Logo redesign: How to update your most important symbol.

Overview

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While it would be wonderful to launch your company with a logo that perfectly represents your brand in perpetuity, it’s not likely that you’ll get these results the first time around. Even the best brands and graphic designers recognize that, over time, a company’s original logo can become outdated due to internal influences, external influences, or both and in need of a logo redesign. If you’re questioning whether it’s time to give your logo a logo refresh or a full-blown overhaul and want to know how to do either one easily and for free, keep reading.

Why consider a logo redesign?

Image: 1000 Logos

There are tons of reasons to consider a new logo design, and not necessarily because your old one is tired. Here are some common motivations businesses have for refreshing their logo:

You’re changing your brand name.

Brands evolve and change all the time, sometimes to the point that there’s no trace of their original logo or brand identity in their current iteration. Case in point: If you weren’t a loyal customer of Pete’s Super Submarines when it launched in the mid-1960s, you probably don’t know that it became Subway a few years later and rolled out a new brand logo to match. Or that it’s had four subtle logo refreshes since then. But of course, it makes sense that if your company gets a new name, you’ll need to update your logo.

You’re repositioning or rebranding your company.

Repositioning your brand is intentionally rebranding your business in order to change the way it’s perceived in the marketplace.

A company rebrand can be the result of a company merger, change in offerings or brand values, evolution of brand identity, an effort to rebound from sinking profits, weak branding, growing competition, or the need to attract a new target audience or meet the changing needs of consumers.

Regardless of the reason, an important part of remedial marketing strategies is rethinking your visual identity, especially in regards to your logo.

Lots of companies have done this successfully, including CVS Health (previously CVS Pharmacy) and Dunkin’ (Dunkin’ Donuts until recently).

Even ever-successful Google has conducted a rebranding; its logo update in 2015 was in response to an evolution of its brand identity. Side by side, the old logo and new logo are obviously different. Yet they’re close enough to allow us to easily make the transition without having to retrain our brains to recognize the brand.

Your competition is gaining market share.

In a hot marketplace, your brand needs to appear current and on-point. What captured attention a few years ago may not be as effective if you’ve got a lot of new players vying for market share. Another threat to your brand stability is if your competitors have a wider or more in-demand set of offerings than you do. In such cases, you need more than a logo redesign; you also need to evaluate your value proposition and determine whether you need to expand it to meet consumer needs and stay competitive.

We can look at Dunkin’ as an example. With Krispy Kreme gaining traction as the doughnut darling, Dunkin’ Donuts took its age-old doughnut shop brand and turned it into a hip lifestyle brand that’s better equipped to contend with more than just doughnut shops but also fast-breakfast chains like Starbucks and Peet’s. Now it’s promoting fancy coffees, breakfast sandwiches, bottled beverages, and entertaining social media and branding. Losing the “Donuts” from their brand name allowed them to expand their offerings.

If you’ve been around a while and competitors are entering your space and getting attention, it may be time to raise your brand above the noise with a marketing strategy that includes a logo update.

Your design is tired.

If you’re fortunate enough to be in business for a long time, it’s likely you will come to a point when your logo needs a brand refresh simply because it looks out of date. And that’s totally okay. In the same way that the best music of your school years will ultimately become the next generation of greatest hits on an “oldies” station, graphic design trends that once looked contemporary can ultimately become nods to the past.

But this doesn’t mean you need to throw out your existing logo and start over. It’s not uncommon for brands to do a logo refresh through subtle adjustments to one or more of their design elements.

Sometimes something as simple as a change in typography, a color scheme update, or even a modification of graphics can make your company’s logo appear more contemporary and fresh to your target market.

In such cases, where the brand is established and has a strong visual identity, the best logo redesigns are intentional and subtle enough that the new logo is still instantly recognizable.

Market changes are occurring.

Consumer perception, trends, government, supply and demand, contemporary tastes and needs, social climates, a fluctuating customer base—all of these elements and more can impact the market and the perception of your brand.

Just think about the recent global pandemic. Many businesses had to pivot quickly to acclimate to the conditions and stay afloat, often changing the core of their business model to do so. Dunkin’ was also obviously influenced by market changes when they decided to expand their brand and evolve their image.

In cases when market changes are occurring, it’s time to review your logo and change it if it no longer reflects your brand.

Strategic companies flex with the market changes both in their business and their branding so they can continue to attract their target market—or find new ones.

Things to consider during your logo redesign.

Whether you use Adobe software, Adobe Creative Cloud Express’s logo maker, or hire a graphic design studio to redesign your logo, it's important to approach any redesign with intention.

Successful logos are designed with business goals and the psychology of shapes and colors (how they affect us emotionally) in mind. As you begin conceptualizing your new logo, try these short exercises to help you refine your logo goals:

Outline the reasons you want to update your logo.

Determine what works about your current logo and what you would like to keep.

Note what doesn’t work for you in your current logo so you can remove or edit it.

Identify what you want your new logomark to convey that your existing logo does not.

Decide whether your logo resonates with your existing target market and your intended target market.

Explore more about the psychology of shapes in relation to logo design.

Explore a free custom color palette generator to see what complementary colors work with your existing logo colors.

The results of this exercise should help you and your design team understand what you want to achieve with your new logo, what you want to change, and what should always remain core to your logo design, if anything. Use this information to guide you as you move into the redesign process and work your way to a successful logo redesign, being sure to take customer feedback into account as well. If your customers express a universal dislike for your current design or a new design, take them seriously.

Now, the fun part. It used to be that you had to hire a graphic designer to create a logo for you. But now that there are free online logo maker tools, you can easily do it yourself.

Adobe Creative Cloud Express allows you to make a new design and customize existing templates based on your business, or give your current logo a new look by uploading it and then customizing surrounding elements, such as typeface, color, and graphics.

Quickly and easily make stunning, customized logos from thousands of beautiful templates with Creative Cloud Express. To get started, tap on any of the free logo templates below to see how it works.

Once you go through this exercise for the first time, it will be easier to consider future iterations down the road. But more immediately, once you’ve updated your logo, you can move on to updating other brand assets, such as your business cards, social media banners, company letterhead, and more—all for free with easy-to-use online tools.

Try Adobe Creative Cloud Express today