Recently, a wonderful organization gave me and my art director the opportunity to create a new look and messaging for its 30-year anniversary event. We researched history and our targeted audience and developed a fresh campaign. It was well received. But one person mentioned the ‘danger of changing the logo.’
Working for an agency that helps companies and organizations launch new products or redefine their identities, I am a part of the process in developing new logos and taglines and campaigns every day. However, changing the logo and coming up with new slogans is not what is going to make businesses successful.
“Don’t mess with the logo” is a book by Jon Edge and Andy Milligan which discusses the frivolity of spending too much time on non-essential efforts.
This article is not about that book, because there are times when an identity needs to adjust. And there are plenty of solid brands whose logos and taglines have evolved. It’s not taboo to change the logo.
Look at Apple, Google, McDonald’s, Mazda, NBC, Coca-Cola through the years. Their identities evolved, grew, adapted. They messed with their logos!
Just as you can see the difference in generations through old high school yearbooks, you can tell the era of a brand. Is your company stuck in the 50s, the 70s, 80s? Is it now? Not too many people or brands can afford to look outdated.
You can tell when a business hasn’t updated their website. When people see a logo and brand that look archaic, the look triggers an automatic thought: “these guys are out-of-touch.” Several international firms suggest to at least consider updating your logo once every five years.
When a company grows into new market positions or merges with another, then it may be the time to change.
If you have a great image, don’t change. There are times, however, when it’s ok to “mess with the logo.”