When it comes to a brand or company logo, there are probably as many opinions about the do’s and don’ts as there are logos themselves. However, among the many varied assumptions on the subject, there is one point we would like to take into consideration here: if and when a brand should update or revamp their logo.

A logo that is permanently set in stone runs the risk of eventually looking like it comes from the stone age.

There are some who believe that their company’s mark or logo is set in stone. That tampering with the visual representation which helped bring success can undermine the brand’s recognition and damage it in the long term. Even successful and knowledgeable businessmen make this novice marketing mistake and often their brand suffers for it.

Your company or product signature can evolve just as your business evolves.

At startup, businesses often don’t have the capital to invest in creating the ultimate signature that will be used to represent their brand. It’s not uncommon to have one of the principals of the company (or even a member of their family) design a logo to get things started. While usually a valiant effort on their part, the results don’t often give the air of unique professionalism sought. Of course in the beginning this is usually fine. But when finances dictate and perhaps before the brand is too well known, it’s best to find a more professional solution. As your business moves forward, your company mark should move forward as well.

There are other reasons to change or alter your brand logo which we will discuss below:

Keeping a signature so long that it becomes retro often just comes off looking dated.

Times change. Styles change. How long, for instance,  should you keep the same typographic treatment? A world-famous brand like Pepsi has changed their logo no less than nine times since its inception:

Today

1973

1941

1906

 

These days we find a the fashion leaning towards more minimalist approach to typography, but it really depends on the brand. Some simply will never look right with a san serif font treatment. Others, like Google’s rebrand, does an amazing job showing how they have evolved by moving from a serif to san serif font treatment:

However, even if your typography demands a serif style font, there are some serif fonts that tend to look more dated than others. For instance, a font like Times was great for newspapers in its day, but the more modern Georgia, with less variable widths (making it easier to read on screens– particularly at smaller sizes), is a superior choice for the digital age.

Many times, fonts are chosen as a starting point to make a customized logo. So choosing a font that best reflects the tone of your company, while also being in tune with the contemporary zeitgeist can be a challenge for companies or brands looking to make update.

Sometimes a reboot isn’t required… just a nip and tuck.

As your business evolves, there’s no reason why your branding shouldn’t as well. A brand like Facebookoften updates their logo to keep more in line with their growth and mission objectives, infusing new life into their marketing as they evolve over time. Notice how the newer typography is rounder, giving a friendlier feeling to the look of the name.

Many companies see these strategic changes as a celebration of their business; their continuing success and commitment to growth. Some even create campaigns to announce the rollout of a new update.

Updates aren’t limited to typography or symbols, but often include colors as well.

While in general, brands tend to keep the same colors longer than their typography, there comes a time when colors are put through the looking glass as well. More often than not, a different shade of the current color(s) is used. Spotify is a good example of this. Taking ownership of the latest trend of flat design, they ditched the two-tone green for a brighter, more upbeat single color and dropped the black entirely.

A few suggestions as to when to update your logo:

  • When you’ve outgrown the logo designed by your wife’s sister
  • When celebrating a milestone in the company
  • When the company is making a new push (like a website or digital initiative)
  • When the current signature starts to feel dated
  • When trying to capitalize on a new trend in visual design

You certainly don’t need to schedule a yearly review to update your logo. It can be years before a company or brand revisits their typography or mark. But the key is to try to keep abreast of trends and weigh that against the tradition of your brand. Also, when it feels that your brand needs to be freshened up in general, then the logo treatment should be considered as part of that.