Your Brand’s Logo: Handle with Care

The logo is arguably the most important part of any brand, especially in today’s visual society. We get attached to logos; attributing feelings, thoughts and lifestyles to different brands and their logos help us identify those attributes.  And that it why it is vitally important that you tread carefully when planning a rebrand of your company’s logo.

Mashable recently reported on the redesigned University of California logo and the extremely negative response it received. Over 40,000 people signed an online petition against the change that wasn’t entirely necessary. No one was calling for the modernization of the University’s logo or saying it was “behind the times.”  And as one individual said:

“I don’t want the symbolic representation of my university to look like the logo of something found in the toddler section of Toys R Us,”

Far too often we see this sort of mistake – a company comes up the “fantastic” idea to spring a new logo upon the public, imaging a joyous reception of their hip and sophisticated look. And yet, the minute it is unveiled the loyal customers turn savage and unleash their disappointment and anger at the company.  Just look at the Gap or Tropicana’s debacles. Yeah, it can be really ugly.

The lesson to be learned from their mistakes is quite simple. Don’t mess with your logo. Sure, it might need the occasional slight tweaking here and there. And yes, there are rare instances that call for a complete change.  But in most cases, the best practice is to give consumers the brand they know and love.  Remember that they are the life of the company and making them unhappy never ends well.  Give your logo the love it needs, let consumers make it their own and it will pay off in the end.

9 thoughts on “Your Brand’s Logo: Handle with Care

  1. I think logos are more important then people realize. This is true even when we are building our our personal brand online. If we have a professional Twitter account, it is suggested not to change your profile picture. People associate your online presence with that picture and changing your picture can affect your relationship with your followers.

  2. More often than not, people are uncomfortable with change. Especially if that change relates to an emotional shift that is in correlation with their daily lifestyle. The visual representation of a brand (the logo) is the representation of what that company is all about.
    Just yesterday I was playing Logo Quiz on a friends Nexus tablet for hours (admittedly) and we both found it almost frightening how many logos we had recognized. Sometimes we’d recognize logos and match them with their brand names, without even knowing what kind of company the logo even stood for. For example, the French automobile company ‘Citroen.’ We’d never heard the name but definitely recognized the logo!

  3. I think while this information is critical for medium to large companies, small businesses shouldn’t be as concerned. Typically most customers of a small business won’t be that concerned over a logo chance and it’s possible that the business should be evolving their logo, especially if it’s not completely right for them.

  4. As a designer, I agree with this post completely. I feel that companies try to change their logo’s to stay modern and fresh, but the most traditional companies don’t need to stay modern. Their appeal is in their history and their classic feel, like that of Gap and Tropicana. People like to keep their brands their own and when the brand itself doesn’t stick to its guns, they feel like they can’t either.

    One interesting brand is Pepsi. When the new pepsi logo came out a few years back, I was surprised that there was no outrage on how different it looked. But looking back now, Pepsi has always changed it’s logo and this change wasn’t much of a surprise to their consumers.

    I think that if a company has had it’s logo for the majority of it’s lifespan, then the logo should stay the same.

  5. Pingback: Your Brand’s Logo: Handle with Care | Modern Day 'Mad Men'

  6. I was just thinking about this today when I came across the Entenmann’s logo. I had seen it since I was a little girl. I started to think about logo design choices and realized that most people would prefer a bad design that they are familiar with, than a good design they have never seen before. We become so attached to the logo, because you’re right, it is one of the most important parts of a brand.

  7. This really speaks true to a brands image and personality that is being marketed and strengthened from day 1. Making drastic changes could be the death of a company, as a designer and a consumer I think its important to make subtle changes over the years to avoid controversy and bad publicity with consumers. Coca Cola is a really good example of this, changes are made to the logo to better the logo but they are subtle enough that consumers are unaware or they have positive reactions or just don’t care. Companies should find a different way to get publicity that could help their sales and brand personality, such as changing marketing campaigns or segmenting more. It always surprises me how companies think that changing their logo “out of nowhere” is a good idea.

  8. I really like this post especially because I am a Graphic Designer and I see so many times were logo’s are changed and there is a negative outage from the consumer. For example, Comedy Central has changed their logo a few times. However, a lot of people hated their new logo. Some people hated how boring it was and said nothing about comedy central. However, the people who designed actually put a lot of though into it and it easy adapts to ever media. This is a rare case, but I do agree that sometimes logo’s shouldn’t be manipulated because consumer have al ready made a connection. Great article.

  9. The quote about the toddler section at Toys R Us killed me, but in all seriousness why didn’t they do some focus group testing with the university professors and students voicing their opinions on the new logo before they went public with it. Especially since no one wanted or believed that the logo needed to be changed in the first place.

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