If you have not taken a critical look at your company’s logo in a while, now might be as good a time as any. Here are some points to consider:
- Your business has probably evolved over the years: does the logo reflect your current brand and positioning, or is it out of date?
- Your logo is intended to identify your company and communicate something about it to others: conduct some research with customers and prospective customers to see what the logo says to them about your company. Do they see “comfortable and traditional” when you are trying to say “innovative and exciting?”
- Is your logo well recognized and associated with your business?
- Does your logo look as outdated as the logo equivalent of platform shoes and bell bottoms?
- Does the logo simply fail to convey the desired image of your business?
- Has your business suffered from major negative publicity to the point where a new logo is needed to improve the image?
If any of these descriptions fit your logo, it may be time to consider a complete redesign or a subtle update to keep your brand image fresh without compromising brand recognition. Such updates are quite common among major corporations: the likes of Coca Cola, IBM and Starbucks have made minor changes over the years to keep their logos looking fresh without affecting recognition
You should not undertake such a change without also considering the down side. It will take some time for it to be widely recognized. Customers may not like it. In extreme cases, logo changes have elicited negative reaction to the point where the new logo had to be withdrawn, as infamously happened to clothing retailer Gap. Good or not, there are invariably the costs and logistics of rolling out the new logo, replacing the old one in all of the myriad places it is used and making sure your loyal customers will support rather than reject the change by possibly involving them in the process and building excitement about the change. But nothing lasts forever and if the logo needs to change, here are some guidelines on how to proceed.
Selecting a designer
It may be tempting to sketch your own logo, or pass the task to your go-to website graphics guru, but logo design is a specialized art. If the logo is worth redesigning, it is worth redesigning well – and that means engaging a professional who understands the task and has significant relevant experience. A professional can also help you determine to what extent the logo should change: is a complete overhaul needed or just a refresh?
- Look for someone who has an established track record and can show you a strong portfolio of successful logo designs that are actually in use, not just conceptual sketches.
- Ask for testimonials and references.
- Talk to previous clients not only to get a sense of their satisfaction with the work done, but also to understand the process the designer followed: did they take the time to understand the client’s needs?
- Expect the logo designer to ask about the company’s expectations for the logo, what it should convey.
- The designer should want to know about the company’s history, how it positions itself in its markets, and its aspirations. If there is no evidence that the designer takes such things into consideration as part of the creative process, beware.
- Work with your prospective designer to determine how long the process might take (expect anything from a week or two to a couple of months, depending on the urgency and the complexity of the project).
- Set a budget, not just for the design stage, but for all of the costs associated with rolling out the logo: new stationery, product packaging, advertising and so forth.
Before you launch
Once you have the new logo design you have been eagerly awaiting, you can think about rolling it out. But a crucial step, before moving towards making the logo public, is to test market it with a variety of stakeholders, including customers, partners and employees. Don’t expect 100% approval, but if you get a strong negative reaction, you may want to reconsider the design. After it has cleared this final hurdle, your superb new logo will finally be ready for its public debut.
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P.S. This information was provided by Ruff Haus Design - Your Loyal Marketing Companion. Established in 1997, we are a special breed of full service graphic design company that works with a premier pack of clients. We bring a fresh outlook and tail-wagging enthusiasm to your marketing program. Learn more about how we can help improve your brand management and support your marketing needs at www.ruffhaus.com.