There are so many logo fails that have happened in the branding world. Don’t become one of them. If you’ve determined that a logo redesign is the right business move (because your current identity is out of date or you’re entering a new market) — then you want to do it right the first time. This means avoiding some harmful pitfalls.
One of my biggest clients showed me a logo that a designer had created for them — and it was clip art. If someone gives you a clip art logo, this means 1) you probably can’t use it as you want and 2) tons of other companies are using it, too.
Here are 7 unfortunate mistakes people make when redesigning their logos:
1. Not starting your logo design project with adequate research
Years ago, NBC was sued because their designer stole a logo design from a little-known Nebraska TV network. NBC paid a million dollars to have this “designed.” Then after settling the trademark infringement case, they also had to undo everything that they had put the logo on. And to bring it to current times, Kendall Jenner’s 818 Tequila was sued by competitor Tequila 512 for ‘brazenly’ stealing its name and design. Oops?
How to make sure your logo isn’t “stolen”? Partner with a strategic graphic designer who has integrity and will look out for you at every step. Also, before you brand a new company, do a search to see if anybody else has that business name registered.
2. Removing design elements that define your brand
In the Tropicana rebrand debacle, they removed the orange with the straw and opted for a generic look. Guess what, folks? Tropicana realized — a little too late — that the orange with the straw, the colors, and the fonts were an integral part of their brand that made them recognizable to customers! People didn’t know it was Tropicana on the shelves, and sales went down until the company switched back.
Gap tried this, too — then went back to their original logo.
Fortunately, there are still ways to refresh your logo without removing brand loyalty!
3. Not realizing your audience has changed.
If you’ve been in business for years, chances are your customers have evolved. I used to have my interns choose a local business, do a redesign, and then talk to the business about it. One year, a talented intern did an amazing rebrand of a local deli’s logo. The store had been there forever, and although the owners didn’t want to change their logo, I think they should have. The new design spoke more to a more youthful audience … and let’s face it … the older, loyal customers weren’t going anywhere because they had already found the best pastrami sandwich in town decades ago!
4. Not honoring the changes in your products or services.
As time passes, companies change. Customer needs change — and good companies will adjust to meet those needs. When you’re doing a logo rebrand, you want to make sure your new logo isn’t just a refresh of your old logo — but also that it’s reflecting your company TODAY.
Dunkin removed “Donuts” from their logo — because they have become more widely known for good coffee. Of course, they still sell donuts for those customers who love them, but they want to attract more customers who are buying their daily cup of joe.
5. Not looking around at the competition’s branding decisions.
One of the biggest goals of a logo redesign is to stand out from your competitors. Maybe when you designed your original logo, you had different competitors than you do now. Your logo refresh needs to work in your current competitive landscape. Who is your audience deciding between? Knowing this is how you set yourself apart!
One of the reasons MailChimp stood out from competitors wasn’t just because of functionality — but also because of personality! Adding the chimp to the actual logo helped them step further away from their competitors.
6. Ignoring your logo’s meaning as part of your brand identity.
One of the reasons you’re redesigning your logo is because you’re passionate about the work you do — and you want to reflect that well. It can be easy to get swept away in the excitement of a redesign and focus more on external factors (like what is current and what the competition is doing). But if this happens, you might end up with something void of heart and soul. Always tap into the WHY of your business. The meaning behind your business. Consider this during your redesign so your visual branding will be authentic.
7. Getting stuck to what’s old for the sake of “brand loyalty.”
Sometimes, an old logo element has meaning or brand loyalty. Sometimes, it’s just outdated. A great design partner can help bring an outside perspective so you can see things more clearly. This will ensure that you have a balanced approach in your logo redesign: you’re open to what’s new, and willing to let go of what’s holding you back.
Want a logo redesign that’s smooth sailing? I can help.
Whether you need a graphic design partner or a fractional art director, your best outcome is always my number one priority.