Logos are more than just a tool that tells an audience that a product or service is created by a specific brand. They influence how the audience thinks and feels and act as ambassadors, sometimes performing as the only “face” a client directly interacts with.
Logos can tell the audience:
- Who you are
- What you do or make
-What value you provide
-What makes you different or special
For this reason, it’s important that logos are up-to-date and suitable for your brand. Are you considering a logo update? Here’s a look into some of CATMEDIA’s methods for logo redesign.
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TWO QUESTIONS TO ASK
What is the brand’s core identity?
The most important step to any logo design, refresh, or otherwise is understanding the brand at its core.
- What does the brand stand for? What are its values?
- What is its voice? Its tone? If it were human, how would it speak? What would its personality be like?
- What words can you use to describe the brand?
- How is it different from the competition? How is it special?
These questions are imperative for discovering if the logo is telling the right story, and if not, which areas need work. This helps to visually pinpoint which elements of the logo may need to be upgraded, or if a complete overhaul is necessary.
That brings us to our next question.
Does the logo need a refresh?
When well designed, a logo can represent a brand for decades. If a logo has some years under its belt, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s dated. Additionally, a well-established logo is rich in value, offering brand recognition and integrity. Don’t throw it all away for something shiny and new, unless it’s actually appropriate. If a logo is aligning well with the brand identity laid out in question one, it may not be necessary to refresh at all. A logo should only be updated if there is a real need or purpose, such as:
- Expanded services
- New audiences
- An updated mission
- A shifting market
- The logo looks dated.
The answers to the two questions above begin to build a strategy for the logo by identifying problem areas and defining the objective.
Research is vital to developing the best strategies and is a key part of our process. This step tells us more about the target audience, the competition, and what specifically is or isn’t working about the current logo. Here are some areas we explore:
- Who are they? (demographic, psychographic, behavioral data, etc.)
- What does the logo mean to your audience?
- How do they currently feel about your brand?
- How do you want them to feel about your brand?
- What is happening in the market?
- Are there any new technologies?
- What are local and global design trends?
- What styles and colors are your competitors implementing?
- What themes or symbolism are they using? Why?
3. Current Logo
- What is working with the current logo and why?
- What isn’t working and why?
- For example, are there too many details that make it hard to read at small sizes?
- Does it use outdated elements?
- Does it no longer represent your brand’s identity?
After collecting the data, we put it to work in the concepting phase.
Here are a few tips I like to keep in mind:
- Consider the psychological effects of form and color on the audience.
- The perceived appropriateness of design decisions is of the utmost importance. Anything can be a plausible idea if it represents the brand well in the audience’s eyes. Break the right rules!
- Don’t rely too much on color to communicate. There are situations it can’t be used in, for example, consumers with visual impairments who may not perceive some colors.
Once you’ve settled on a few promising concepts, CATMEDIA takes it to the next level by producing meaningful iterations based on your feedback and the natural evolution of the designs. It’s amazing how very subtle changes can make massive differences. This is the stage where we experiment with what’s working, what’s not working, and fine tune all the little details.
CONTEXTUAL LOGO DESIGN
As the logo is finalized, it’s important to determine which alternate versions may need development. Common practice includes designing different versions for light or dark backgrounds and for horizontal or vertical spaces. If you use video often, you might want an all-white version that retains readability as the background shifts.
It is becoming standard to develop “responsive” logos that transition alongside their responsive website counterparts. A responsive logo sheds unnecessary details as it becomes smaller to preserve readability. The smallest version of the logo would contain just the crucial elements that express the very essence of the brand. You can often see this practice in the wild on app buttons, where word-marks are often dropped, and only icons remain.
A new or updates design system should be developed to complement the refreshed logo. It’s good practice to produce a brand and style guide that lays out the design system, especially within larger companies. A brand and style guide helps to ensure that no matter who is developing the graphics, cohesive, appropriate designs are achieved. Once everything is finalized, be prepared to rebrand everything: the website, upcoming promotional materials, collateral (such as business cards), social media pages, etc. Many brands rollout their new logo with a well-designed case study on their website or perhaps a social media campaign surrounding the announcement.
So, is it time to take your logo to the next level? The answer is a resounding maybe! If you have any questions or would like additional advice, give us a call!
CATMEDIA is an award-winning Inc. 500 company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1997, the company specializes in advertising, creative services, media production, program management, training, and human resource management. As a Women Owned Small Business (WOSB), CATMEDIA provides world-class customer service and innovative solutions to government and commercial clients. Current CATMEDIA clients include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
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