Updating Your Logo: Key Steps for a Logo Upgrade

Sydney Wess
7/12/2021

Logos are an essential part of any company’s brand. Often, it’s the image that comes to mind when people think of your business. 

Your logo is the face of your company and should visually represent the essence of your brand. Companies must think critically about their values, services, and goals when putting together a logo to express themselves.

Updating your logo should be taken just as seriously as your original logo design process. Over time, your brand will grow and change along with your audience’s expectations of your services. Routine logo updates are necessary to account for shifting preferences and priorities.

Your logo will serve as a visual link between your offerings, values, and customers. Before hiring a logo design company to dive into your logo update, make sure you have a clear set of goals and answers to each of these top logo update FAQs.  

What is a logo update?

Updating your logo means elevating or modernizing your current one. You don’t necessarily need to reinvent the wheel, but an updated logo signals to customers that your business is similarly up-to-date, contemporary, and reliable. 

An updated logo ensures that your company looks its best when interacting with an audience. An effective logo will give consumers a solid first impression of your business. 

Of course, the image isn’t the only thing speaking for your brand. However, customers will have instant, subconscious reactions to a brand’s visual identity. So, if they find your logo outdated, they may assume that your business is obsolete as well.

Updating your logo doesn’t mean starting from scratch. Your company will better retain its existing loyal customers if the logo updates are more subtle. Your goal should be to accentuate your current, trusted brand identity rather than erasing it. 

For instance, Starbucks has updated its logo several times over the years. Excluding a significant change in branded colors from 1971 to 1987, each new logo isn’t hugely different from preexisting iterations.   

Image removed.

Source: Creatopy Blog

Although, each new logo was influential in developing a cleaner, modernized look that helped Starbucks stand out from its competitors while maintaining the visual aesthetic it was known for.

The more established your brand becomes over time, the more critical it becomes to maintain identifying shapes and images within your logo. 

For instance, the Starbucks logo has historically featured an iconic mermaid figure that’s recognizable to customers. The company has retained the mermaid prominently with each updated logo because it’s a core part of their brand identity. 

Balancing modernization and brand recognition should be top of mind when diving into a logo update project. 

How long should a logo last?

It depends and varies with every industry. However, visual trends, styles, and aesthetics are constantly changing. There are two kinds of trends your company should keep in mind when considering whether its time for a logo update:

  • Changing trends and norms within your industry
  • Evolution and growth of your brand and offerings 

When considering current trends within your industry, you’ll discover whether your visual identity appears dated compared to your competitors. Especially if new competitors are entering your market, it may be time to update your logo to compete with their fresh looks. 

Even if your market isn’t flooded with new competition, it’s still possible for your logo to appear dated and tired to your audience over time. More importantly, you want to make sure that the current design can easily translate in digital environments and is mobile-friendly

Other indicators that it’s time for a new logo are significant changes within your business operations. Suppose you have recently expanded your offerings, planned on targeting a new audience, or made adjustments to your company mission. In that case, you should consider updating your logo to reflect your new and improved operations. 

Should I update my logo?

If your logo seems outdated compared to industry trends and new internal operations, it’s time to update your logo. You must decide to what extent you should change your logo in this update. That will determine whether you invest in a logo refresh or a logo redesign. 

A logo refresh involves making slight changes and enhancements to the existing logo to modernize your company’s look. For instance, when Starbucks most recently updated its logo, they opted for a logo refresh. 

Image removed.

Source: Marketo Blog

Instead of incorporating completely new designs and colors, they maintain the logo’s shape, colors, and most recognizable symbols. They chose to prominently feature the mermaid design and decided to ditch the text. Despite this, there is still a strong resemblance between both designs.

Companies looking for a more dramatic change to their look should consider a logo redesign. A redesign may involve overhauls on colors, fonts, typography, and imagery. For example, Netflix engaged in a logo redesign that changed the treatment of brand colors, the presence of the entire brand name, and the logo’s typographic design.

Image removed.

Source: Designfier

Between earlier renditions of the logo and the current one, Netflix became a household name internationally. Due to its popularity, the company focused on creating a sleek, digital-first look without being burdened by the full brand name in the logo.

While redesigns have the power to modernize a brand’s look drastically, companies should keep in mind that significant changes may affect your current customers’ connection to your brand. `

How can I update my logo?

Congratulations! You’ve decided it’s time to update your logo. Now, where do you go from here? 

Once you’ve decided whether you want a logo redesign or a logo refresh, it’s time to get into the finer details. At this stage of the process, it would be beneficial to speak with a top design agency about your needs.

Examine logos you’re drawn to, both inside and outside of your industry. Think critically about why you like these logos and discuss your feelings with your design partner. 

From there, collaborate closely with your partner on iterations and logo options. Provide your thoughts on the design, but make sure to test your logo options outside of your partnership and organization to get an idea of how audiences will react to the logo change before committing to a final design. 

As you and your design partner take on the logo update, remember that simplicity is key. It can be tempting to include all aspects of your work into the logo, but the most engaging and longest-lasting logos are simple. 

Companies like Nike, Apple, and Target have simplified their logos as they’ve grown loyal audiences, eventually allowing them to be recognized by a single, simple shape.    

Image removed.

Source: The Best Logos Ever Designed Are Simple Not Interesting & Overworked

Simple logos are more memorable and digestible to an audience than an intricate portrayal of all the goods and services a company provides. Your most significant challenge in adapting your logo will be to simplify it while ensuring that it captures the essence of your business. 

How do you simplify a logo?

You can simplify your logo by focusing on the purpose of each element in your design: color, typography, shapes, lines, depth, and more. 

Creating a simple logo requires you to make each small design choice meaningful, so each element must work together to generate your intended visual effect. When thinking through which aspects of your current logo to simplify, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are all the current colors necessary? Can the palette be reduced to one or two colors without disrupting the intended effect?
  • Is the typography consistent throughout the logo?
  • Could the font be more straightforward or more distinctive?
  • Can the design be flattened without detracting from brand identity?
  • Does the design require both the company name and a brand mark to function effectively? If not, is the name or mark more effective in communicating your brand?
  • Is the current design being weighed down by volumes of lines? Can the number of lines be reduced?
  • Does the full brand name need to be included in the logo to be recognizable to audiences?
  • Are the graphics weighty, outdated, or too stylized?
  • Is the brand concept being communicated clearly after adjustments?

Running through each question as you progress through your logo update will ensure you know how to simplify a logo. 

An Updated Logo is Reflective of a Modern Company 

Your simplified logo and effective communication of your brand will help you appeal to customers searching for an up-to-date services provider. Before diving into the process, however, you determine:

  • What is a logo update?
  • How long should a logo last?
  • Should I update my logo?
  • How can I update my logo?
  • How do you simplify a logo?

After asking and applying each question to your unique business situation, you’re ready to team up with a trusted design partner and launch a new logo.

author

Sydney Wess

Content Writer & Editor

Sydney researches and writes about marketing and tech trends for Visual Objects.