In the world of logos, change is often necessary. Changing a logo introduces a new direction of a company or a brand. When times are constantly changing, companies are forced to keep up with new trends, sales and competition. The decision to alter a logo can come when it no longer fits the business market, an aspect of the design may no longer represent the company, or when a company is beginning a new era and looking for a new direction.
A logo identifies a company or product through the use of a symbol, mark or signature. The appearance of a logo can be as important as its meaning. Think of a logo as a first impression of a brand. To make the point clearer, think of a logo as a person. It may be quite difficult to remember a person’s name but a bit easier to remember the person as “the girl with the fluffy pink shirt and blue hair."
A logo can act as a badge of honor in a way, earning dominance. Take Nike, for example. Over the years Nike has chosen to use a symbol-only strategy, dropping the word Nike and just featuring a swoosh. Nike had become a dominant fixture in its category and can stand on its own with just a symbol through extensive marketing.
Having a distinctive or effective logo is important. A logo is used primarily to promote instant public recognition of a brand. Logos can give personality to a brand. First glance at a logo can give you a sense of the company’s character. Think of Disney’s logo, for example. Disney’s logo appears whimsical and magical, giving you the sense that it is a brand that is positioned around entertainment. A logo helps identify a business in its simplest form. When a consumer sees the famous golden arches, they automatically think of McDonald's.
Earlier this month Optimum launched a new logo, intended to align with their current change in brand strategy. According to Andrew Deitchman, Partner/co-Founder of Mother NY, “So our first campaign is about making Optimum's services as simple, seamless, and straightforward as they can be."
The new logo is clearer, cleaner and significantly simpler than the old logo. While the new logo may not seem very complex from a design perspective, it is effective. Optimum's logo change matters because it aligns with the company’s simplistic approach. The change is geared toward a new direction. Optimum took a somewhat more complicated design and simplified it, which is something they aim to do with their services.
Optimum launched a commercial to welcome their customers to the new logo. It helps customers understand the change and clarifies that Optimum still offers the same great TV, phone and internet, just with a new logo. It also introduces new good-humored brand voice. The commercial ends with a statement that Optimum wants their consumers to remember. “Those guys are really good at TV, phone and internet. And I don’t mind their logo.” It works because it has a fresh, modern feel, giving it appeal to younger consumers. In this case a new logo means a better, clearer, and simpler direction.
In August, Microsoft also released a new logo. The new logo represents a new beginning, according to Microsoft’s blog. Like Optimum, the new Microsoft logo is also effective for the company’s vision. The logo is symbolic of and is inspired by all of their different products wrapped into one, while it remains true to core values and design.
The new logo change comes in a year that is self-proclaimed as a new era for Microsoft. This year they are preparing to release new versions of all of their products. Change matters for Microsoft because it symbolizes growth in a new direction and the re-imaging of its identity. Microsoft’s re-imaging also represents distinction from its competitor Apple, which is known for its colorless grey palette.
“That’s why the new Microsoft logo takes its inspiration from our product design principles while drawing upon the heritage of our brand values, fonts and colors.” ~Microsoft
The Microsoft logo had transformed over the years. The new logo marks the first time a symbol has preceded the mark. Take a look at the new look in the video clip below.
In the world of logos, change matters. It allows a brand’s unique personality to stand out among the competition. Change is effective when its visual expression of the brand strategy is used to increase loyalty and mindshare of target audiences.
Starbucks has demonstrated that change is good. As the company mark its 40th year, they decided to roll out their new logo. The new logo makes Siren the heart of Starbucks, the welcoming face.
The logo celebrates the Siren in a vibrant way. Starbucks made the logo more prominent, while retaining its green circle and distinctive features. It is a new logo, but it is still clearly recognizable to consumers. This change was good and necessary, allowing for their visual identity to sit above the barriers of languages and to be known across the global by just a symbol, as seen with Apple and Nike.
What are some of your favorite logo transformations?
Nicole Briggs is an Associate Trademark Consultant for Interbrand.