How important is your logo? If you make a good product, turn a profit, and enjoy strong customer support, does that little logo really matter?
Just ask Gap. In October 2010, facing a slide in their share price, the clothing retailer ditched their elegant white-lettered, blue square logo in favor of a new model that switched the ‘a’ and ‘p’ to lower case and shrunk the blue box to barely overlap the ‘p.’
Gap customers roared in disapproval. A firestorm of Gap trash-talking ignited on Facebook and Twitter. Within a week, Gap reverted to their old logo, tail between their legs.
Where did Gap go wrong? It’s a smart idea to take a periodic look at revamping your logo. But, it’s a careful process. If you’re feeling iffy about your logo, here are five signs it’s time for a facelift:
1. Your Product and/or Target Audience Have Changed.When Starbucks was just slinging coffee to the Pacific Northwest’s progressive coffee shop audience, a mermaid’s exposed breasts were not a hindrance to business. But selling that same coffee to soccer moms in Dallas? Better cover up. If your company is attracting new demographics, a logo facelift may be in order.
2. (Forced) opportunity strikes. There’s a good chance you’re reading this post using the Mozilla Firefox browser, and that fiery little critter wrapped around the blue globe is an image you immediately recognize. But in 2002, Firefox was named Phoenix, and its logo was a red bird with flames for feathers. When the company was forced to change its name, they went to Firebird, so they could retain the logo. Legal issues arose again, and they settled on Firefox — way cooler than “Internet Explorer” or Safari’s compass.
3. The timing is right. Maybe you started your business on a budget. Since then, you’ve made enough money to hire a real graphic designer, and you’ve got a great idea about what you want. If you were never thrilled about your logo in the first place, it’s okay to make a change.
4. It’s been awhile since an update. Times (and customers’ tastes) change, and logos need to follow suit. Simplification is the most common approach — if you think your company can cut the words out of its picture logo and stand alone as an iconic image, go for it. Think Shell and Nike.
5. Maybe all you need is a shot of Botox. The best logos are timeless. Coca-Cola and BMW have made only minimal changes in a century. Of course, they do upgrade. Some gradient here or drop shadow there can go a long way. Keep a good logo relatively the same, but don’t be afraid to give it some polish.
About The Guest Author: Christopher Wallace is Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Amsterdam Printing, a leading provider of personalized items such as imprinted apparel, mugs and customized calendars.