more subdued and minimal look is needed to reflect Apple's users and its current status among leading technology companies. 

Instagram is another example of a logo that successfully manages to modernise to represent its brand better. 

While Instagram began life in 2010 with a simple, monochromatic logo, the app has evolved over the years. The new, sleek design represents the platform's modern aesthetic, geared toward today's sophisticated users.

On the other hand, if you want to add an old-school feel to your logo deliberately, make sure you keep the design elements contemporary enough to avoid creating an overwhelmingly vintage vibe. This chalkboard “Perfectly Imperfect” logo design created by Dana Tanamachi is a superb example of a modern retro design

Reason #4 Your company, product, or service has recently undergone significant changes.

The average brand reinvents itself every five years, and with good reason. By reinventing your company's logo, you can set a new tone for your company that better represents the quality of services or values you plan to provide from here on out. It's not about what's better. It's about what's better for you. Here's why:

Your logo should represent the new you.

There comes a time in every startup's life when the initial idea needs to be rethought. Lots of businesses and startups start out doing one thing and end up doing something else entirely. Sometimes, companies discover a bigger market to focus on — and sometimes, they realise that their target market isn't who they thought it was. 

In the same way that a car's steering wheel points toward its route, your company's logo should point toward the direction your company is taking. Whether shifting down a gear or pressing the accelerator, it's essential to make a visual design change when you find yourself evolving in a new direction. A rebrand will allow you to convey your company’s mission and vision more effectively.

A new logo can be a fantastic way to put past problems behind you and make your business seem exciting and fresh.

Is your existing brand leaving customers with a bad taste in their mouths? Does it have retrograde connotations? If so, replacing it is an essential step in your efforts to abolish bad experiences and start fresh with a new image. The change in your logo will signal existing customers and other stakeholders that you have changed for the better.

The solution

If your company's logo no longer echoes your services or values, it's time to delete it from your business's memory and start fresh. Look at how Nokia reinvented itself with its new logo.

The company began life as a Finnish paper mill producing cardboard and cellulose products, then into rubber products, and finally into telecommunications. 

Nokia updated its logo at each stage of its evolution. Their first logo, designed in 1871, featured a fish that became a round black emblem before finally evolving into the “connecting people” logo. The transformation of Nokia's logo has always been distinctive, with each symbol reflecting what the company was focusing on at that particular time.

Out with the old, in with the new.

You've got a meagre two seconds to impress people when they visit your site. And their first port of call? Your logo! A logo is more than a visual identifier and can be a real asset if done right. So don't treat your logo as a second-class citizen.

If your current logo is working against you in any way (and if it's older than five years, it almost certainly is), then you'd better start looking at investing in a new one.

Be sure to update your logo design and branding to capture and retain new audience members digitally and keep the interest of existing audience members. 

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