01. Changing your logo: do it for the right reasons.
People change logos all the time for things like leadership changes (new boss, new logo, why not?), trying to chase a fad (make it look like web 2.0!), or thinking a new logo will solve a larger or more systemic problem. These are stupid reasons.
Brand logos should change when they are no longer relevant to who a company is and what they are evolving to be; there has been a significant merger, acquisition or change in strategic direction; or the logo was drawn by hand in 1950 and is illegible on a mobile device.
02. Know your audience
Why are people passionate about your brand? Understand it. Embrace it. Build upon it. If your history has equity, don't throw it all away for something flashy. When a brand sacrifices what we remember, it can run the risk of becoming a brand we can easily forget.
03. Get professional help. Seriously.
Work with people who know what they are doing. Build a brand strategy with brand strategists and design with real designers. Don't think you can do it in-house because Greg from accounting knows Adobe Illustrator (or even worse, your CEO — looking at you, Yahoo!). If you want people to take your brand seriously, you should take your visual brand identity seriously.
04. Don't listen to your committee. Or better yet, don't have one to begin with
Great brands come from visionaries. People like Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, and Jeff Bezos had a vision and delivered on it. Great brands do not come from 40 middle managers giving pointless feedback in order to feel like they have participated. Have a point of view, give clear direction, and get rid of redundancy.
05. Tell the right story
If a logo that has been in our lives for the last 50 years is changing, it might be a good idea to tell people why. Whether it's a launch campaign, a microsite, a video, an event, a flash mob, whatever… if you want people to support your change (and thus diminish any backlash), be clear about what you are doing and why.
06. Stick to your guns
If one universal truth exists in logo design and visual identity today, it's this: the Internet will have something to say about it. Maybe it will be good, maybe it will bad, or maybe it will just be a tumblr dedicated to how the new logo looks like genitalia. It will have its say.
But more likely than not, the brands that changed their logo for the right reasons – with a just cause, with a clear vision, with their audience in mind, and with a strong story – should believe in their decision and ride it out. In the end, people just may come around and embrace it, and your new logo won't have to die.
Words: Mike Preston
Mike Preston is associate Creative Director for global branding firm Siegel+Gale.
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