A Logo Refresh May Sometimes Fit Better Than a Logo Redesign

Your logo is important. In fact, it’s the single most important graphic for your brand. Apple realized this early on, and that’s why they’ve given it so much thought over the years. But since their change from the Isaac Newton logo in 1976 they’ve never wholly redesigned their logo.

Instead, Apple has gone through 4 logo refreshes over the years keeping their logo very much the same and has only updated the color and style. After it adopted the apple-shaped logo everyone knows today, completely redesigning it would have actually hurt their branding efforts as the logo became synonymous with the company.

So what did Apple do instead? They periodically refreshed their logo. This kept the brand modern and helped the company use its logo effectively in new lines of business. Did this strategy work? Most definitely.

What can your business learn from Apple?

The Startup’s Conundrum

Logos are often designed quickly during a company’s startup phase. This is important to help the company get off the ground, but the logo may not hold up well over time. Because design trends change, a logo that initially looked great eventually becomes outdated. Or, as is often the case, that original logo was put together quickly, and the company outgrows it, needing something higher quality, that better reflects their more established place in the marketplace.

Yet, getting a brand new logo can mean significant costs, as well as logistical challenges. You’ve probably invested a lot in marketing materials, signage, websites, and more. You might have a fleet of branded trucks or heavy equipment bearing your logo. Updating all of these materials to match a new logo will cost a significant amount of time and money.

You need an update, but do you need an entirely new logo? What factors should you consider when making your decision?

Deciding Between a Logo Redesign and a Refresh

When determining if a refresh or redesign is the best option for your company, you should ask yourself or your team a few questions.

  • How much have you invested in your existing logo?
  • Are your brand and logo well-known with target clients and prospects?
  • Does your logo represent the current state of your brand?
  • Does your logo represent where you want your company to be in the future?

The first two questions should have a follow-up. You should also consider how significant your investment has been to the success of your company. If your brand has achieved recognition after investing heavily in your branding and you suddenly change it dramatically, then you could be wasting a ton of resources. Don’t let your desire for a new logo cause you to make bad business decisions.

After you’ve considered your investment, it’s time to analyze whether or not your logo still represents what you do. For example, a company that started selling beepers in the 90s and later shifted to cell phones might include a very literal representation of the technology in its logo. In this case, it probably needs a complete logo redesign. Companies evolve, and if your evolution has completely changed what your business offers, a redesign may be the right option for you.

In contrast, many companies stay the course and provide a similar service for years. Maybe the offering has evolved, but the logo art was created more abstractly, lengthening its relevance. When you have a brand that has solid recognition or a logo that still represents your company well, a logo refresh can keep it relevant and future-proof it from changing styles.

The Benefits of a Brand Refresh

“Design is the silent ambassador of your brand.” – Paul Rand

Is it really worth refreshing your logo? Yes. Your logo is often the first impression your brand makes and can either intrigue or underwhelm. Keeping your logo modern and relevant shows that you take branding seriously and convinces potential customers that you’re still relevant. Updating your quick fix logo from the start-up days with a higher quality version will increase trust and respect among prospects, who judge your organization’s quality based on the quality of your branding.

When you completely redesign your logo it’s possible that clients will no longer recognize you. This can be detrimental as this familiarity instills a certain amount of trust that motivates others to buy from you. A brand refresh gives you the best of both worlds. You get a logo with an updated look and feel while keeping brand continuity so that people familiar with your brand continue to recognize who you are.

Because the logo will not be completely different, a logo refresh often allows you to continue using your current marketing resources. This cost-effective solution is appealing to companies of all sizes with fixed marketing budgets.

Refreshing your logo:

  • Capitalizes on your brand equity by not wasting your investment
  • Eliminates the need to recreate all of your marketing materials immediately
  • Ensures your brand is still easily recognizable
  • Keeps your design modern and relevant

But, what does a logo refresh actually look like? Let’s look at some of the logos we’ve refreshed over the years and how our clients have benefited.

Before and After Logo Examples

Council of Science Editors

Graphic Design by Windmill Design for Council of Science Editors

With an updated color palette and clever combination of a fountain pen and beaker, we took this logo from heavy and outdated to sleek and modern. Take a second and find the fountain pen in each image. You’ll notice that in the second image it’s subtle, which contributes to the logo’s clean look.

We produced two versions of this logo. One is a round “badge” that works well for social media profiles and other media types. The other is a more traditional horizontal layout. The logo refresh done in combination with a website redesign created a cohesive look and feel.

CHORUS

Graphic Design by Windmill Design for CHORUS

While the changes to the CHORUS logo were subtle, they strategically retained brand recognition and allowed for future global expansion. We added a color coding system as a phased approach to international growth. The arrow and “US” in purple represent the United States branch, but when expanding to Europe, they can be swapped out with “EU” and a new color for easy differentiation.

Rockler Woodshop Calculator

Graphic Design by WIndmill Design for Rockler Woodshop Calculator

As you can see, a logo refresh doesn’t have to be extreme to be effective. For the Woodshop Calculator, we simply reversed the black contour to white and slightly adjusted the colors to help modernize the look and feel. We completed the transformation by updating the typeface.

North Star Imaging

website-design-and-development-by-windmill-design-north-star-imaging-before-after-logo

North Star Imaging’s logo is a great example of a minimal refresh. We modernized the fonts and increased the spacing to improve legibility and reproducibility of the logo. This cost-effective refresh did not require North Star Imaging to replace all products and signage immediately.

Can you benefit from a logo refresh that keeps your branding intact?

Modernize Your Brand With Minimal Effort

Windmill Design helps companies update their branding, improve their marketing, and create modern websites. If you want help bringing your logo up to date without sacrificing your brand and everything you’ve worked so hard to build, we can help.

Do you want to talk about which design option is best for your company’s future?