How to Keep Your Logo Trendy Without Losing Your Brand Identity


When you have a logo, sometimes it may not be ready for all situations as new medias rise and new ways of application are needed. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to start from scratch: a Logo Refresh may be just what your identity needs.

Changing your company’s visual identity can be a hard decision, many objections come to mind keeping your from taking the step forward.

  • Maybe you have stayed with the same logo for a long time.
  • Maybe your clients already know you from your symbol.
  • Maybe you already have lots of stationery printed with your old identity.
  • Maybe you are simply reluctant to let go of something that became familiar to you.

It’s totally understandable – it’s common for us to hold on to the familiar and resist change, but that doesn’t mean that change isn’t necessary from time to time – specially when new application needs appear and the logo that is available doesn’t work so well.

As the medias and applications evolve, it’s important to evaluate how your logo performs. Maybe at the time that it was created, it wasn’t meant for screens; Now, we have a plethora of different ones, different resolutions and sizes: computer monitors, phones, tablets, e-readers, and the list goes on.

Maybe your logo will stand alone on its own. Maybe it will be a signature on your magazine ad, or on the corner of a photo you are publishing in your social media page. Maybe it will be an icon on a Mobile App, or at the top of your Website – whatever the need is, your logo must be ready to be applied and coexist with other elements around it, while looking modern and fresh.

That’s when a Logo Refresh may be a good decision – a rework of your identity’s best features, going through a shape simplification and color pallet reduction, making sure that just the essential information about your company is stored in your most basic graphic element: your logo.

Shape Simplification

The goal is to remove everything that is unnecessary and keep the most basic elements, the ones that are the most defining for the message you want to communicate. The font style, the most expressive shapes, the core concepts – keeping whatever is relevant and making it very simple and quick to digest when we look at it.

logo-progress-cropped

The Nokia logo is probably one of the most interesting cases from the examples above. While Shell kept the original essence in its symbol until today, seeing a fish symbol for Nokia is rather unexpected – but it did make sense back in 1865.

The company got its name from the city where it was founded – the city of Nokia, in Finland. In this city, there is a very important river – the Nokiavirta – so that’s where the fish in the symbol came from. Now, from a paper manufacturer, to rubber, to cables, Nokia is known for their mobile phone technology – on a global awareness level, rather than just a localised, Finish awareness level.

The fish got dropped in the process – even though it had character and ties with the company’s history, it wasn’t relevant enough or reflective of the company’s current products and had little to do with the idea of technology. So, a simplification process over the years took place, and now we are left with a simple, yet highly recognizable logo – the name of the company rendered in a unique shape and a unique color – our next topic.

Color Reduction

The consistent use of color can increase your brand recognition by 80%, according to a Xerox research. Color is one of the fastest pieces of information our brain can process. We all know the correct shades of color our favorite brands use, mostly because we have a consistent relationship with those brands on tvs, websites, apps or in physical places around the real world where we live in – and they always present themselves in the same way. For instance, take a look at this Ad for Lego:

lego-imagine-extended

If I tell you that each block group represents a cartoon show, you will probably be capable of naming each one of them:

  • Ducktails
  • Smurfs
  • The Daltons
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • The Simpsons
  • South Park

This happens because you have been exposed over and over and over to the same colors on those shows. Have you have wondered why Marge Simpson always wears the same green dress every episode instead of a different one every time, like most real humans do? The answer: branding.

The character designer wants you to remember the character, and being consistent with color is one of the most important tools they will use to achieve that. The same effect can be achieved with brands. Try to guess which company is behind each of the color groups below:

brand-colors
01. Coca Cola    02. Pepsi    03. Shell    04. Facebook    05. McDonalds    06. Starbucks    07. Windows/Microsoft    08. Twitter    09. Google    10. Yahoo    11. Ferrari    12. Linkedin

Color is so strong in communication that just a hint of it is enough for us to recognize what brand it belongs to. This is also the reason why there is usually a limit for the amount of colors a brand uses – the more colors, the more pieces of information needs to be remembered. So, many brands stick to one or two leading colors, while some may go up to five.

The leading color can get so strong that you are capable of recognizing a slight difference. Take a look at the social network column: if you use those services, you can easily recognize each of them, even though they are all, well, blue. But they are different shades of blue and have been consistent enough through the years so you recognize them.

The proportion of color also influences how your brand is recognized. Notice how Shell, McDonalds and Ferrari share the same colors, red and yellow – but shell uses more yellow while McDonalds uses more red and ferrari adds a few more colors to the mix, but is largely known by red.

Either way, if you see the three colors combinations side by side, you will need some context in order to recognize them. Saying that the yellow and red combo is related to hamburgers will lead you to think of McDonalds, while saying that the same combo symbolizes a luxury car company will make you think of Ferrari.

Also important to note is that every logo needs a monochromatic version, for applications where color isn’t available (like documents that are going to be copied, or when the logo needs to be embossed/debossed on a surface).

Symbol and Type:
The different configurations of a logo

logo-configurationA logo can be comprised of 2 elements: the symbol (the graphic portion) and the type (the written portion), and from here different variations may happen. When a company is new or still not vastly recognized, it will display the type portion, together with a symbol or by itself. Only companies that are already exposed enough can make the leap to use symbol only – such as Apple, Shell and Starbucks, for example.

Another important thing to keep in mind is versatility: the ability to use your logo with your symbol or without, depending on what the situation calls for.

How will people remember you?

Your logo is the first and most important piece of identity. It’s the first thing people see on your business card, your website, your brochure, your signage. It’s your company’s first name, your company’s face, and it can make or break a first impression – and we all know the Will Rogers saying: “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression”. So it’s very important to keep it current, ready to impress, simple enough to be remember yet memorable enough to not be forgotten.

It’s the right concept, represented by the right shape and the right colors, optimized for the current moment your company/product is in and the current time the world/your target audience is in. And the good news is that you may not have to start over – you may just need a logo refresh.

 

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