Every year, several significant brands spend thousands of dollars on redesigning their logos. I’m reminded of this when I go to the grocery store and can’t find my favorite cereal because they’ve changed the packaging again.

So, why risk losing the brand recognition you’ve worked so hard to build?

1. Logo is visually outdated

In some cases, the logo was great when it was designed, but now looks outdated. A redesign keeps the brand from feeling stale or out of touch.

See for example the new logo released by NetCom, the second biggest mobile provider in Norway this year:

Netcom logo

“We thought it was time to refurbish our logo. We wanted to keep the history and people represented in the logo. Both are key to what we deliver and the people behind NetCom. But it was time to freshen up the colors and expression.”

Øyvind Vederhus, Communication Advisor, Netcom.

2. Market changes require different identification

Another noticeable trend is formerly brick-and-mortar institutions developing an online presence, or wishing to appear as though they have. SUNY, the State University of New York system, has made a radical change from a typical academic shield to a Web-type button logo this year:

SUNY logo

SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher described the new branding as part of a larger strategic initiative: “The Land Grant Act of 1862 was monumental in saying to universities, ‘Our research must be contemporary, we must reach out to our communities through extension and we must create more accessibility,” Zimpher said. “We see that SUNY as a system can be sort of a 21st century manifestation of that engagement.”

Presumably, the new logo reflects the Web-based learning opportunities that SUNY is adding to increase their accessibility. But these kinds of changes aren’t always received favorably. Armin, of Brand New, says, “All these years, we’ve seen companies redo their identities in some form of globe/marble configuration and rendering, but SUNY has gone the full monty and literally just created a marble for their logo. I’m sure in the board room this logo seemed like a great idea and concept, but in the real world it is basically meaningless.”

Even the humble Yellow Pages is attempting to look more Web-friendly:

Yellow pages logo

3. Simplifying for better recognition

One of my favorite redesigns of the last few years is the Library of Congress. The old logo used architecture to symbolize grand institutions, particularly government ones. The new one emphasizes the point of saving all of those publications in the LoC – to read them! And the clever use of stripes (13 of them) on the right-hand side of the book recalls the American flag. This is one of those logos that could, eventually, even do away with the wording underneath, so unique and relevant is the image itself.

Library of Congress logo

A less successful attempt is the new Seattle’s Best Coffee, which goes so simple it risks becoming generic. A number of critics point out that it makes them think of blood donation more than coffee – not exactly the image Seattle’s Best is trying to evoke.

Seattle's Best logo

So, how’s your logo doing? Does it reflect your current customer focus, or is it stuck representing what your company used to do? Does it look just like every other logo in your industry, or is it unique? And most importantly, when someone sees your logo, do they remember who you are?

If you decide to redesign your logo, make sure you do it professionally. These days, a logo isn’t just for stationery and business cards. It will be on your website, your physical location (if you have one), maybe your employee uniforms or delivery trucks, and so on. It’s important to get it right.

Recommended resources:

Logoworks by HP: the leading small business graphic design firm. Help your business look great and stand out from competition. As a BIG blog reader, save $30 on any custom logo design package!

Vistaprint: coordinate all your marketing materials for a cohesive look, with business cards, signs, and more.

Image credits:
Thanks to Graphic Design Blog for highlighting some of the most notable redesigns so far this year.
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