5 good reasons to update your logo
A logo is a key part of any brand’s identity, because it acts as the “face” of the brand. It gives customers their first impression of the company and helps them understand what its products and services might be like.

As the company ages, it also changes—and it’s always a big question as to whether the logo needs to change along with it. So I asked my friends at Company Folders, who have decades of design experience and an impressive logo gallery, how they know when a client is ready for a redesign. Here’s what they had to say:

1. The original logo looks outdated

mkels the original logo looks outdated
Design trends come and go. The fact that a logo was in style two, five, or ten years ago doesn’t mean it is still in style today. Take Morton Salt, for instance. Morton is probably the most popular table salt maker in the world (most people can’t even name another brand), and its logo of a little girl carrying a canister of salt through the rain is a widely recognized symbol.

But the Morton’s Salt Umbrella Girl first appeared in 1914. To say that design has changed a lot since then would be a gross understatement. Back then, it was all about illustrations with lots of thick, dark lines and colors. Today’s designs feature slimmer lines, brighter colors, and minimal images, so Morton gave their umbrella girl a makeover for her 100th birthday.

2. The original logo is needlessly complicated

mkels the original logo is needlessly complicated
A logo should tell customers what’s most important about a brand—and apparently, some designers think everything is important. They cram in colors, shapes, and fonts to tell the consumer the brand’s entire history. This is the marketing equivalent of telling a stranger your whole life story in the check-out lane; it’s just too much.

The Peace Corps is a great example of a noble organization with a long history and (until recently) an over-the-top logo. Its old design featured a dove, two olive branches, stars, the brand’s name, and patriotic color branding. As a company rep told PR Week, it was too complicated to work in a digital space. The Peace Corps slimmed down its logo in the redesign, yet all the important elements are still there.

3. The original logo isn’t readable

mkels the original logo isn't readable
Logos let designers play around with creative display fonts they wouldn’t ordinarily get to use, like the chunky script that made up Pinterest’s original logo. Besides bold letters, the font had a blue shadow effect and a gray outline—and while it wasn’t completely illegible, it wasn’t exactly a monument to readability either.

Pinterest’s new logo greatly improved readability and even made a clever play on the brand name. Its letters are slimmer, without the unnecessary shadow effects, and the letter P is pointed to look like a pin. Best of all, they pulled off this redesign without scrapping what was truly valuable in the old logo—the script font’s artsy personality.

4. The original logo isn’t clever

mkels the original logo isn't clever
Time for a moment of truth: not all logos are interesting. That’s especially true for young companies that are too busy starting out to spend much time creating a logo. While these boring logos are better than no logos at all, a company should invest in a more interesting logo once it has more time and resources.

The Houston Ballet is prestigious—and the fifth largest ballet company in America—but its old logo looked more like a street sign than an innovative brand mark. Design firm Pentagram came to the rescue with a new logo. Its playful shapes mimic the dancers’ movements and form an H within the negative space for a much more visually appealing design.

5. The brand has changed its core focus

mkels the brand has changed its core focus
Sometimes, a redesign has nothing to do with the logo itself. Every brand goes through different stages, developing its values and changing its product selection. These changes are necessary, but they can unintentionally make the old logo irrelevant. If your brand has gone through major restructuring, update its logo as an outward symbol of those internal changes.

Abercrombie & Fitch did just this. The company started out as a sporting goods store in 1892 and was over 100 years old when it converted to a clothing retailer, changing its logo in the process. With its first redesign, Abercrombie incorporated a moose into the logo as tribute to its outdoorsy heritage. But today? The store has switched to a simple serif font and dropped the moose in an effort to reach millennials who aren’t interested in being walking corporate billboards.

Final Conclusion

Now you know when to redesign a logo, and you’ve seen examples of brands that have pulled off successful redesigns. If you’re wondering how they did it, you’re in luck. You can learn seven strategies for redesigning a logo – plus see more DO and DON’T examples – here. Enjoy!
logo redesign tips

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